Lessons in Business from the Ryder Cup

Lessons in BusinessI’ve just enjoyed a wonderful 3 days at Gleneagles in Scotland for the Ryder Cup golf competition between 2 world class teams from the USA and Europe.  The atmosphere was electric and the competition fierce.  And watching these golfers engrossed in their roles and ‘living’ their performances in such a public arena, got me thinking about how we perform in business every day, and the lessons we can take from the winning European team.

Even if you know nothing about golf or you’re not interested in the Ryder Cup, there are lessons we can learn and apply to ourselves as owners and leaders in business.   Here are my top 3 lessons in business from the winning Ryder Cup team:

1. Understand your purpose and key motivation

The golfers talked about representing not themselves, but their countries, their continent and the game of golf, in the best possible light.  They talked of the importance of performimg to their personal best, and of not letting their team-mates and the spectators down.

Key questions to ask yourself: 

Why am I in business?

What’s the purpose of my business?

What’s my key motivator?

What’s my clients’ key motivation?

Until you know the answer to these questions it can be difficult to focus, to put your clients at the heart of everything you do, and to keep going when the going gets tough!

2.  Focus on what you can control

There are so many variables in a competition like this,  for example the weather, the pin positions, clubs, caddie, opponents, fellow team-members, and the  crowd.  Although preparation is important, it’s imperative to set your focus on the things you have control of and let the rest go.  You cannot legislate for the way other golfers play on the day and for all the other variables.  What you can do is focus on your own game, on what you’re doing, on what you’re thinking, on how you respond to what’s happening around you.

Key questions to ask yourself: 

What are the variables in my business?

What can I control?

Where do I focus my attention?

What can I let go of?

3.  Focus on the next step only

It would have been so easy for some winning team members to lose by very large margins on the final day if they’d focused on the overall score, on the end result, rather than on their next shot, and on their next hole.  Instead they reversed large deficits by taking it one step at a time.  By focusing on what was within their control, and focusing on what they were doing in the present moment, they were able to create the result they most wanted – to win that hole, and the next, leading them to win their match overall and ultimately the competition.

Key questions to ask yourself: 

Where am I focused on the end result rather than on my next step?

Where is my thinking focused (in the past, present or future)?

What key actions can I focus on right now, that if I do, will help me create my desired result?

What thoughts and feelings will help me with these actions?

What will hinder me?

When you have a big enough reason why, when you focus on what you can control and leave the things you can’t, and when you can marshall your thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment you will be in a much better position to create the results you want in your business. In the same way as the European Ryder Cup team did, winning by 16.5 points to USA’s 11.5 points!

Do let me know what you think about these lessons in business.  You can leave a comment below the red  box.

If you like this article please check out my book Stepping into Success: The 7 Essential Moves to Bring your Business to Life.  Available in UK –Amazon, Kindle & USA – Amazon, Kindle as well as Kobo & iTunes
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