Golf…a Metaphor for Leaders

I’m putting away my golf clubs for the season. As I do that, I can’t help but reflect on what a great metaphor golf is for leaders and leadership.
In my role as Executive Coach I have engaged this metaphor with clients who are also golfers with some surprising results.Like the complex and changing corporate environment, there are constant unknowns in the game.
There are hazards everywhere and when we find ourselves in one of them, it requires some thought, a reframe, refocus, a decision and action. And after all of that, and you take the next stroke, there is the knowledge that there is no guarantee that the outcome will be what is intended.
Moving out of a trouble spot requires another look at what club the golfer (and for the Executive, what tools or skills) might be used to move forward…toward the goal that isn’t always visible and is often surrounded by several more hazards!
I also realized halfway through this golf season, that asking for help to enhance my skills (which at times are highly developed already! Well, sometimes!!!). Even the greats have Coaches and must practice to enhance their game.
One of the things that has had a great impact on me this year was to recognize the benefit of quieting, calming and centering. In the Spacious Complexity process we engage quieting and reflective learning as one of the most fundamental, effective development techniques that leaders can use. And in using the golf metaphor, the quieting and reflection is similar to when the ball lands in a water hazard where it stirs up the silt making it impossible to see the lost ball.
When we too quickly attempt to retrieve that ball, we stir up even more murkiness, similar to when we may too quickly react in the organizational environment. Yet if we simply wait, often for only a short moment, the silt settles, the water becomes clearer and we can see so much more clearly…to retrieve or recover. It is the next shot that makes the difference!
What is your next shot?
What tools are in your leadership toolbox?
Who is your silent partner?
What are your resources to bring you to the top of your game?