It Takes A Plan to Take Care of Business

This August I had the opportunity to attend the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa. Southern Hills has the reputation of a good but very difficult course due to the narrow fairways, dense trees and precariously tilted greens.

I love to attend the practice rounds, and it was there that I realized that each pro and caddy are essentially business units– two people working on a common business plan.

It was interesting to see how each team approached its goals. Some pros spent a lot of time on the fairways while most focused on the short game. Some caddies would take notes for the pro -- I noticed one was taking digital snapshots of every approach to the greens.

Without bias, there was no doubt that among the players Tiger Woods was one of the most intense. He spent much of his practice time around the green, throwing as many as five balls into each sand trap, taking multiple chip shots and especially putting all around the green.

I noticed he had a small paper notebook in which he made notes and diagrams.

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This August I had the opportunity to attend the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa. Southern Hills has the reputation of a good but very difficult course due to the narrow fairways, dense trees and precariously tilted greens.

I love to attend the practice rounds, and it was there that I realized that each pro and caddy are essentially business units– two people working on a common business plan.

It was interesting to see how each team approached its goals. Some pros spent a lot of time on the fairways while most focused on the short game. Some caddies would take notes for the pro -- I noticed one was taking digital snapshots of every approach to the greens.

Without bias, there was no doubt that among the players Tiger Woods was one of the most intense. He spent much of his practice time around the green, throwing as many as five balls into each sand trap, taking multiple chip shots and especially putting all around the green.

I noticed he had a small paper notebook in which he made notes and diagrams.

Other business units seemed to have other goals during the practice rounds. Phil Mickelson was making some kind of instructional video, and on the last practice day, instead of practicing, John Daly went and gambled at the local casino.


The teams reminded me a lot of AAPG -- especially in their diversity and complexity.

AAPG has numerous committees, divisions and subsidiaries that all share the same overarching goal, but each is approaching their goals in a different manner.

These entities are typically composed of member and staff teams.

Jim Blankenship, AAPG’s geoscience director, came to work for AAPG a couple of years ago. Jim recently had retired as a ConocoPhillips manager, and I remember he said after his first few months that “AAPG was one of the most complicated organizations” that he had ever worked for.

Thinking back over my professional career I realized he was right. We have a lot of small teams working to build AAPG into an every greater organization.

Recently we had a meeting of the Division leadership – Division of Professional Affairs, Division of Environmental Geology and the Energy Minerals Division.

I was impressed with their intensity to develop products and services to define the Division and serve their membership. This is true of most of the volunteers working on AAPG programs.

Like the golfers -- and especially Tiger Woods -- it requires tremendous focus from both members and staff to keep on task and reach goals. In the 104-degree (Fahrenheit) heat of Southern Hills, Tiger focused on winning, Mickelson may have been focusing more on this training video and certainly Daly was focusing on something else -- I am not sure what, perhaps image.


We are now focusing on a new business plan, which recently has been approved by the AAPG Executive Committee. It is the first time all entities of AAPG have been asked to prepare a basic business plan with goals, metrics and actions items.

Of course, a requirement of managing AAPG’s varied programs is to focus on the most important. I am pleased to say that as part of our corporate planning we have mechanisms to evaluate all of AAPG’s programs and decide what has priority and those that should be divested or eliminated.

I also am pleased to say that there is no shortage of ideas for new programs for AAPG and all are open to consideration.

This year AAPG is placing our emphasis on:

  • Student programs.
  • Fundraising to support programs.
  • Educatio n and training for our membership.

These fit into AAPG’s overarching long-range focus on membership and globalization.

Like the golfers, AAPG’s member and staff teams are working hard and look forward to reaching our goals.

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