It’s not unusual to associate golf and business deals. We see it in movies. We read about it in newspapers and online. Golf and business just seem to go hand-in-hand. But a recent Washington Post article cited a study that examined the golfing habits of more than 350 CEOs of S&P 1500 companies between 2008 and 2012 and it showed that CEOs who play golf more often were associated with lower average return on assets and lower market capitalization!
Does that mean that if you (like me) enjoy a good round of golf that you need to throw your clubs out if you want your business to grow? Not at all! There’s no denying that relationships are often built on the links and that deals are made there as well. My point is that sometimes the activities we associate with business growth and success aren’t really the most important activities.
So what are the leadership activities that actually help growing companies scale up so that they can experience significant growth? Here are a few things that consistently make a big difference.
- Developing Clear Vision: It’s been said that a fine mist from the podium turns into a heavy fog in the cubicles. As a leader, it’s essential that you be crystal clear about your vision for the company. You can’t just wing it. If you’re not certain about where you’re going, there’s no way your employees will be.
- Productive Planning: When I talk about planning, I’m not referring to spending months crafting and fine-tuning your business plan. I’m talking about making sure you have regular, productive planning meetings that set clear objectives and expectations, evaluate progress, and revise the plans when necessary—based on data.
- Outstanding Execution: It doesn’t matter how great your vision and plans are if you don’t execute. You have to have metrics in place to evaluate your progress—or lack thereof. Customers don’t come back based on what you promise; they come back (and tell others) base on what you deliver.
- Smart Hiring: Hiring the right people for the right positions is critical. It’s not about “head-count”; it’s about finding the right person for the right job.
- Leadership Development: If you want to grow your company you have to grow your leadership. The skills and knowledge that brought you to where you are will not take you where you want to go.
- A Commitment to Learning: Learning never stops for successful companies. You need to keep ahead of the competition. That means you personally need to constantly increase your knowledge. Here’s a look at 5 ways to outlearn your competitors.
If you commit yourself to those things, then you just might find that you’re able to invite your clients to join you on the golf course as a thank-you for the new contract they signed with you!