Bogota Journal # 7

One day left…

I’ve told my wife, Barb that this is my perception of Bogota….

1. The food is awesome

2. The people are warm, friendly, and very hospitable.

3. The women are beautiful (including my primas…I thought I should get that in)

and…

4. A new one. They use caddies to play golf. No carts. And this is quickly moving up the line!

They don’t use carts in Colombia. They have caddies. My caddie was a dude named Sebastian. He was awesome. I didn’t have to clean my ball, fix my divots, or even read the green. He would say, “Excuse me Mr. Dan,” and then move me out-of-the-way to read my putt. He was always right…my execution wasn’t. When I’d line up to hit the ball off the tee or fairway, he would say, “Excuse me Mr. Dan,” and then point me in the right direction or fix my alignment. After I hit a bad shot, he told me what I did. If I could stick him in my baggage home, I would! My lasting memory of Sebastian will be reminding me of what I was doing wrong in my swing – he would line me up and then walk away and say “finish.” Gracias Sebastian!

After golf, I went out with my primas and the esposos to dinner. We went to the Gaira Cafe and Cumbio Club. This place is out-of-bounds. The food is great, but it’s more about the music. Cumbio is akin to our blues in American music, however let me tell you there is nothing “bluesy” in this music. It’s all upbeat, up-tempo, exciting, and a lot of fun. The place was jam-packed on a Wednesday night until midnight.

Okay…final preparations for the last day. I will have an epilogue coming up soon. Thanks for following me on my journey…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

with my caddie Sebastian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extra Points – Active Mind and Body

Hole #11 - Harbour Pointe Golf Course

Active Minds and Bodies.

This past weekend was a blur…

I started Saturday morning packing my golf bag and duffel bag and heading to Seattle via the ferry to play golf at beautiful Harbour Pointe Golf Course in Mukilteo. My friend Dave picked me up on the other side on a glorious day and we headed over for 18 holes in my Washington Athletic Club tournament. After the round, I scarfed down a turkey sandwich and beer and then like Superman in the telephone booth, changed into my “symphony” clothes. My wife Barb was herding cats by bringing my two daughters, my 87-year old mother, and our Rotary foreign exchange student over to Seattle to meet me for the playing of the Wizard of Oz with the Seattle Symphony in the background. Dave dropped me off at exactly the same time they arrived, we went to dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s, and then spent the evening re-visiting Oz.  The next day, we got up early after a late night, went to morning Mass, and then hit it out to Barb’s parents for a day trip and visit. Whew! I’m waiting for Monday to relax!

Active minds and bodies are essential to living a well-rounded life. Sometimes maybe a little frantic, but always good to keep the brain synapses popping (or whatever they do). Staying active both physically and mentally is the real fountain of youth. It also is the “stuff” that a healthy life is made of. I encourage you to find ways in your busy professional life to add plenty of balance with a healthy dose of activity. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul…

This week’s quote – “You don’t have a professional life and a personal life. You simply have a life…”
– Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting

Bad Swings Cost Big Strokes

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…

  1. 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.
  2. Understand your vulnerabilities. Take some time to analyze where you can get most hurt. That’s just good business.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

 

Responding to “Crisis” in a Huge Way

Rory McIlroy self-imploded on the back side of Augusta with the lead at the Masters. He lost a 4-shot lead and at 21 years old could have easily gone in the tank. For a young man from Northern Ireland, this was a crisis in confidence.

Today, McIlroy came all the way back with a huge bounce and destroyed the field in the United States Open. He broke records and lapped the field.

Responding to crisis is what this young man did. After the Masters, he was humble and got back to working on his game, including calling past champions like Jack Nicklaus to get advice. His next opportunity was not wasted.

Responding to crisis often means simply bouncing back from adversity with grace and skill.

Just like Rory McIlroy…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Adios Seve Ballesteros

I was deeply saddened today to hear of the passing of golf legend, Seve Ballesteros. As I reflect on the influence he had on me at a young age, I can’t help but think it went much deeper than golf.

