Looking to the Future... Constructing an Effective Vision of Success

It seems to me that there is a large gap in the golf industry with regards to courses and their development of an effective vision of success towards improved sustainability. After investigating some 300 facilities, I was baffled to find that just one course had their on display for golfers to see (and even it didn’t mention anything about the environment); a trend that shows me people aren’t using this highly effective tool properly. I’m sure if management knew what they were missing, they would have built a powerful vision a long time ago. So here’s what you need to do...and why you need to do it.

1. Understand all the parts of a powerful vision of success: Essentially you’ll need to generate 4 crucial elements:
a. Purpose Statement: What are you REALLY doing at your golf course? Everyone is providing golf and trying to make profit, so you’ll need to find something else; something inspiring for both your employees and customers alike. And, you can’t go looking for it ‘out there’. A powerful purpose comes from within the people already in your organization. Find your common purpose and watch productivity sky rocket, add sustainability and you can expect a 74% increase in the effectiveness of your employees’ time!
b. Core Values: We all know what core values mean because we all have them for ourselves. Indelible elements of our personality that do not change over time. Same thing goes for your golf course. The real test of a core value is this though; would you up-hold it even if it meant losing business? If yes, then you know who you are, and people will be attracted to that. If no, then you’re seeking profit for profits sake...and nearly no employee or customer is inspired by wanting created more profit. The biggest opportunity you’re going to find in this area is becoming genuinely involved in sustainability. People are voting with their wallets by buying products and services that match their own core values and we all know that nearly everyone is ‘going green’ these days.
c. A ‘BHAG’ (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal): This should a be goal that will take about 30 years or so to achieve and should be about 80% likely that it can be done. Nothing motivates people like an awe inspiring challenge! How do you know when you’ve got a good BHAG? The ‘big gulp’ test. If people take a ‘big gulp’ when you tell them what you want to achieve, then you know you’re on the right track. What about being the first fully sustainable golf course in the world? Where do I sign up?
d. Vivid Description: This should be a colourful description of what it will be like to achieve your BHAG. Use language that gives ‘goose bumps’ to employees. Let them imaging being part of something exciting. Whenever there’s a dip in focus or people aren’t working as hard as you know they can, pull out the vivid description to remind them what they are working for.
2. Build it from the ground up: A huge thread from the above is that all the elements are built and agreed to together by important stakeholder within your course. After all, these people are the one’s that will be upholding and rolling out everything to move you towards your shared vision of success. If they feel like they are not involved or if it’s imposed on them, you will lose productivity and momentum. Again, be a part of the ‘green wave’ and you can ensure buy-in from nearly everyone.
3. Use your vision properly: One of the largest mistakes that’s made is that once a vision is created, managers dust their hands off and go on to the next thing, never to think about it again. A vision needs to be a lens through which you make difficult business decisions. If you are debating about the effectiveness of a decision, a vision can be a use tool in paring down options. If a choice does not align with your vision of success, it no longer is an option.
I hope this ‘crash course’ helps in creating some inspiring visions of success that I see soon on the websites of clubs across the industry.