Spring has finally sprung after a rough Winter in most of North America, and for many of us, that means we are heading out to the links in pursuit of a better handicap. Along with updating our golf clothing, buying new balls and re-gripping our clubs, a good practice to start the season is to refresh our knowledge of the rules of the game, especially as they pertain to etiquette.
In a previous article I had covered some lessons which can be learned from the game itself, but here are three related to appropriate behavior which are equally applicable.
Maintain pace of play – this has to be the number one pet peeve of golfers regardless of their skill-level, but it’s funny how often they will complain about the pace of the group in front of them while not realizing that their own behaviors are likely irritating the foursome behind them! In project management, pace of play can be related to “flow” – our role is to keep things moving by removing hurdles to productivity or motivation. It’s easy to point the finger at others who might be slowing down our team’s momentum, but we shouldn’t ignore the “waste” we might be introducing in their way – redundant status reporting or meetings are just a couple of examples of this.
Fix ball holes, rake out bunkers, pick up your garbage and replace divots – while a golf course does have maintenance staff to tend fairways, bunkers and greens, by not performing simple corrective activities ourselves, we impact the experience of those playing behind us. Two similar examples in the work place are not ending meetings on time and not being proactive about letting resource managers know when you will need more (or less) of a team member. Both cases are examples of poor team (in the broadest sense of the word) behavior which will negatively impact other project teams.
Be a gentle man/woman – unless you are a Tour professional, 99% of your frustration and competition is from within not without. As such, be a good sport – make sure you introduce yourself to the rest of your foursome, say “good shot” (and mean it), help others look for their lost balls and shake hands and say “good game” at the end of the round. As project managers, when times get tough it can be difficult, especially when faced with unprofessionalism or incompetence, but that is no excuse for unprofessionalism on your part. Always take the time to do a good job of on-boarding new team members and recognizing their accomplishments. And at the end, thank everyone for their contributions and celebrate the journey even if the destination changed.
Non-golfers out there might feel that the game is a good walk spoiled, but for all of us, not applying these simple golf etiquette rules will guarantee a good project spoiled!