Disclaimer: this is the personal blog of Alexa L. Barnett and does not reflect any position of her employer.
This is one of three big lessons I learned this year.
The Full Story
Per the Harvard Business Review: women don’t apply for a job unless they feel 100% qualified, but men apply at 60%. Buck that trend.
In September we hosted the first annual CRE615 “Not Your Boss's Golf tournament” for 88 players. I had never attended a golf tournament, in fact, I’d never picked up a club. I didn’t know what “Par” meant and I thought Mulligans were a cocktail when we started planning the tournament.
By definition I was not qualified, but members made it clear they wanted this. So I assembled a qualified committee who knew how to put a tournament together, and they let me focus on what I’m best at, making people feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation, because.....hello, I was not our customer.
I have been invited to, and declined, dozens of invitations to play in my career. All the invites were to play for free. I had no idea that was a big deal, or how expensive a round of golf was, but if I wasn’t down to play for free, how was I going to get other non-golfers to attend? I had to dismantle the barriers to entry for novice and first time players and here's what I meant by that.
I wanted first timers to play.
So I made the tournament a costume contest, and the grand prize didn't go to the best players, it went to the best themed foursome. Players went all out on their costumes!
I wanted women to play.
Half our members are female, but 71.6% of golfers are male. So we partnered with Back9 Bosses to provide golf classes to any women who wanted to learn the basics. If you're reading this, I strongly encourage you to attend their next event.
I wanted people to focus on networking and having fun.
So I made the best score prize (turns out that’s the lowest score?! Who knew.) the same as the most mediocre score (dead middle), longest drive, and closest to the pin.
I wanted people to come back.
So I made a very special trophy, The Mrs. Sprinklers, (a pink stuffed poodle in a pink purse with lots of intro to golf goodies) for the most enthusiastic novice. It went to whomever had the most fun on the course. In winning the prized pooch, the recipient was committing to bringing three new players to the second annual tournament, and taking great care of Mrs. Sprinklers until they got to crown the next winner and pass the pooch.
It turns out, I did not have to know how to play golf to host a golf tournament. I had to know how to make people feel comfortable trying something new that they would likely stink at in front of colleagues.
Apply for the job you aren’t qualified for. Start the side hustle you don’t know how to manage. Try the new hobby that sounds fun.
Surround yourself with people as crazy and as passionate as you are. They'll carry the weight you can't.
Barriers to entry are very real in networking and in life. If you want to dismantle them you have to understand them.
Learn how to hit a golf ball if you haven't already.
Click HERE to checkout all the photos taken by Morgan Visual Productions!