Earlier this week, Tiger Woods was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. ESPN’s March Schlabach summed it up best when he said, “in what seemed like a formality from the first time he played in an PGA Tour Event in August 1996… Tiger Woods was officially inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.” Much can be said about how the game of golf has changed in the past 25 years and it’s undeniable that the change was ushered in by the breath of fresh air that Tiger Woods breathed into the game, but let’s take that conversation a step further—what can we learn by reflecting on Woods’ 25 year career?
It's Hard to be First—Do it Anyway
Undeniably, Woods made golf cool for younger generations and minorities to play. Yet, during his induction speech, Woods talked about being denied entrance to all-white country club clubhouses when he was a junior and how he would put his golf shoes on in the parking lot. Despite this glaring obstacle and feeling of otherness, Woods prevailed and made a name for himself as a force to be reckoned with and went on to change the face of the sport and make golf cool.
The club industry is one that is slow to change, yet we have all changed tremendously over the past few years. Some may say the changes have been for the better, but they haven’t been without challenges. The first time your club held a holiday event different from “the way we’ve always done it,” it was likely met with mixed feelings, yet it also resulted in your management and staff taking time to evaluate what aspects of the event you should stop, start, and keep doing. Chances are, the shift was uncomfortable, but your events have been forever changed, for the better.
You are Not an Island
In Woods’ closing remarks, he concluded by saying that he viewed his Hall of Fame induction not as an individual honor, but as a team one made possible by his parents, his children, his girlfriend, his coaches, his caddies, and his friends. Woods realizes that, despite golf being an individual sport, his success would not be possible without others.
It’s easy to take credit for your individual accomplishments, both personally and professionally but as the adage says, no man is an island. We burn brightest when we lift others up along with us and practice positive communication. Even a simple compliment can make a big difference in mitigating stress and keeping up employee morale.
You are in Control of your Destiny
Tiger Woods’ work ethic and tenacity is legendary, and in his Hall of Fame speech he references the fact that his parents instilled in him to fight for what he believed in, chase his dreams and to earn everything. While very few people posses the talent that Tiger Woods possesses, work ethic and drive can be taught.
In this currently difficult labor market, the value of hard work, drive and perseverance can take you far. Whether it’s cross-training employees to fill in the gaps or working to train up young managers to be leaders within your organization you are in the drivers seat of not only your legacy but also those who follow in your footsteps.
It remains to be seen whether Tiger Woods career is, in fact over (he has made reference to returning to competitive play) but even if he never picked up a set of clubs again in his life, his impact on the world of golf, and our society at large is indelible.