A most unusual Green Start Academy

By |  October 27, 2020 0 Comments

I love traveling for work. Years before I became an editor in the golf industry, depending on the month, I spent 50 to 75 percent of my time crisscrossing the country as a hospitality consultant.

These days, I’ve traded reporting on service at a hotel bar for reporting on bunkers, but the call of the road remains strong.

When I first heard about Green Start Academy, in my first week or two of work, it seemed like a fun event to cover and a great way to get to know the golf business. I’d have the chance to meet assistant superintendents from all over the U.S., and I’d be able to check out Green Start’s sponsors, John Deere and Bayer, up close.

Time passed, and the stars never aligned, but wouldn’t you know it, three years into my time at Golfdom, I finally got the chance to attend Green Start Academy … on my laptop, Zooming in from my home office/kitchen island on Wednesday afternoons.

Luckily, the sessions have offered great ideas on culture and career development well worth tuning into, even though I wasn’t there to absorb them in person.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far at week 1 and week 2 of the 2020 Green Start Academy.


(Screencap: Golfdom Staff)

You’re either young or you’re old

Author and expert on business growth and communication Jeff Havens kicked off the event with a keynote on leadership in a multigenerational culture.

Multigenerational conflict doesn’t really exist, he argues, because we don’t all fit perfectly in our generational boxes of baby boomer, Gen X, millennial and Gen Z. We don’t divide anything into fours or fives, he explains — we divide them into twos.

This means that if you’ve ever experienced generational differences at work, “You’re either a young person or an old person,” he said.

A key takeaway for young people is that advancement is a process; it is not a right, Havens said. He urged young people to ask older co-workers for strategies and advice on how they got to where they are.

“If you use your older colleagues as a resource, rather than an obstacle you need to get around. They’ll help your career go faster than if you had done everything yourself,” he said.

Havens also addressed engagement at work, since surveys show that people are satisfied but not engaged in their jobs.

Effective leadership has two equally important pieces, he explained. Good leadership has to do with people skills, the things that make people feel like they are valued members of your organization. Great leadership has to do with your vision and your mission, where you get people aligned with your goals.

“You need to have both of these things (people skills and vision) in order to have engagement at work,” he said.

Leadership qualities


Career expert Carol Rau. (Screencap: Golfdom Staff)

In week 2, career coach and author Carol Rau asked attendees to consider what their variant perception is, the qualities that would differentiate themselves from other candidates for the same job.

Leadership is a key differentiator for interviewers, and if you want to be considered a leader, use the word in your interview and on your resume, she said.

And, leadership shouldn’t stop at just your team.

“Elevate your leadership with your overall golf facility or organization, so it’s not just centered around your crew, because everyone does that,” Rau said. “How are you helping other departments?”

She also asked attendees to consider who is reading their resumes and to keep five words in mind:

“Golfers love golf, not turf,” she said. “The turf that you’re taking care of serves a bigger goal … your whole goal is to provide the best experience possible for your customer, the golfer.”

More to come from Green Start Academy

After these sessions, it’s hard to believe there are more great sessions to come. I’m looking forward to the presentation from Bellerive CC Director of Agronomy and Golfdom columnist Carlos Arraya, CGCS, where he’ll be talking about leading in multicultural organizations, and the return of Carol Rau, who’ll be talking about how superintendents can position themselves for success.

I’ll be here at home on my laptop, ready to take pages of notes, and looking forward to meeting everyone in North Carolina one day.

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