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Golf Tips to Improve Your School Employee Wellness Game

by Matthew Mitschke Alberta Health Services | March 24 2016 | 1 Comment

You’d be surprised at how similar school employee wellness initiatives are to golf. As a recreational golfer, I enjoy many aspects of the sport—the fresh air, time with friends and the exercise and sunshine. I also know that golf is strategic, challenging and certainly frustrating. Like golf, promoting school employee wellness is enjoyable but also requires a well–planned strategy. It’s also possible that you’ll encounter frustrations, challenges and hazards along the way. The results of a school employee wellness initiative could be anywhere between “the perfect shot” to “a complete whiff,” and ultimately you do not know where the ball is going to land until you follow-through and reflect on your actions. Only then can you make adjustments in preparation for the next time you strike the ball.

Whether you’re a pro golfer or mini golf is more your speed, these four simple tips are sure to help you improve your school employee wellness game.

 

Step 1 – Prepare

School employee wellness champions need to be prepared. While golfers need information such as par for the course, weather conditions and pin position, wellness champions need data on staff interests and concerns, the social and physical environment and overall staff culture. Like golfers, wellness champions also need the right equipment to succeed. In the case of school employee wellness, a dedicated team is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Take a minute to think of the people who can play different roles. Who are the “drivers” (people who get things moving far and fast), “wedges” (precision people), “tees” (the people providing support) and “scorecards” (people who track information)? Don’t forget the “golf balls” (these are the school employees that you want to have an impact on). Now that you have your equipment, it’s time to prepare for your shot.

 

Step 2 – Vision, Assess and Plan

Before swinging at the ball, golfers will step back and look at the big picture, envisioning their safest play while assessing hazards and obstacles that stand in the way. Keeping your wellness targets in mind, think about the sand-traps you risk getting stuck in, the water hazards that might pull you under and where you’ll find the out-of-bounds markers. In other words, how might personal, environmental, economic, political and other factors influence your intended outcome? Make adjustments accordingly and finalize your plan of attack. With this little bit of planning, you should now be confident in executing your plan while avoiding potential roadblocks. Just like making a shot in golf, school employee wellness will be more successful when you take time to plan it out, so don’t just “grip it and rip it.” Now it’s time to approach the ball and execute your shot.

 

Step 3 – Execute the Shot and Follow Through

Now that have prepared, envisioned, assessed and planned as much as possible, it’s time to put your plan into action. In golf, you would approach the ball, set up your stance and focus on the plan. As you wind up to launch your school employee wellness initiative, you will want to stick to the plan. All you can do now is hold on tight and execute the plan with your vision in mind. Even if you risk hitting a hazard, there will always be opportunities to learn from your mistakes, drop new balls and keep on playing. Whether executing the perfect golf shot, or a perfect employee wellness plan, it is important to follow-through to get the best result.

 

Step 4 – Monitor, Evaluate and Celebrate

As your school employee wellness plan takes flight, spend a moment monitoring and reflecting on the results of your actions. Gather data about the journey, evaluate what worked and what went wrong. How do you know that you got it right? In golf, you can tell by the accuracy of your shot, or that it just “feels right.” It is much the same with school employee wellness. Ask yourself, “How close did the initiative get to the intended outcome? What new information was uncovered along the way? What would I do differently in the future? What are other employees saying?” Once you are satisfied, don’t forget to celebrate all that you have accomplished. You have worked hard and deserve recognition (cue fist pump).

Now that you know a little more about the art of school employee wellness golf, I hope you feel confident, comfortable and empowered to tackle the challenge and get in the game.

Matthew Mitschke

One of Alberta Health Services’ superstar health promotion coordinators, Matt works tirelessly with school jurisdictions in Edmonton to support them in their comprehensive school health journeys. A superhero with a fear of flying (what the?), Matt makes up for this in spades with his sense of adventure and the miracle that is his hair.

Jennifer C. ASEBP | March 24 2016 3:46 PM

As a fellow golfer, I love the link to golf, Matthew!  It is so true how applicable workplace wellness initiaitves are to this sport.  I started thinking of a scramble golf game we had last fall.  Everyone has the same goal in mind - having fun and being successful.  I think of the enjoyment of the planning, the oppoortunity of working with others on a team, the commitment to supporting each other, and the joy of a successful outcome.  Golf and workplace wellness.  Brilliant.  Be the ball...