At this time of year, we hear a lot about golf, with features on the winners of the majors. Dr. Bob Rotella wrote an interesting article in Golf Digest titled “10 Rules for How to Win Your Major Golf Tournament.” The article was for golfers at every skill level, but it also applies to those running printing companies.
This is not about golf as a business, but golf as a sport. So, how does it tie to your business? Golf is highly competitive; a golfer plays against others, plus against his or her own record. In a printing company, that means being better than your planned results—monthly, quarterly, or annually.
A second similarity is efficiency. Golfers use available resources to achieve the lowest score (fewest shots) to win. So it is in business. If there is ever a question about why print owners are reluctant to add staff, it is because people come at a cost. Too many people create bureaucracy; slowing down decision-making and the ability to execute quickly.
The third similarity is that those who practice more tend to win. Talent is great, but even a not-so-great golfer knows that to improve from fair to good requires a commitment to practice. In printing, it is the same thing; ask any solid printing salesperson how he or she got to be that way, and he or she will respond that he or she practiced because without it, skills drift away.
How to Win
In Rotella’s article, he explains what a person needs to do to win. These same rules apply to businesses. The first rule is to believe that you can win. The second rule is that winning is defined as your printing company’s success. The two are linked.
Rotella finished third from last in the 1985 Charlottesville, VA, city championship. He followed the leaders to compare his game to theirs. He left the course believing that if those guys could win, so could he—provided he practiced and improved. Rotella did win in 1993 with a 12-foot putt on the 18th hole. It took eight years, but all that time, he kept his eyes on the prize.
The third rule is not to be lulled into thinking that nothing matters but results. Why? Results aren’t the same as having a solid printing organization. Often results hide problems that can kill a business.
Patience is the fourth rule. Golfers who get overly aggressive make mistakes. Those who take their time and play for the long haul succeed. Whether on the golf course or in the boardroom, patient play wins.
Everything counts is the fifth rule. On the golf course, the only true measure of success is when every stroke is counted. “Mulligans” and “do-overs” aren’t real in golf. In business, there are very few, if any, second chances.
The sixth rule is to find peace. A golf course should be a sanctuary. The game of golf is something to enjoy. The same is true in business. Those who dislike the printing industry, their clients, their vendors, or the products and services need to find another place where happiness will prevail. The most successful really enjoy what they do.
Embracing personality is the seventh rule. Successful people in golf and in business know who they are and don’t try to be someone or something they are not.
From time to time, everyone gets unsolicited advice about how to do better on the golf course. It might be a comment about how the golf club is gripped, your stance, your swing, your putting stroke, etc. In business, it is the same way. The eighth rule is to avoid these well intentioned people.
The ninth rule is to have a routine to lean on because having the foundation helps when tough times happen. This means having processes and procedures that work in your printing operation to achieve the desired goals.
Finding someone who believes in you is the tenth rule. Successful people have a coach who sees things in us that we did not see ourselves. They then teach us to take full advantage of those strengths; empowering us with belief. Successful printers belong to peer groups, have executive coaches, or regularly use advisors or consultants.