I played golf with a couple of clients on Monday at beautiful White Horse Golf Course in Kingston, WA. I played really well – my swing felt great, my distance control was good, and my short game was on target. I shot a 92, which isn’t too bad for me on that course. The problem is, I really should have shot about an 85.
You see, for 14 of the holes, I was only 7-over par. For the other 4 holes, I was a whopping 13-over par thanks to three triple bogeys and a quadruple bogey! For those of you who don’t golf, those 4 holes just killed my final score. In retrospect, I can count one poor swing on each of those holes costing me all those strokes. They either led directly to penalty strokes or put me in a horrible situation. Certainly, in any round of golf, you can expect and plan for setbacks. These were colossal gaffes!
Business is a lot like golf. You can be going about doing your business well, but a couple of bad “swings” can really cost you “strokes” just like it did me. Here’s what I mean…
- Bad swing – lack of safety training Penalty Strokes – someone gets hurt on the job resulting in lost time, reduced efficiency, and potentially fines and penalties
- Bad swing – Poor management of your insurance Penalty strokes – uncovered claims; paying too much for insurance; and lost time
- Bad swing – Not practicing your disaster recovery Penalty strokes – Nobody knows what to do resulting in lost time, lost productivity, chaos, mayhem, and poor morale
- Bad swing – Poor communication skills from the top Penalty strokes – team doesn’t know how to respond; inefficiency; lower morale, fear, disgruntled customers, clients, and staff
Just like in a round of golf, you can do everything right most of the time, but a couple of sloppy swings can sabotage your score. In my case, it’s not a big deal; it’s just a score. In your case, it could cost you valuable time, efficiency, loss of productivity, poor morale, and money.
You can’t be perfect. There will always be a few “bad swings.” However, if you do a good job of preparing, you can greatly reduce the chances and mitigate the effects. Here’s how you make sure you do…
- Understand your insurance policy. Know exactly what it does and does not cover. Make sure you have a good agent you trust; get second opinions; stay educated on your needs; and don’t let it get obsolete.
- Understand your vulnerabilities. Take some time to analyze where you can get most hurt. That’s just good business.
- Plan your response. If you know what can hurt you, but don’t know how to respond to it, then you’ve wasted your energies. You and your team must know the plan.
- Practice your plan. When I coached basketball, my team knew what to do because we practiced end of game situations. Hold corporate war games; perform safety drills; test yourself and your people. You’re fooling yourself if you think talk will get it done when crunch time happens.
- Practice continually. Doing it once never works. You must consistently work on this. I spent years getting trained in CPR and First Aid. One time I needed it. I was at my parents house having dinner with them when my mother started choking. I was able to give her the Heimlich Maneuver and it saved her life. The only reason this happened, and I mean the ONLY reason, was because I had spent years practicing the technique. The same is true for your safety and disaster recovery practices. You and your team must at least annually prepare and practice for that one event.
You know your own golf course. You know the hazards and perils that await you. Being unprepared is simply bad business. It will cost you plenty of “strokes” if aren’t ready and that will put a big dent in your bottom line. By following my simple guidelines listed above, you will go a long way in bolstering your score.
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved