Golf Course Management

NOV 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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50 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 11.18 public to make decisions based on science and reason. Well, that is our first mistake. ere is nothing wrong with numbers. In fact, it is extremely important to lead with good eth - ics and transparency by showing the real evidence. But as explained by the influencer Adam Grant, if we want to change deeply rooted beliefs, we have to gain the public's heart first. Some might think this is futile, but by establishing a rapport with the pub - lic, we show that we are all on the same side, that we all care about the same things and, more importantly, that we share the same values. Negotiating new responsibilities But how do we do this? Whom do we turn to for advice, especially these days when the media are plagued with negative messages about sensitive issues like pesticide safety? e answer might sound a bit out of the box, but it might be helpful to look for answers from experts who deal with com - munication issues similar to ours every day: hostage negotiators and customer service pros. After all, we must persuade an emo - tional and sometimes irrational and angry public that products like pesticides and fertilizers are safe, and they don't pose any threat to their families. Good examples and thorough sources Most superintendents have good relationships with the golfers who play their courses regularly. But when the subject turns to complex or controversial topics — with those golfers or the general public — active listening can be a key tool in making those interactions positive ones. After all, we must persuade an emotional and sometimes irrational and angry public that products like pesticides and fertilizers are safe, and they don't pose any threat to their families. of strategies can be found in two books: "Never Split the Difference," by Chris Voss, a former New York City hostage negotia - tor; and "Hug Your Haters," by Jay Baer, an expert in customer service and marketing. Some of the most relevant advice is: • Practice active listening. • Let them say no. • Practice intellectual charity. • Answer to criticism with class. Active listening means listening to un - derstand and not to debate. is is ex- tremely important, because when someone feels heard, they feel cared for and more at ease, making them more open to accepting what you have to say. Voss admits the second strategy might look like a contradiction but explains that the word "no" is actually an icebreaker and the start to a good conversation process be - cause "it provides a temporary oasis of con- trol." According to Voss, this strategy works because all humans need autonomy and need to feel empowered and in control. Pre - serving your counterparts' autonomy calms their emotions and opens them up to hear your proposal. e practice of intellectual charity — also known as "stepping into other people's shoes" — implies approaching their argu - ments carefully and conscientiously, thus making the other party feel valued and,

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