From our condo, we overlook a golf green, and there is a steady stream of golfers, all shapes and sizes and levels of expertise that go through each day. I am not a golfer or a golfing expert (“hear, hear” my husband says), and so I have been puzzled by a consistent behaviour that I have noticed.
To my understanding, the entire game of golf is built on getting the ball in the hole and doing it in the least amount of shots possible. What I have noticed, is that most of the golfers, particularly those in groups of 4, get to the green, take a shot, and when they are within a foot or two of the hole, they just pick their ball up and move onto the next green. Most don’t make the final putt to sink the ball! I find this unbelievable. I have always valued finishing strong, and can’t imagine what they are thinking?! My husband says, once you’re that close, you’re almost certain it’s going in, so why bother to hit it into the hole and then have to retrieve it? Seriously?? We have all watched professional golfers who are that close, miss.
A second curious observation is that in the smaller groups – of 2 or even golfers golfing alone, these folks are more likely to put their ball in, especially those golfing alone. This has made me wonder about the differences between finishing in a group or alone. Is it coincidence or do the individual’s natural tendencies to want to finish get subsumed by the group?
In my most ‘judgey’ self, I want to call out to the players and ask them to complete what they have started. In my more curious self, I wonder about values around finishing.
As leaders, do we run meetings efficiently right to the end, or do they just peter out? Do we encourage our teams to be their best, right to the finish of the task or the timeline for which the team was formed? Do we utilize feedback to push our leadership to the next level(the end of one stage and the beginning of new learning)? If we know we are moving jobs or companies, are we hardworking and loyal right to the end of our time?
As people, the questions around finishing strong are also rampant: as relationships end, and children are torn between parents; as deals are closed and deceit is hidden until it’s too late; finally, even as our world experiences the impact of climate change – are we conscious of finishing strong and leaving the planet for our children…even when it may increase the cost for us? These are just a few.
It’s all well and good to take a clear shot to the green in golf, and hope. It’s more admirable to avoid the water and the bunkers. And finishing the hole – putting the ball in the cup – even if no one is looking, to my way of thinking, is the way we want our teams and ourselves to play. Finishing strong, in conversations, at work, with relationships, creates the engagement and the success we want to have around us – every time.