This last weekend, I took Stefanie, our GM for North America and APAC, out for two rounds of golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, CA. She has been the most amazing supporter on our Sitrion journey, and this was a small token of appreciation for all the hard work. Golf, like business, is not a game of force or equipment, it is mainly a mind game and playing two rounds had some lessons for us.
Up for a rough start...
On the first day, we played a foursome with Mike & Mike, father and son, who had a rough start. Their first drive went nowhere, and it took them four or five holes to get back in the game. Stefanie and I are both very competitive, but also grateful not to rely on Golf for our income. So, with the two Mikes not doing so well, we had a chance to shine. Driving far, great approach, and wonderful putting... I may remember things a little too positively, but let's just say we had a great time.
On the second day, we played with two local gentlemen, who have played the course over 250 times. One of them, Guru (just the name got our respect), teed up way back on the Championship tee, and still hit at least 60-70 yards further than any of us. With the pressure on us, we had our fair share of lost balls, and this time it took us a couple of holes to get back into the game.
... an unexpected finish
The story could be over here and just a great memory. But after counting all the shots, it turned out I played fundamentally better the second day. Which was odd, as I never felt comfortable with such strong players watching over my shoulder. But, in retrospect, it was that pressure that got me focused, which allowed me to pull off some nice shots, including a 20-foot chip for a birdie*.
Lesson learned - build a champion team
In sports, and work, it could be easy to stay in your comfort zone and be with people that won't challenge you. In fact, it might make you feel better and have a more comfortable life. But you won't get any better! Guru and his golf partner did not plan to intimidate us, they were super nice and supportive; but it sometimes feels that way when somebody is so fundamentally better than you.
When building your team—in sport or in business—make sure you get those on board that can play from the Championship tee, not those who just make you feel comfortable.
* This whole blog is just an excuse to tell that part of the story :-)