Not invented here

Columns - Game Plan

June 7, 2016

Do you know the acronym NIH? It stands for “not invented here.” Those who manage their teams and organizations with disdain for anything not invented here – or worse, not invented by them personally – risk stifling innovation and growth. Many who ascribe to the NIH philosophy defend their stubbornness with the attitude that no one knows their business, their members and their customers as well as they do. Maybe not, but let’s open our minds for a few minutes and see what we can learn from some people who have never run a golf course or been responsible for 150 acres of turf.

Friedman: CQ + PQ > IQ. Superior intelligence often will tip the scales in your favor. But Tom Friedman, the bestselling author of “The World is Flat,” argues that IQ is less important than the combination of Curiosity Quotient (CQ) and Passion Quotient (PQ). Friedman encourages us to “always be in beta-test mode.” Being flexible to try new things and being curious keeps your mind fresh and active. It helps you be more observant. It opens new worlds and possibilities. It keeps you young and your ideas fresh. And, it makes your life more interesting. Do you bring real passion to your job on a daily basis, and are you transferring that passion to others on your team? If you’re not, you owe it to yourself, your staff and your facility to find something that will ignite the fire in your belly. Life is too short to try to try to fake sincerity or passion.

Gladwell: Put in the Time. Author Malcolm Gladwell introduced the “Rule of 10,000 Hours,” which posits that mastery of one’s chosen field requires a commitment of at least 10,000 hours of diligent and repetitive practice. One achieves mastery when one merges tireless practice and repetition with the lessons learned from failure and near-misses. Want to be masterful in your job? Put in the time. Do the work. And don’t be afraid to fail.

Old Masters: Be accountable. Highly skilled European artists painting before 1800 are known as the “Old Masters.” Michelangelo, Rubens, Gainsborough and others of that period were happy to sign their work product and acknowledge responsibility for what they produced. In a highly unaccountable world, those who take responsibility for what they produce – and fail to produce – are distinctive. Demonstrate your passion for your facility and profession in the finished quality of your work. Embrace the privilege of being accountable in a manner similar to the old masters and your club will be better for it.

Al and Laura Reis: Own it. In their book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding,” marketing gurus Al and Laura Reis define a brand as the small piece of real estate that companies own in the minds of their customers and consumers. In your world, maybe it’s the quality of your greens, the professionalism of your staff or the thickness of your steaks. Whatever it is, if you truly own it, if no other competitor can honestly claim the same degree of excellence, this is your competitive advantage. It must be guarded, nurtured and protected at all costs.

Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles: Deliver the unexpected. In their thought-provoking 1993 parable called “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service,” authors Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles told of an age-old and trusty bit of advice: Give people more than they bargained for and they will sing your praises. They called it the “plus one percent” factor. You can call it a baker’s-dozen or lagniappe, as they say in Louisiana. By whatever name, receiving unexpected value is a sure way to create raving fans. Unexpected value is also guaranteed way for staff to win the appreciation and gratitude of those they serve. When they do, just watch as their PQ (passion quotient) soars. Employees desire a higher purpose than simply executing job functions. They want to know that they provided happiness and purpose through their efforts. Doing more gives more to all involved. The challenges inherent in managing a successful golf operation in today’s economy, where consumers wield ever-increasing expectations, are too complex for any one person to have all of the right answers. NIH is an acronym and a philosophy that has no place in today’s world. Embrace the wisdom and experience of others, and you’ll find your SQ (success quotient) reaching new heights. GCI

Henry DeLozier is a principal in the Global Golf Advisors consultancy. DeLozier joined Global Golf Advisors in 2008 after nine years as the vice president of golf for Pulte Homes. He is a past president of the National Golf Course Owners Association’s board of directors and serves on the PGA of America’s Employers Advisory Council.