Even though I enjoy (?) playing the game and one of my three sons was a golf professional before accepting a position with the Nationwide PGA Tour, by no stretch of the imagination am I an expert on the sport of golf.
To illustrate that point, at one time I assumed that great golfers hit each shot perfectly every time.
That was an incorrect assumption of the highest order.
Sometimes they hit it too far to the right (shank) out-of-bounds; and other times they hit it too far to the left (hook) out-of-bounds. On very rare occasions all they catch is air (whiff)!
When any of the above (or a myriad of other) debacles (behind a tree, buried in sand, in six inches of rough or in a pond) happen, it is what happens NEXT that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. It’s how the golfer stops, takes a deep breath, figures out how to extricate himself/herself from a tough situation and executes a plan to get back on track that makes a difference. It’s the crucial recovery shot that can help save par.
One of the worst moments in my professional life occurred when I was Director of Training for a major Midwestern life insurance company. We held a three-day Education Conference in Dallas attended by approximately six hundred agents. In addition to motivational platform speakers, we provided a myriad of breakout sessions which qualified for continuing education (CE) credit. Producers appreciated the opportunity to pick up a lot of hours in a short period of time. Our conference was held in October and I was not aware that we had an issue until the following December.
“Bill, is there a problem with Ed Conference CE’s?” asked my boss on a telephone call while I was in Kansas City looking at next year’s site.
“Not that I am aware. Why do you ask?”
“Because I have been getting calls from agents saying that the hours do not show up at their respective insurance departments.”
Needless to say, I experienced a long three-hour drive back from Kansas City to Des Moines. It was going to be difficult to figure out because my assistant, the person who had done the filing for the three previous years, had resigned and moved on to another company.
And that, as it turned out, was the problem.
For reasons we’ll never know, she had failed to apply for CE in twenty-four of the thirty-eight states represented at the conference and lied to me prior to the meeting about the progress of her work. Knowing that it was a house built of cards, she resigned before the truth came out.?
To be painfully honest, that first week after finding out was pure torture. I wasn’t sure where to begin. People had paid money to attend and rightfully expected to be credited for the hours invested.
Back to my golf analogy.
The ball had been hit into a deep pond and my first step was to accept the painful truth. There would be a penalty stroke but we still time to recover.
I then called the producers in those twenty states and explained what had happened. It was important for me to let them know what had occurred and to make sure that there were no CE deadlines being missed when they renewed their respective licenses.
Then I needed to get in touch with the agents from the four states that would not or could not bend the rules. Our plan there was to encourage them to take free classes via the company’s on-line virtual university or offer to pay them for an all-day CE course in their respective communities.
To my surprise and delight, I did not deal with even ONE angry agent. Each person said that either they had plenty of CE’s elsewhere, or had all kinds of time to pick them up before renewal and I shouldn’t worry about it.
How about you?
When it does, follow the example of scratch golfers. Analyze the situation. Admit the fact that it stinks.?Accept responsibility. Make a plan. Execute. Move on and forget about it.
Bill Sheridan—Sheridan Writes, LLC
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