I am asked hundreds of questions and the one I am finding is getting easier to answer is..
When do you find time to play golf?
While I was out during the fact finding tour for my book, How to Play Business Golf * ,dredging the golf courses for golfers using golf as a business tool, I found what was keeping many business people off the golf course was not the cost..but the time.
Eventually I scheduled a couple of side bar meetings with a few business people who asked me to evaluate their operations to find out where they were spending their time and where in their business day they could fit in playing more golf. Interesting enough, what I was finding was plenty of opportunities to take advantage of playing more business golf.
Most people in business are stuck to a schedule of clocking in at certain time and punching out at a certain time. For those folks, the world of Business Golf is predicated by when their boss will let them play. For you guys and gals, I’ll address how you go about finding time to play business golf in another blog. What I will be addressing here are the people who may punch in on a time clock but are responsible for managing a broader portion of a business’s development. The primary target with this study are business owners or executives.
Meetings Come Alive
It does not take me long to see where most businesses are wasting time in their operations. Very few businesses today are managed by time managers. So, on the most part efforts to improve business are usually tied up in the quagmire of pointless meetings on top of meetings that can, and are, driving businesses into a death spiral. Communications are needed, but without focus communication can become bogged down to offering nothing towards improving business.
Lets take a look at a couple of the type of meetings that cause problems in doing business.
Most companies waste a lot of time with staff meetings and the top problem I have found is where the meetings are held. When they are held also holds a significant factor. Almost 100% of the meetings businesses hold for what ever reason are done in a conference room down the hall from the boss or the person holding the meeting. These meetings usually start later than scheduled because of having to deal with “Life is All About Me” people the colleges are cultivating. Once the meeting get started there usually is at least three interruptions per hour for someone who wants everyone to feel they are important by asking to be excused to take a cellphone call. Then four out of five times the meetings end with the person holding it telling everyone the point of the meeting that should have been done at the start.
For the small business owner, sales reps and entrepreneurs the meeting setting takes more of a coffee shop approach. Starbucks and other cafe’s around the world have made the ..Let’s have Coffee and Chat’..famous..or infamous in most cases. We all have been to one of these scouting sessions where the prospecting of business turns into a ‘One-upmanship’ duel filled with name dropping and a whole lot of chest thumping all to establish the meeting goers as the utmost authorities. On the most part, like less than 10%, these casual gatherings product little in the way of business due to the manner the meetings are held and lack of trust building that usually is established.
Meetings are a huge necessity in business and there just is no way around not having meetings. However, where the meetings are held, how often the meetings are held and the purpose of the meetings is where more time in a business person’s business day can be found to play golf.
Double Edge Sword Meeting
In the pass five years I have studied the impact on business staff meetings held as part of a morning or afternoon of golf. Having a meeting on the golf course is relativity a new approach to internal communications, yet has been done for hundreds of years. The way golf is used now is the round of golf with a person, or a group of people, is part of the meeting process. What takes place with the many golfers who feel they have used the golf course as a meeting place is they tend to forget the meeting agenda or push the agenda so much they tend to forget the golf. This makes the person who called the meeting and the person who attend deem the outing as a complete waste of time.
What I have found from studying the businesses that have taken my suggestion to hold a weekly or periodic staff meeting as part of a round of golf is they are now are seeing results from their meetings. The staff are focused towards making the meeting time purposeful and productive since it takes them away from the work environment the constant interruptions. Those businesses that took my suggestion of declaring the golf course and the after golf meeting as a No PDA or Cellphone area are now finding that the agenda of the meeting exceeded expectations and resulting in increasing of productivity.
For the sole proprietors of the business world, who I have mentored into using golf as a sifting process for potential customers, they have found that the golf that precedes the business chat time results in producing a greater insight on both sides of the table into each others needs and wants.
It Doesn’t Have to Be
Business Golf used as part of a business meetings is where most business people can find the time to have a staff meeting or a chat with a potential client. What gets people hung up on playing golf as part of doing business is their perception that a round of golf has to be 18 holes. In a recent staff meeting with Dave Bisbee, PGA Professional and President of eGolfGroup, said clearly how business people should think of business golf..
“Nobody said that you had to go and play entire basketball game just to shoot some hoops. There is no rule in golf that says that you have to play all 18 holes if you just wanted to practice a shot or two. In business golf why not make golf what you want it to be?”
I do feel there is value in taking the time out of the day to play an entire round of golf with someone. The time spent determines the value and produces more than a lower golf handicap. Playing business golf develops an opportunity to strengthen the base to a person’s overall character.
Part of finding time to play golf deals with the drive to want to improve, both personally and professionally. The focus will bring forward creative ways of finding the time to play golf as pat of doing business. Finding time to play golf comes about easily when you want it to happen. That is how I find the time to play golf and hope you will look into what you do each day to find those spots in your day, week, month or year where more golf can fit.
Let me know how I can help.
* How To Play Business Golf/Revisited is currently being revised for its third edition. Scheduled release is for February 2010