Seve was my first golfing hero when I took up the game at 12 years old. He was young, dashing, confident, had great charisma, and was a Spaniard (I’m half Colombian with the Spanish genes). As I grew up playing golf, I always imagined playing like Seve. I picked up his swashbuckling, big risk-big reward style. Ironically, as I think about him today, I realize that style carried over into my personal and business life. Maybe his influence has a lot to do with how I’ve attacked my life, not just my golf game. He was also a terrific ambassador for the game and philanthropist. He passed way too young at 54 years old.

Seve exuded confidence, passion, flare, and was never afraid to take risks to reap rewards, As we all do, he sometimes failed. As Alan Weiss says, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.” Through my maturation as a golfer and as a person, I believe I took those characteristics with me into life. I can honestly thank the influence of Seve Ballesteros in my life.

Here’s a great video of one of his classic shots…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Lessons from the U.S. Open

Since 1965, the United States Golf Association has been holding the U.S. Open on Father’s Day weekend. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching the entire Sunday round with my daughters, Mindy and Kelli. If you think they dread this, you are wrong. They actually love it and look forward to watching every year. In fact, we are planning on being at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, WA 945 minutes away from home) in 2015 regardless of where we all live. But, I digress…

The U.S. Open always holds great drama. The lessons we as business people can learn from watching professional golfers deal with pressure are plentiful. Here’s what I witnessed from yesterday’s final round:

  1. Graeme McDowell became the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1940 to win this event. He did it by being the only player amongst the leaders to stay focused on task, even in the face of adversity. He played his game, never forced the action, and made the right decisions at the right time. The prime example came as he stood on the 18th fairway as he watched his nearest competitor, Gregory Havret from France, miss his birdie putt that would have tied them. McDowell now knew that all he had to do was par the hole. Instead of going for the Par-5 in two (a daring risk-reward play), he made the “smart” play by laying up, hitting the green in regulation, and giving himself a pretty simple two-putt to win. Had he dared to go all out, his chances to error increase and he could have thrown away the title. He knew his position and made the right call at the right time. The lesson – Know where you are and make decisions based on common sense, not arrogance.
  2. The 54-hole leader, Dustin Johnson, gave up his 4-stroke lead within the first three holes. His round turned disastrous with a triple-bogey on #2; a double-bogey on #3; and a bogey on #4. He never recovered. This is a highly skilled and talented young man who basically cracked under immense pressure. The lesson – Talent is important, but it can’t make up for having nerves of steel and confidence to bounce back when adversity strikes. Had he recovered right after his triple-bogey, he would still have had an excellent chance to win based on where his competitors finished.
  3. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els choked. These three golfers own 21 major championships between them and you would have thought that any one of them would have taken advantage of the leaders backing up. Instead, they forced the action on a brutally difficult course and paid the price. Instead of playing their game, they tried too hard and it cost them dearly. The young Frenchman, Havret, is ranked 391st in the world and only made the field because he made a 50-foot putt in England the week before to get him in a playoff. The lessons – Experience doesn’t always trump youth. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Don’t rest on your seemingly better credentials as they might not be good enough. Next, don’t try too hard. Trying too hard leads to mistakes you normally wouldn’t make.
  4. Be gracious in adversity. There is a stark difference between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson behind a microphone after a heart-breaking loss. Tiger is surly, curt, and uninviting. Phil is gracious, speaks at length, and offers a positive demeanor regardless of the outcome. Mickelson has that quality of great leadership. He hates to lose as much as Tiger, yet he won’t carry that through to the media or fans. The lesson – If you want to be viewed as an inspirational leader, then you have to exude confidence, pride, and graciousness when things get tough.

