Should You Lay-up Or Go For the Green

I recently read an article written by Nathan Bennett and Stephen A. Miles for Forbes magazine called “Business Decisions Are Like Golf Decisions”.  Since I often think of business in golf terms, I thought it appropriate that I should share their analogy with you, because it speaks to the very core of running your own business.  Read more.

They use the Masters Golf Tournament as an example, but it applies to what professional golfers must do in every tournament they enter.  As they progress around the golf course they must constantly make decisions on what shot they should play.  Is the pin accessible?  Can they reach the green in two or should they play safe?  A good golfer will access his/her lie, distance from the green, wind conditions and then make a decision as to whether he/she will lay-up or be aggressive and go for the green. 

This kind of analysis should go into the business decisions you make on a daily basis.  Your major supplier has offered you a great discount on non-current ATV’s or Outboard Motors, but you have to take 20 to qualify.  Do you jump at the opportunity without thinking, or do you say no?  The right business decision will depend on your analysis of a number of factors: 

  • What’s your current inventory?  
  • What is the competition doing?
  • How long is the Free Floor Plan financing?  
  • Can you move these units before the end of the season? 

If you are uncomfortable with the risk you may choose to lay-up and say no, or if you need the sales to hit your profit goals, you take the risk and hit the shot.

Bennett and Miles break it down into three key questions:

  1. “What moves are others likely to make?”
  2. “How does the time frame affect play?”
  3. “How do the playing conditions affect my decision?”

A good business decision should also rely on the addition of outside input.  A Golf Pro will turn to their caddy to help make the right decision on each shot.  The caddy will give the golfer the yardage, wind direction, and will suggest a shot that is within the golfer’s capabilities.  Similarly you will benefit by turning to your resources like your sales staff, service manager, accountant, and/or consultant to help with a key decision.

Does this sound like child’s play?  Well Bennett and Miles don’t think so and have spent the last two years writing a book called “Your Career Game”. It is focused on helping business executives make the best decisions for their company.  What I believe they are saying is, using the game theory of lay-up vs. risk eliminates the reactionary decision that usually has serious consequences.

So the next time you are faced with a difficult decision, which is probably almost every day, weigh in with your goals front and center.  Every decision you make has risk, big or small, so use your resources and assess what is the best play for your business.  Then you can make the right decision on whether to lay-up or risk the shot.  We don’t always execute the shot we envision but at least we played it with the knowledge of how it will affect our game.

They say two heads are better than one, so if you are not sure whether to lay-up or take the shot, contact me for a free consultation.   

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