I was all prepared to give a golf lesson to a friend today and as I walked up he was striping it! We spent a bit of time working the set-up, but really there was little to be done, I felt like when Harvey Penick told Ben Crenshaw to just keep doing what you are doing! As so often in the game of golf the real joy is the fellowship that happens and this even happens in golf lessons! Towards the end of the time together we started discussing “A Message to Garcia.” I had never heard of the story written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899. The gist of the story is during the Spanish American War, President McKinley needed to get a message to the rebel leader, Calixto Garcia, on the island of Cuba. Lieutenant Andrew Rowan was volunteered to handle the assignment. Elbert Hubbard’s take in his editorial is that when Rowan was given the assignment he was resourceful enough to figure a way to get it done and when an assignment or responsibility is given, often the employee gets lost in the how, who, why, when, where, is that my job and anything he could think of that didn’t actively get the task at hand done. A Message to Garcia, actually held a place on the Commandant’s Professional Reading List in the Marine Corp. “To take a message to Garcia,” was for years a popular American expression for taking initiative and is still used by some members of the military. In the workplace getting Human Capital to take initiative or autonomy over situations and outcomes is the goal of most environments. The game of golf is a great lesson in ownership! It doesn’t matter if the player is a Junior, Senior, Male, or Female, the responsibility for the outcome relies totally on the individual. It doesn’t matter what club you use or if the player is right or left handed. There is very little judgement, other than the individual is responsible to get the ball in the hole. It isn’t a team sport! No matter who is watching or if nobody is watching the outcome still relies on the player. The challenges will be there, in work as on the golf course! There will be barriers and challenges from both internal and external sources but golf teaches problem solving and initiative!
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