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Monday, April 3, 2017

Learning From How The Masters Manage Tradition and Change

It’s April and if you’re a golfer, it’s Masters Week!

I’ve never been to Augusta National or the Masters, but my friends who have describe a tradition and event unlike any other. The azaleas in bloom, the birds singing, the verdant green of the fairways, the Southern charm, pimento cheese sandwiches that cost $1.50 and beer that costs $3.00 (our local high-school events charge at least triple these prices!), the manual scoreboard, prohibition of electric vacuum cleaners (too noisy)—it all adds up to the mystique of an historic golf course and event.

But as much as people may think there is a timelessness to the Masters, apparently no major golf tournament has changed as much in the last couple decades. The golf course that Tiger Woods tamed in 1997 has dramatically changed. The length of the course has increased (by over 450 yards - the equivalent of adding another par 4 hole to the course) and the fairways are much narrower. The greens are now almost twice as fast, as measured by a device called a Stimpmeter (7.9 vs 13.5 - like putting on a marble floor!)

What’s even more interesting is just how much new technology and reliance on information is employed by Augusta National. There is a state-of-the-art irrigation system that feeds data to a custom-made, on-site weather station. The greens are regulated by unique subterranean cooling. There are miles of high-definition fiber optic cables underneath the fairways. Lasers are set up on each fairway and greens can track the position of a player’s ball; this data lets viewers see on an aerial map what’s going on.  To improve the TV viewer’s digital experience, the Masters’ website uses multiple data centers and even employs predictive analytics.

This interesting mix of tradition and change is something many of you have told us you struggle with.  Your organizations want certain levels of traditions maintained and want to use the same budget processes every year.  But yet, there is also the need to keep up with the challenges of the times and to employ the most effective resources available.   Every capital budget cycle brings new challenges – new technology to be evaluated, new pricing to be negotiated, interoperability and software requirements that need clarification.

As you think about how to deal with this, let us know how we can help you.  We have always worked with clients to balance the need for maintaining traditions while also using new information, new techniques, and new approaches to accommodate the need to change.  For example, one of our clients identifies a couple of departments every year where he provides new information that can help them with their decision-making, often resulting in savings for their departments. Needless to say, he continues to deepen his relationships with his internal clients every year.

Like the stewards of the Masters, there is a way to balance Tradition and Change in such a fashion that continues to deliver outstanding results!

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