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How to Hire the Ultimate Team Building Consultant

July 16, 2014 • Uncategorized

Phil Mickelson, like other pro golfers, has one person at his side to help him compete in tournaments like the British Open this week: his caddie. It’s a key decision. The caddie is a close consultant who, if the job is done right, makes Team Phil better equipped and more confident in this individual sport. A great caddie, and team building consultant, is a tactician, coach, cheerleader and psychologist all at once. Phil’s caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, is what I like to call the Ultimate Team Building Consultant.

Here’s why. (This checklist can help you determine who will help build your most successful team).

1. He or she knows the pro(fession) from the ground up.

Mackay has carried Mickelson’s bag since 1992, one of the longest caddie relationships in pro golf. That’s 22 years of working side by side, half of Mickelson’s lifetime. He started playing golf as a kid, competed in college and then got into caddie work for Larry Mize, Scott Simpson and Curtis Strange. Those veteran pros trained Mackay well before he hooked up with Mickelson, who was a rookie at the time. Likewise, a team building consultant should know your work from the inside out. He or she is prepared and equipped to help you meet the challenges of your industry. The ultimate team building consultant makes the most of your team’s strengths, and creates a synergy that fits your style. Mackay’s familiarity and expertise with Mickelson draw admiration even from opponents. “Phil and Bones are the best player/caddie partnership in golf,” Luke Donald tweeted after Mickelson won the British Open last year. “It’s hard to last as long as they have together yet they have done it with ease.”

2. The ultimate team building consultant knows that less is more.

The margins at the top of any industry can be miniscule. In pro golf, a single shot can make the difference between first place and everyone else. In one shot, momentum can shift, and a bad break or mistake can easily lead to another. In this space, a caddie above all listens and observes; it’s a “speak when spoken to” occupation, where every word counts. A great caddie’s body language telegraphs calm and balance and confidence to his player no matter what the circumstance. Likewise, a team building consultant can sort through a wide range of challenges on the fly while under pressure, and knows how to give feedback—and when to give it at all.

One of the most essential elements of Mackay’s role in last year’s British Open, according to the New York Times, was giving Mickelson a scoring target. Going into the final round, Mickelson was five shots behind the leader, and Mackay estimated that an even par total would win. “I’m going to be better than that,” Mickelson replied. A final-round 66 gave him his fifth major championship. Mackay demonstrates how a great team building consultant doesn’t flood you with conversation and charts, but provides the right expertise at the right time. A strong level of confidence leads to an expectation of top performance. Mickelson “did seem to be really at peace today and very confident with what was going on,” Mackay told the BBC after last year’s Open win. “To go from where he was to the top of the leader board he had to be very calm.”

3. A great team building consultant never loses focus.

Mickelson is confident in himself because Mackay has him covered, literally. He is prepared with all the yardages and correct clubs. He knows the Rules of Golf inside and out, so Mickelson is protected from thoughtless penalties. Mackay keeps the equipment dry and clean no matter what the weather. A great caddie anticipates potential trouble spots while keeping up the player’s confidence. Caddies are so good at these basics that when they fail, it’s news. A caddie is supposed to know where the ball is at all times, so the player doesn’t have to worry.

At the U.S. Open, Hunter Mahan was battling to stay in the tournament, and his caddie led him to a ball in the fairway that turned out to be the wrong one. When Mahan hit it, he incurred a two-shot penalty, and ended up missing the cut by one shot. (When interviewed, Mahan’s caddie owned his mistake, which is part of regaining focus.) The attention to detail leads to greater connection and appreciation in the client-consultant relationship. When Mickelson accepted the British Open Claret Jug last year, he thanked “my main man Bones.” “Bones is the only guy on the golf course that wants me to play well, so why am I going to sit there and berate him and treat him poorly?” he was quoted in the New York Times. “He’s the only guy trying to work his tail off for me.”

Your Game Changer Takeaway

As demonstrated by a great professional golf caddie like Jim Mackay, an ace team building consultant maximizing strengths in a way that is unobtrusive and thoughtful. He or she shares expertise that is well-timed and deeply authoritative. The client’s needs always come first, and that creates and expectation and tradition of success.

Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.