Congratulations to a deserving new champion, Graeme McDowell. I’m sure a few pints of Guiness were poured in Northern Ireland last night. Whether you are a golfer or not, I hope you can take a few lessons I observed from this great game yesterday. Golf is a microcosm of society and business. We need to learn from each other.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Open Letter to Tiger Woods

Dear Tiger,

As an avid golfer for the past 31 years, a fan of your game and what you’ve done for the sport, and as a concerned human being, I’m sending you this open letter with unparalleled advice on how to get your “game” back on track. I know you pay the boys from New York big-time dough to help you, but I think they’ve done a crummy job with this recent transgression.  You see, I’m a consultant and I know a thing or two about branding, communications, and life balance.  It seems you like to use the Internet as your mouthpiece, so I figure this is the best way to reach you.  All that being said, let’s get started…

  1. Fix your family first.  If you are serious about what your statement said, then I applaud you.  Nothing is more important for you than your wife and children.  Looks like you’ve committed about 11 triple-bogeys in a row on the family game.  You’re going to need a few extra rounds to get back to even par.  This is job #1.
  2. Stop hiding behind your web site.  I know you want privacy, but you can’t be the Tiger Woods brand, rake in a billion dollars, and then want to be left alone.  You can’t have it both ways, dude.  Take a cue from A-Rod (I can’t believe I wrote that), Letterman, Clinton, Agassi, et al and get your face (battered as it might be) in front of the world and say the things you’re writing on your web site.  Sorry, it’s the only way.  Right now, it looks and feels like you’re hiding.  Chip out of the tall rough and take your medicine with your public.
  3. Get back on Tour soon.  You’re killing the PGA.  Just killing it.  Last year when you were out with injury, the ratings dropped 50%.  50%!  Your buddies on the tour are being forced to respond to questions about you.  Your lack of presence will hurt the league, the players, the purses, and everything else involved with the sport.  I don’t care if you have to hire some big dude to keep you honest off the course.  You owe it to the PGA to get back to doing the thing you do best.
  4. Get help.  You’ve had a dozen coaches help you with your game.  Now you need coaches to help you with your marriage, your children, your communications, how you interact with the media, etc.
  5. Offer to take a pay cut from your sponsors.  They can’t even run ads with your image now.  Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, Accenture and the rest are in crisis management.  As much as you’ve hurt the PGA, the ripple effect goes to them, too.  I think you’ve got enough to live on for a few years.  Give them a break because you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain.
  6. Stop being a victim.  One of your prior statements chastised the media for interrupting your life.  If you’re going to apologize, dump the “I’m sorry, but” language.  Your not the victim, man.  Whoever wrote that for you should be fired.
  7. When you do get back on the course, you need to stop swearing, throwing clubs, throwing tantrums, etc. Like it or not, you are a role model for all those kids learning the game and idolizing you.  They will still watch you.  Take an extra heaping of humility and be a good sport.
  8. Last one – Get a Life.  In order to be a well-rounded human, you need to be more than a one-trick pony.  You have the opportunity to influence more than anyone else in the sports world today.  Only Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan have “owned” the owned the stage as a sports star like you have.

I hope you get started on these right away.  Some may be painful, but the pain doesn’t last forever unless you let it.  My invoice is in the mail.  I took a little off because I love the sport and we need you.  Don’t let everyone down.

Best,

Dan Weedin

© 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved

The Business of Golf: 18 Rules to Play By

Dan Weedin’s Best Practices for Winning the Business of Golf

If you’re anything like me, you love to mix work with pleasure. Especially, if it’s on the golf course. The links offers a great opportunity to tee it up with clients and prospects. Even if you don’t play a lot, charity golf tournaments make it easy for even the novice to take advantage of the opportunity to build business relationships.

But, it’s just as big an opportunity for embarrassment and I’m not talking about your game. You can find yourself in the worst bunker of all – out of a job or losing business. And in this game, there are no mulligans! So regardless of whether you’re playing a round with your boss, a client, a prospect, or some other VIP, make sure you know the rules of play.

