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Missed Opportunities- Complacency Kills Growth
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Medical Vibe... really?
Golf, The Game We Love To Hate and What It Teaches Us About Training Others
As a recent newcomer to the game of golf, I just finished my second round of lessons. My Mom and I signed up for a 6-week clinic that included a round of 9-holes of golf after our lesson. We quickly found out why the clinic, which was held at a beautiful golf course, (Deer Ridge Golf in Brentwood, Ca) was so inexpensive. Our lesson started at 5:00pm on Thursdays when the temperature hovered around 105 degrees. Our first clinic started out with 12 participants, however; by the second workshop, participation dropped to to just myself, my mom and Ernie...people who are crazy enough to keep showing up just because we said we would.

Each lesson focused on one of the strokes, Driving, Pitching, Putting, etc. On the last lesson, our Pro, Vince Howell, who holds the World Record (6 Times!) as the Long Drive Champion , was monitoring and coaching us through each stroke.

Although my initial drive was okay, he reached over to the tee and said, "This tee is only 3 inches long. You need one that is at least 3 1/4" long, and then you will see your ball go farther. I asked if a quarter of an inch would make that big of a difference. "Try it, you'll see," he said...and it did!

I couldn't believe the difference. One quarter of an inch on the height of my tee made an enormous difference. My ball flew...and avoided all of the sand traps. It was an awesome feeling to know I could drive even further than before.

We spent the rest of the time focused on pitching, (getting your ball up in the air to get out of taller grass.) We had already spent two clinics on this topic, but still had more to learn.

When it was my turn, Vince corrected by left arm. "Straighten your left arm," he said, as he reached over and turned my arm on the club. "Keep your head down and eye on the ball when you swing," he would say, while he held the palm of his hand on the top of my head, bringing back memories of rough-housing as a little kid. I would charge my dad and he would keep me at bay by stretching his arm and hold me back with his hand on my head. It made me laugh, but I remembered to keep my head down.

"Practice your swing. You should open and close the face of the club making the switch at the ball. " He made me do this about 100 times while saying "Open and Close." At one point he started to get a bit frustrated with me because I could not seem to coordinate my shoulders, wrists and arms to do this at just the right time.

I started to get discouraged and Vince started to get louder. I wanted to get it right. I had the right attitude. I was teachable...but it wasn't until I practiced the motion for about 85 times that it finally clicked. When I finally popped the ball out, Vince would yell and cheer as though I had gotten a hole-in-one on a PGA tour. The high-fives made the endurance all worth it.

I remember thinking, "It is a good thing I don't take a teacher's intensity personally." I didn't care. I wanted to learn how to do it right. If it took a little raised voice and doing it over and over, than that is what I would do. I trusted Vince's motives. He wanted me to be able to play well. And trusting this made all of the difference.

In about 45 minutes, I experienced every emotion on the spectrum. Eagerness, excitement, frustration, anger, embarrassment, joy, despair...all of it, and seemingly to an intense degree.

By the time our final lesson was over, Vince parted with encouraging words, telling us how much he enjoyed being with us. My mom and I were sad to see him go. We had learned so much from Vince the Pro.

As we finished the rest of the course, we played better golf and had more fun. I found myself reviewing and practicing everything he taught me, even quietly whispering, "Open and close," while swinging my pitching wedge. Vince would have been proud to see our golf balls pop out of grass and on to the green just like he taught.

...Only if they want the training to be effective. Most managers tell people what tasks they want done and then follow up just before the assignment is due, when they find out that the employee went off track much earlier.

That would have been the equivalent of Vince telling us how to play golf at the first class and then waiting until the last lesson and giving us feedback (the annual review) as to how we did.

I would have still sucked at golf.

Managers, take the time to walk people through the process. Notice the little things (1/4" on a tee) that make a big difference. Over-communicate what is MOST important ("Open and Close") until your employees can positively impersonate you when you're not around. Don't back off when they get frustrated. Keep going, keep leading until it clicks.

And when they get it right, cheer, high-five, celebrate and affirm them. Tell them how much you appreciate them, and then drive off and let them finish the round. Don't hover and micro-manage.

If you want to buy back your time, train people well the first time. Take the time to develop their skills to the highest level. There is no richer nor more fulfilling experience than to help others develop into world-class performers.

If you need help in developing your management skills, call us at Jazz BC at 925-222-5299. We are happy to help, and yes, we'll consider doing your Management Coaching Sessions during a round of golf!

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