Following up on this blog about mentoring, it’s inevitable that the principles that you were brought up on in your craft will clash with those of a new generation.
This particular example has nothing to do with the golf industry specifically, but it does illustrate that it can happen in any business.
By now, you’ve likely heard that NBC has suspended its Nightly News anchor Brian Williams for misleading viewers about his experiences covering the war in Iraq.
Certainly, Williams’ tales caused embarrassment for the network and affected his credibility, but that aside, it also illustrated the penchant of many in the media to make a story about themselves, rather than the subject or topic at hand.
There was a time that the word “I” would be eliminated from stories by tough editors unless it was absolutely necessary, but in most cases, there were ways around using it.
These days, blogs have become personal accounts of events or what the writer experienced along the way and I must admit that I use it more than I did at one time. There, I just used “I” twice in one sentence and again in this one.
After 37 years in this business, it isn’t easy and that’s just one of the taboos that have been shattered over the years in the competitive, ever-changing media in which so many also have something to say to the audiences following them on Twitter or Facebook, etc.
Call me old school, but I’m not the story and that’s why Lorne Robenstein will be timeless for many of us in Canada. His columns/blogs are about people and topics in golf, not Lorne Rubenstein, whose respect has been earned as a result.
Saying that does not imply any disrespect to the people coming up after my generation, those working Twitter feverishly, often using first-person accounts in their travels.
They see media changing constantly and becoming more competitive and that’s the world they will live in once I’ve quit tapping my keyboard.
Yet, they still look up to Lorne and they should. Perhaps, they read his columns when they were youngsters and hopefully, they take whatever they can watching him operate and reading the blogs he still writes today.
They’ll learn something from Lorne just as experienced people can take something from the generation behind them, who are keeping up with new technologies and platforms that can help them succeed in whatever business they choose.
That knowledge can benefit those of us who started their careers in the 1960s or ‘70s, be it in golf or journalism. In the early 1980s, for example, I remember a young, peewee hockey player when I was a sportswriter in Mississauga, Ont.
His name was Steve Woods, who now does the creative for GNN. Steve doesn’t seek recognition, but as I was transitioning from print to the internet, his input and thoughts were valuable and, as he runs GolfScene Magazine in Southwestern Ontario, he also has some interesting thoughts on the game.
I don’t always agree with Steve, but I’ve always got time to listen to him because he’s shown me his ideas work. He’s truly a colleague, not the minor hockey player I remember from over three decades ago.
The point is that his ideas have helped build GNN in a big way.
For that to happen, whether it’s a website, a golf operation or any other business in the industry, the owner or management needs to find a comfort zone between their own long-held beliefs and new ideas that might change the business and possibly leave us in the dust if we don’t keep up.
In golf, many of us have relaxed our dress codes, or put an emphasis on junior programs more than we once did.
Ask yourself how many golfers are playing more socially than competitively and was it always that way? With your core golfers getting older, they still need to be attended to, but would you also like to see more families or juniors playing? If so, how do you compete with other activities and recreations?
Consulting with the very demographic you’re attempting to lure to your facility is a good place to start and when you’re talking to juniors and people under 40, youth can be your friend, but listening to their ideas doesn’t mean shrugging off the lessons you learned before they were born.
It does mean compromising if you want to make it work, but asking the question earns the respect that may make them see that what you bring to the table is of value to them, as well.
Many of the lessons learned decades ago still apply, but some need to be adjusted and some don’t fit in today’s society. That last one is inevitable, whether we like it or not.
The main thing is that what you bring to the table in experience got us to the point where we are now. What the newer people need to show is how their ideas will take the business into the future successfully.
Either way, there is no absolute truth.