Whether you like golf or not, or watch a lot of television or not, you have probably seen something of the Ryder Cup over the course of the last weekend and Monday. What an amazing event.
Golfers are paid handsomely for their day job if they are in the top level, and all of the Ryder Cup team players fall into that category. If they win a tournament, they might win several hundred thousand pounds. Nice work. So why is the Ryder Cup important to them? They are not paid to compete in the Ryder Cup. It is the last event of the season, so they are probably tired after all of the tournaments and all of the travel across many countries, yet they all turn out for the event and fight to be invited to take part in it. Why?
This was best summed up by Graeme McDowell who won the final match to ensure that Europe beat the Americans. Earlier this year he won the US Open, one of the biggest events for golfers, like one of the Grand Slams in tennis, or winning the World Cup in football, so he knows what it is like to win a big event. Yet he said walking down the final hole to win the Open was like playing nine holes with his dad around his local course compared to walking down the final fairway of the Ryder Cup. Why is it so important? Yes clearly they feel that it is a privilege to represent their country, but I don’t think it is just that.
You see golf is a very individual sport. Apart from your caddy, you play on your own and win or lose on your own. The whole year you travel on your own, often away from your family. So I think it is the “Team” element of the Ryder Cup that makes it so very special. Every one of the team for Europe was hysterically happy when they won. They were cheering each other on, giving each other help and advice and doing all they could to get the crowd cheering and supporting them. It was the team that won the Ryder Cup, not one individual. The team got together and pulled points for Europe out of the bag when it seemed none were there and the game was slipping away. The team cheered each other on and supported each other, and the team won the Ryder Cup.
Law firms that want to survive and thrive into the future need Teams winning the new business, not just one business development manager on one partner. They need EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE TEAM working like billy-o towards a common shared goal. They need teams of fee earners cross selling services, not just one committed partner.
Are your team in the Ryder Cup league or the “WIIFM” league (What’s In It For Me)? If it is the latter, train them. If they won’t or can’t be trained, change them. It is not your fee earners that constantly refuse to help promote your practice that will be worrying about paying the overdraft or paying their salaries if you struggle in the future. They will go and sabotage someone else’s business. Make sure you have a Ryder Cup team in your practice and your firm will have a bright future.
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