As many of you know, my wife Nancy began playing golf when she was 40 and she has become a low handicap golfer because she works harder on her game than anyone I know. She practices deliberately. If you want to get a better sense of what that means, watch Charlie Rose interview  A Conversation with Geoff Colvin.

 I play golf, but not very well. Where we play golf I am known simply as "Nancy’s husband." When we play in couples events everyone wants to team with Nancy until they learn they will also get me.

I know I could be a better golfer. I even know what I should do to become a better golfer. So, why am I not a better golfer? Here are a few reasons:

  • I enjoy playing, but I am not as passionate about playing golf as I am about coaching lawyers.
  • I have not answered the why becoming a better golfer is important to me.
  • I have never practiced very often so I have not grooved my swing.
  • When I do practice, it is not deliberate. There is no focus or plan. I just hit practice balls.
  • I do not work on my weaknesses (like, chipping and getting out of traps).
  • I don’t make time to play or practice often enough.
  • When I do play, my mind easily wonders.
  • When I don’t get immediate good results I tend to give up and just get through the round.
  • I infrequently get feedback from a golf professional. 

I hope you have figured out why I am writing about my golf game.  If you substitute client development for golf in each of the points, you will understand why many lawyers are not successfully developing business. Go ahead, cut the bullet point list above and paste it in a Word document. Then substitute the appropriate client development wording and see how many items on the list apply to you.

P.S. I shared with you all my golf shortcomings above because I am actually planning on working on my game this year. I hope to reduce my handicap by three strokes by deliberately practicing and getting feedback. After you finish watching the Geoff Colvin interview, make a list of things you can deliberately practice to become better at client development.