Strolling through the turf blogs can reveal a ton of useful information. Most of it is turf related, but the odd time a useful little life lesson falls from the sky. You know one of these tidbits strikes a chord when you happen to come across the same link twice.
This week both Joe Wachter and Chris Tritabaugh posted a link to a blog posting from marketing guru Seth Godin (here it is: http://sethgodin.typ...t-the-joke.html) The post dealt with the impossibility of pleasing everyone simultaneously. It was simple, direct, and spoke to a fundamental truth that we as superintendents face every day.
Godin points out, You can't do your best work if you're always trying to touch the untouchable, or entertain those that refuse to be entertained.
This line pretty much sums it up for us. The sooner we learn that our course will never live up to everyones subjective expectations, the sooner we are freed from the need to try and meet all those untouchable expectations.
Our profession requires that we try our best to keep a lot of people happy at any given time; the owners, Board of Directors, our staff, and last but not least those who play the course. In doing so, we can unwittingly fall into the trap of becoming people pleasers. The sad part of playing this role is that we can never keep everyone happy all of the time and often we burn ourselves out trying to do so.
Training ourselves to let go of the opinions of those we can never please is a first step in changing how we handle this aspect of our job. Getting caught up in the opinions of those you cant please is futile.
The actual state of the golf course usually has nothing to do with why people are unhappy. Complaining is often as much a part of the complainer's personal story as breathing, and we as turf managers just happen to be an easy target. Trouble at home, at work, or dissatisfaction with their own being can lead unhappy people to lash out at others.
It is not our job to keep everyone happy all of the time all we can do is our best work, and let the chips fall where they may.
Lao Tzu got it right 2500 years ago from an ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching:
"Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner."
"Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity."