Corporate lessons from Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods In India - Corporate lessons from Tiger Woods


Published first in the DNA Newspaper

Feb 4, 2014. Tiger Woods, the world’s most successful golfer is in India for his maiden visit. Corporate honchos such as Dev Bhattacharya, the executive president at the Aditya Birla group, know it’s going to be big deal, even though the visit is a private one. In the past, Bhattacharya had literally packed his bags overnight, taken leave from his office and flew off to California. An opportunity to spend a day-and-a-half with Tiger was a chance of a lifetime.


Besides discussing direction and drives, he came back with a lesson in winning. For, victory is reserved for those who know their goals. Everything that matters is the game in the last few holes.


“He said the difference between constant winners and occasional winners is that you have to be able to distance yourself and objectively look at your game. He said to me, ‘imagine Tiger Woods watching Tiger putt. You need to distance yourself from yourself. That’s when you see your shots correctly’,” Bhattacharya recalls.


If CEOs are able to pluck themselves out of their suits, think as detached observers and drive their firm forward, the results could be far more rewarding, he said.


Bhattacharya noticed Tiger had the ability to grip your attention with his personality and with his focus. Just like how concentration and a target-oriented approach always help a business.


“The thing about Tiger is he can see a treetop and know the amount of breeze there may be at the green. He has that one-ness with the course.”


Another valuable lesson from Tiger is that no matter who you are or how good you are, you can always get better. How many times has the world No.1 taken or tweaked his training plans? New coaches, new mentors and even a caddie… all in a bid to stay on top of his game. How long can a trailblazing CEO go before he burns out? Why should a business not benefit from new ideas? Sooner one lets go and connects with people, that can help you compress time and improve results.


During his forthcoming trip, Woods will engage with corporate honchos for a game at the Delhi Golf Club, thanks to Pawan Munjal (inset) of the Hero Group who is bringing him here on a private visit.


Munjal and Woods met on a few occasions at the Augusta Masters, a tournament Munjal tries not to miss every April in Georgia in the US. Woods has been pally with industrialists and it’s not just about the money.


His personality and ability to engage in meaningful conversations about the world economy, banking and marketing has made him more than a golf star.


Mid-2013, Woods played a round with Deutsche Bank CEO Anshu Jain. This time in India, he will be playing with special friends and clients of Munjal.


Manisha Girotra, former UBS banker now running Moelis in India, credits her familiarity with Pebble Beach in Monterey Bay to a game she played with Tiger Woods. “The good part of these pro-ams is that your pro doesn’t ever let you feel inferior about your golf. Tiger was helpful and gave me plenty of advice on the posture and swing when I played with him on an outing during my UBS days.”


SRF’s Ashish Bharatram bumped into the golf great during one of his golf travels. “He looked completely different, very normal, in his non-golfing attire. His personality was so different without his ‘game’ face on.”


Even if you are not a golf fan, chances are you know who Tiger Woods is. While the business world can learn a lot from Woods’s wins and professional prowess, everyone can learn from his scandal-ridden life and his re-emergence as world’s top golfer as well.

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