Emerging Tech

Poll: IT managers and IT executives, do you play golf?

One of the most prevalent stereotypes about executives and managers is that they spend their time playing golf while their teams toil away doing the real work. Do IT leaders play golf, too? If you are an IT manager or IT executive, take this poll to tell us whether you are a golfer.

One of the most prevalent stereotypes about executives and managers is that they spend their time playing golf while their teams toil away doing the real work. Lots of executives do play golf and many of them use it as a creative way to conduct meetings with partners and clients. However, I'm wondering how much the stereotype extends to IT managers and executives. I'd like to know how many of the IT executives and IT managers in the TechRepublic audience play golf.

Do you think doing a meeting with a client or a partner over a game of golf is a legitimate way of doing business? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

28 comments
egarnerit
egarnerit

Who has time to golf or anything else along those lines? And who fishes?

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

yes I play golf. Been playing with friends from work for years. We play at one of those cheaper city golf courses that doesn't require T times, first come first serve. I can see the point of a friendly game allowing managers, clients, execs, etc to become more relaxed with each other but have never worked nor seen such a person. As far as that goes you could go hiking or fishing for the same effect couldn't you?

rmikediamond.it
rmikediamond.it

It might be stereotypical and sexist for IT Mgrs to play golf (assuming they are men), whatever! The main point of the exercise is bonding, building a relationship on neutral ground (ever lost on purpose?). Sure, the conversation may include the wife, the family, the kids, the latest car AND the business issues at hand. There is so much talk about "IT Alignment and Business" - based on a good relationship where all parties understand each others strengths, weaknesses, motivations and constraints ...... we become a team. And just to make it clear, I work for a firm where the ladies who aren't interested in golf (some are taking lessons), arrange various outings and invitations to "Women in Business" events where extraordinary women have accomplished extraordinary things. Yes, they will talk about the 'men'!, the kids, the sales, books, movies and a host of other things. Solid business relationships have been built by both sexes based on 'knowing your customer'. So ..... what's wrong with Golf?

Jaqui
Jaqui

I've never had any interest in beating a little ball with a big club. beating someONE, well that's different, and anything to enhance the impact is viable. ]:)

jdclyde
jdclyde

But I don't see anything wrong with this. Our sales and marketing people take customers out for rounds of golf all the time. It not only gives you face time with the customer, you are able to build a relationship with them. If they know you on a more personal level, they will know better to be able to trust you when it comes down between going with you or a rival that they don't know. Your less likely to be a sexual harassment suit from some cryass doing golf than doing to the nudie joints.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Depends on the company. Civil service, no golf. Current employer, tourney every year for staff (prizes from customers), and occasional other rounds. But most of my playing is with friends. James

chriss
chriss

I personally think golf is a waste of perfectly good park space. Of the places I have lived Vegas was of course the worst. They have water use issues but allow anyone to build a golf course which drives up overall water prices for the city and only allow members on the course to enjoy the scenery which exceeds the quality of any parks available. When golf is mentioned I will decline but offer alternatives since the reason is valid but can be done in other venues.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"So ..... what's wrong with Golf?" Well, it's expensive as hell. From a business point of view, what are you accomplishing that can't be done at the bowling alley, in the A/C, rain or shine, without waiting on the foursome in front of you, where you can hoot and holler instead of whispering, and the snacks and beer are mere feet away? Golf is my idea of frustrating. Bad enough having to spend personal time on business issues, but repeating the same motion over and over is why we manufacture robots.

Cold Shot
Cold Shot

I took up golf for reasons other than just bonding/meeting with vendors. As a former "keyboard jockey" in a large enterprise, I was never really getting out in the world or exercising. My team spent almost every weekend in the data center working on deployments and maintenance for a 30,000 seat environment. I decided to start playing as my form of Zen. It forced me to get outside, focus on something other than work, get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful surroundings that exemplify most courses. It?s a healthy endeavor. It?s a very tough game that teaches everyone who takes it seriously about patience, strategy, discipline and ? yes ? honor. When I am about to execute a $1M or more deal with a vendor, I want to know my reps REALLY well. Playing a 4-hour round of golf with anyone will lead them to open up and let their guard down. I can then judge them more completely and feel more comfortable with my decision to do business with that person or not. As a IT director in later years, I have found that golf is a better way (than meetings) of finding out what is important to other directors in the company, and how my team might be able to help them. It?s the social aspects of this particular sport ? combined with a low physical barrier to entry - that has led to the enduring persona of the game as a business tool. Don?t? knock it till you try it.