Just like a golf course has 18 holes, I have 18 best practices that you can use to avoid the hazards and build better business relationships through the grand old game of golf.

Front Nine

  1. Never ever sell on the course. This is an opportunity to build a relationship and trust.  Nothing will turn off a prospective client more than hearing a sales pitch right before he lines up his birdie putt.
  2. Never try to schedule a meeting on the course. You can do this while you’re having a beer after.  If they can’t stick around, simply ask if you can call them the next business day to schedule an appointment.  Make sure you get their approval and their business card.
  3. Keep your temper in check. Never swear, mope, throw your club, or complain (even if your prospect/client/boss does).  They need to understand that you don’t take yourself too seriously and that you’re not a maniac.
  4. Make sure you know golf etiquette. If the game is fairly new to you, brush up online for tips on how to behave on the course.  Your client will have an expectation that you can carry yourself well in any situation, including the links.
  5. Do not over consume alcohol on the course. This should be a no-brainer but I’ve seen it.
  6. Offer to buy refreshments as the snack cart drives around. Make sure you have plenty of five’s and one’s available and don’t scrimp on the tip. They will notice!
  7. Be conservative in your dress. I know seasoned golfers have seen John Daly’s latest outrageous wear. This isn’t the place to show off your multi-colored pants. I’m not saying be a prude. Just be smart.
  8. Don’t play slow. I don’t mean that you have to be a good golfer. I mean don’t take seven practice swings before each shot or check every angle when lining up a putt. Keep the pace going.
  9. You don’t have to let the boss/client win. Really. Golf is a gentleman’s game, not a brown-noser’s. If you’re keeping score, as long as you are gracious either way, you will be a winner.

Back Nine

  1. Pick up lunch at the turn. The “turn” is going from the front nine to the back nine and always offers the opportunity to eat.
  2. Be willing to accept reciprocation. They may offer to buy you food or drink. Don’t embarrass them by refusing and forcing the issue that you buy. You might be at their club, or you might be their guest. Be willing to graciously accept.
  3. Don’t Crash the Cart. I’ve seen it. Really. Most charity golf events require a cart, as do many of the newer courses. This may go hand in hand in avoiding overconsumption of alcohol. Putting your boss in the hospital doesn’t lend itself to a stable long-term relationship!
  4. Play for par, hope for birdie. Here’s what I mean. Don’t try to do the spectacular like fishing out the client’s golf ball from the lake when you can’t reach it easily. You may end up all wet in the drink (seen this too). Looking for his or her ball in poison ivy – that’s a double-bogey! Be smart when making decisions that could impact the remaining part of your game.
  5. Ask Questions. This is your opportunity to learn a little something about your playing partner. Find out about family, hobbies, and even about their work. Be sincerely interested and listen.
  6. If they ask, go for it! I know I told you not to sell or schedule appointments earlier. But, if your prospect starts the conversation down that line, play on. It’s their prerogative to talk business, so if they want to, by all means take advantage. But remember to stop when they do.
  7. Shake their hand. At the end of the round, shake their hand as well as every other playing partner. I’ve always liked how Tiger Woods doffs his cap while shaking hands. I never seem to get the holding on to the putter and ball while shaking. Helps to have a caddy, I guess!
  8. Offer to eat after the round. The 19th hole is a great place to enjoy a burger and beer (moderately). If they can’t stay, don’t make them feel bad. It’s the right thing to offer.
  9. Have fun! This is the most important item. Don’t psyche yourself out, try to be perfect, or worry about business. People can tell. Enjoy the day, the company, and the game.

You will learn a lot about a person over 18 holes. Your client/prospect/boss will learn a lot about you.  Make sure you are giving the best impression you can.  This is a golden opportunity to build relationships and show that you are worthy of their trust. People do business with those they trust and like. Make sure they walk off the course with a “birdie” feeling about you.

© 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved

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