“Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of my most intriguing and successful clients once told me the two best methods to learn about a person’s character is to play a round of golf with them and then take them to a fine restaurant for dinner.
He said he could learn all he needed to know within those few hours.
Intrigued, I wanted to know more about this specific process of “uncovering” the real character of a client or potential partner. This is because so few people are who (or what) they appear to be at first glance. So here is what my client shared with me.
Golf is a surprisingly hard game to master, despite the fact you are hitting a small ball that isn’t moving, aiming at a target that isn’t moving, and no one is trying to distract you as you “address” and hit the golf ball.
The only real distraction is your ability to concentrate; trying to eliminate as many variables as possible while maintaining a consistent swing. As frustration begins to set in, you will begin to see the “real” personality emerge.
My client pointed out that if people will cheat during golf, he assumes they will have no problem cheating in business or in their personal life. If they lose their temper playing a simple game, what are the odds they will also do the same if (and when) they encounter a frustrating situation within their business environment?
Watch how a person treats the waitstaff (and those close-by) while at a restaurant. Is the person courteous, friendly, easy-going, amiable … or … do they treat others with contempt or disdain?
After dinner drinks are especially important. My client said, “When a person has a few drinks, they tend to say or share things they would only “think” about saying when sober.”
To sum it up, my client says that one round of golf followed by a business dinner will tell him more about a potential employee than 40 hours of formal interviews and decoding fluffed-up resumes.
Plus, he gets to play golf at some amazing courses while amassing a few great stories along the way. (And, according to him, it is a tax-deductible business expense).
BTW – he shared this strategy with me after we played a round of leisurely golf and I treated him to dinner … followed by a few drinks!
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“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” – Warren Buffett