paul.arrowood
paul.arrowood

I do it more to network, keep in touch, connect face to face (vs email and phone). So while I'm not necessarily closing business or making decisions, I find myself influencing, massaging, reminding. It's a great way for me to also suggest things in an informal way.

maecuff
maecuff

So, standing out in the cold and hitting a little ball and then chasing it, or standing out in the heat and hitting a little ball and then chasing it... No. Riding in the cart and drinking beer, sure, that sounds nice. But then other golfers expect you to be quiet. And there's always the chance that one of their balls could bonk you on the head. So, being quiet with the threat of getting hit with a little hard ball doesn't sound like fun either. I guess, since I'm not in management anymore, this doesn't really apply to me. But I didn't play then, either.

djmorrissey
djmorrissey

A good round with some talking done often gets more done then four or five meetings, and you generally feel more relaxed when you're done. The downfall is - it is easy to not get the talking done.

royhayward
royhayward

Oh. You mean out side? Dude, there are like bugs and stuff out there!

Ron Larson
Ron Larson

Yes I play golf, you can learn alot about someone in this game, Does he (she) play fair? are they able to handle a bad situation without blowing up, can they come up with innovative ideas when confronted with problems. It's not just a game it's a way of life. It tells a lot about a person. Many times i have played with a person-persons who was talkng one way and acting in a completely different way during a game.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I think it's because people can golf year round. If you can stand the heat.

rmikediamond.it
rmikediamond.it

Palmetto and LocoLobo - thanks for the replies. My point has been "the value of the exercise to business" not necessarily what the exercise is. I for one, "suck" at Golf. My first game - 268 .... for 18 holes (not counting fresh shots!). I can see that an exercise that allows people of different fitness levels and abilities to leisurely stroll around a 5 mile course, and TALK isn't an unreasonable exercise. 10 pin bowling would be good to. I'd personally prefer to snow ski, the only talking done there is on the lift or in the queue (or in the ambulance because my business partner has broken his leg trying to snow plough on the kiddies slope. So all the sports / activities that are along individuals on skis, boards etc are all jolly but may be defeating the purpose of getting together. Walking and talking - that's the key. Try talking to your husband / wife for an hour while sitting at the table at home or windsurfing. Now, go for a walk along the beach for an hour and talk - which of the two exercises is going to yield a better result in communication and understanding? The results of the activity are much more important then the activity itself, golf is just seen as the traditional activity as you don't need to be Arnie to swing a club, Sebastian Coe to walk around a course and at the end of it you can if you wish, sink a few at the 19th.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Think of this as the walking that Tig is doing, WHILE you get to beat the hell out of something. bonus! they even bring the drinks out to you on the course! As for hot/cold, I like to play the courses that are heavily wooded. Keeps you from roasting out in the hot sun and makes for a nice day out. Did I mention they bring drinks out to you?

Bizzo
Bizzo

... that doesn't mean that having meetings whilst playing golf is more productive, it just means that most management and executive types have far too many unproductive meetings where they're thinking of golf rather than about the task in hand.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Yeah, I was talking about golf the old fashion way. But if you're going to play on the Wii, go for Tiger Woods 2008. It's so much better than the golf game included on Wii Sports! ;-)

kenbergins
kenbergins

online golf at worldgolftour.com its free and fun and just out. And all the higher ups will be there too.

royhayward
royhayward

you get to shoot your boss/employees. So you get to learn about others and how they handle situations, problems, etc. With the bonus of aggression therapy.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

Poolside shovel beating (with Mai Tai)... that sounds like a fun game Mae. :D

maecuff
maecuff

However, I'd rather lay in a chair by a pool while scantily clad men bring me drinks. And fan me if I get overheated. I don't even have to go to a sporting goods store for that. And I always have my shovel if I feel like hitting something (someone).

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

It's about building trust with colleagues and potential business partners.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Generally, most meetings have some measureable outcome. Most business golf games are about something else. Bonding. Seeing your co-workers, clients, salespeople, whatever in a non threatening social environment. Getting to know them outside of the offic, outside of a requiement to make a decision. Trust me, when you do this, whether its golf, or going for dinner or whatever, it often makes the work stuff goes more smoothly. James

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