Fore!

A golf ball.

Since I can’t really play golf (the greens are closed, it’s not the temperature stopping me!) I figure I’d write about it. It’s in the news this morning with a court decision that actually makes an excellent business point as well.   While you might have seen the news story, I’m not so sure you thought about it in those terms.  That’s why I’m here!

The facts of the court case are pretty straightforward:

Drs. Anoop Kapoor and Azad Anand were playing a 9-hole Long Island course when Anand was struck in the head, blinding him in one eye. The court declared Kapoor was not negligent in failing to yell “Fore!” or otherwise warn Anand before the ball struck him.

And why was he not negligent?

“A person who chooses to participate in a sport or recreational activity consents to certain risks” that are inherent to that activity, the judges wrote. “However, a plaintiff ‘will not be deemed to have assumed the risks of reckless or intentional conduct or concealed or unreasonably increased risks.'”

So it is with business.  You can’t expect someone to shout a warning when something is heading your way that could have dire consequences.  You need to pay attention – business, like golf, has inherent risks.

In hockey (I know – I’m all over the sports map today) you get criticized for skating with your head down.  While you’re looking at the puck you’re not seeing the defenders coming at you nor teammates skating in open space.  In business, building business intelligence is the equivalent of keeping your head up.

I play golf with the same folks most of the time.  I know how they play and generally I’m comfortable standing in front of them off to the side while they hit.  Even so, I watch.   I used to manage my teams the same way.  I knew my people, how they performed, and I had a high level of trust.   But I watched just in case because no one is out there yelling “fore”.

How are you watching?

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