We just finished a big golf weekend, and I'm actually writing this before I know who won. I'm definitely a golf fan, and it got me to thinking about the similarities between great golfers and the best farmers.
A lesson from Tiger
Whether you're a fan or not, think about the work that Tiger Woods puts into his game. In pursuit of perfection; he practices, reviews what he's done, and corrects. In day one of this year's Masters his first two holes didn't go very well. He spent a little time in the trees and then made some amazing shots to get himself out of trouble. So how is that like farming?
Sometimes we find ourselves in the trees. Maybe we made a marketing decision to sell ahead and then later the prices went up. Do we have a chance to make a correction? Is there an opportunity to get ourselves out of the trees? Can we get the ball closer to the hole, or end goal, by making a correction? Or do we typically just rack up a loss on the year (or on the tournament)?
In marketing, there are often opportunities to undo our decisions when the factors of the market change. Tiger studied the course, looked at all of the angles and found a way out of the trees with a single amazing shot. We don't necessarily need world class talent to market grain, but we have to study the factors involved and, when information changes, be able to swallow our pride a little bit in order to correct and move on. When you made that 'bad' decision, at least you didn't have every golf fan in the world watching you.
A lesson from Phil
Certain golfers, like celebrities of any kind, have a following because of the way they perform and the way they treat their fan base. The people in your operation are to you as a fan base is to a golfer for this analogy. So now think about Phil Mickelson. Phil looks up and makes eye contact with fans and gives a genuine smile. I've seen him walk over to a little kid and toss a golf ball his way. Think about how that little gesture changes how that kid feels about golf.
Those small things that you do for your people make a difference. Acknowledge them. Watching the coverage on Day 3 of this year's Masters, Phil sank a long putt late in the day to put him in second place. He walked off the putting green and probably high fived about 20 fans.
Celebrate with your people. Acknowledge their role. Mickelson obviously understands PR and the role of the fan base, judging from the way he treats people. Do you understand how you impact your team by your attitude and your willingness to celebrate wins with them?