Something happened this past weekend that I’m not sure I’ve seen before.

Professional golfer Jordan Spieth disqualified himself from the Genesis Invitational for signing an incorrect scorecard after the 2nd round of play on Friday.

It’s not uncommon for players to penalize themselves for rules infractions, most of the time accidental. But the disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard doesn’t happen. The most famous dates back to the 1968 Masters when Roberto DiVicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard and actually lost the tournament.

Unlike over 50 years ago, today there are throngs of people keeping track of a golfers score – you have volunteer scorekeepers walking with groups, you have your playing partner, you even have television crews. In the end, it’s the individual golfer’s responsibility to keep their own score correctly.

To his credit, Spieth owned the mistake. He made no excuses or blamed anyone else. The mistake likely cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars, as he was in 2nd place at the time. For all we know, he may have won the tournament. The gaffe also cost his caddie, who earns money based on how well his player finishes.

So what’s this have to do with us in our businesses and lives?

We are all ultimately responsible for our own actions and behaviors. We have to own them. It’s certainly fun to receive the accolades when things go well, but much tougher to stomach when things don’t, especially if it’s due to our own mistakes.

Leadership ultimately is about relationships. Relationships are built on trust. If employees don’t trust the leadership or management of the company, morale suffers. If business partners don’t trust each other, it trickles down the line of the organization. If clients don’t fully trust their “trusted partners” to have their best interest at heart, problems won’t be solved. If spouses don’t trust each other, or children don’t trust parents, family dynamics suffer.

In all levels of golf, from junior tournaments through the professional ranks, technology hasn’t changed the fact that we all must keep our own scorecard and at the end, sign our name that it’s correct. All the other players in the field trust that this happens.

One of the best ways to earn trust with others is to genuinely admit mistakes; to take responsibility for actions and behaviors.

One additional note: On social media, Jordan Spieth congratulated the eventual winner for his great play on Sunday. He eded with, “Just make sure to double check that scorecard…” along with a fun emoji. Jordan Spieth didn’t wallow in his mistake. He took responsibility, moved on, and even made fun of himself.

That’s a great playing lesson for all of us.

Keep Chasing Unleashed.

Quote of the Week:

“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and let him know that you trust him.” 

~ Booker T. Washington

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