So why use golf to develop leadership?
It seems that the game of golf attracts business leaders more than other groups- & perhaps the conclusions above suggest why. So it became increasingly obviousto our team that golf could be both an attractive idea for development within thisgroup, and that the game of golf itself could be deliberately used to develop thecompetencies and behaviours associated with great leadership.Indeed, many of our clients confirm the attraction of golf for our seniormanagement training programmes by requesting training to take place at golf clubs,so the team can play golf after the training course. Albeit, not everyone on theprogrammes did play golf, the senior managers and board members invariably did.Our research into using simulations has shown that given a truly safe environmentto practice the tools and techniques of leadership and management, participants notonly learn more (23% greater learning) than using more traditional methods likecase studies, they enjoy it more (17% greater) and demonstrate greater transfer of new behaviours to the workplace (26% greater transfer). Not only this, but studiesin societies where females are considered disadvantaged in management showed agreater improvement in demonstrated management and leadership competenciesafter a simulation based programme than a traditional programme over their malecounterparts 16% greater improvement in demonstrated competencies. The key tothe success of using simulations is that they provide a realistic, safe environment topractice the tools, techniques and behaviours of great leadership (Source:Kenworthy 2005)
Is golf a safe, realistic environment?
The great thing about golf is that it is one of the very few activities that provides agenuinely level-playing field - through the well-established handicapping system. Itmay not be perfect, but it’s very close. This means that a scratch golfer competesfairly with a complete beginner. There are also rules within which the game must beplayed - these represent the constraints of doing business. There are establishedgame rules that encourage pairs or foursomes to work together, and there are rulesto foster individual competition -sometimes in business we want our leaders to beentrepreneurial and ‘go-getters’ - leading by example, at other times, we want themto be team leaders, or team players. Caddies, provide a perfect metaphor forcoaches and mentors. The course itself provides a varied environment, shiftingaccording to things beyond the control of the player, but observable by them. Thehole provides a target, the course provides for a strategic plan to achieve the realgoal. The points scored can directly relate to revenue or profit. The clubs and ballsare resources - even the golf pro can be a consultant resource.The game of golf provides a fantastic platform to learn leadership - its safe and fair,it’s as realistic as you need it to be and it’s fun!