With the recent news of Condoleezza Rice joining as one of the first two female members of Augusta National golf club, I was asked to write a bit about how the game has come into play with my career.
I was eighteen years old when I picked up the game of golf. I remember that shortly after enrolling in college, and declaring accounting as my major, my father suggested I invest in a beginner set of clubs and take some lessons. He knew then that taking up golf would go hand in hand with my ability to have a more successful future career. At the time, it seemed foreign to me how hitting a tiny ball around a giant course could help me climb the corporate ladder. Seventeen years and some hindsight later, although I hate to admit it, he was right.
He knew that most successful business executives play golf, and if I was aiming to capture and maintain those types of individuals as clients, I could not afford to not learn. Our industry today thrives on the fact that we are able to do more than just “crunch the numbers.” We have to act as our client’s business advisors and as such, we have to develop long-lasting trusting relationships with them. Those kind of relationships may start in the board room, but can blossom on the golf course. When I show up on Monday night for my weekly league, I embrace the opportunity to meet and interact with a variety of people. Everyone on the league is someone I know from the community, an existing client or a potential client and the best part is that the primary building block for a relationship is already in place; a common interest!
Am I suggesting that we screen resumes for individuals who have golf as a listed hobby? Absolutely not! Even if you have never picked up a club until the first time you are asked to play in a charity tournament, it is never too late to take up a new hobby. In my experience, no one expects you to have a single digit handicap to participate, but rather that you have the gumption to participate and be present is what counts. However, confidence is key in any type of sales situation and if you are self-conscious about your ability to play, your ability to sell yourself on the tee box will be limited. Bottom line, pick up a driver and head to the driving range because if you are not a player you may be missing out potential business opportunities….or a great summer tan at the least!