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Negotiating, regardless of who you are, can be intimidating.

Knowing when to ask or for what to ask for is difficult, whether you are a successful golf course superintendent or a long-time club employee. If you are a dedicated, talented and trustworthy staff member who values your skills and job, requesting a raise may cause you to teeter on a fine line of standing firm on your abilities and accomplishments or facing the potential risk of changing jobs.

Why aren’t you asking for more money more often? Shying away from going to the boss and asking for a raise occurs for several reasons:

  • Appearing to be too bold
  • Taking a risk
  • Uprooting a secure situation in a delicate job market
  • Undervaluing your contributions to the staff and operations or worse, NOT valuing YOUR contributions to the operation

We all know that golf course maintenance begins with planning and then execution. So, let’s apply these principles to your negotiating tactics.

Start with a clean story. Ignore past salary or wage numbers. Often, previous hourly wages or a starting salary did not match the level of competency or services provided. What you started with should not be an indicator of what would be a fair wage or salary now. You have more experience and a better understanding of the operations than when you started.

Be prepared. Off-the-cuff conversations or spontaneity when asking for more money rarely prove successful. Always be prepared to accurately support yourself and your credentials. Much like proper golf course product applications, set a discussion date far enough in advance to allow time to prepare.

Take control of yourself. This is creating your “I” statement so you can exude confidence in your abilities, knowledge, and accomplishments on the golf course and within your career. If you were responsible for the successful completion of a project, take ownership. Don’t downplay your abilities. The “I” statement applies throughout the phases of your career — whether asking for a raise or interviewing for your next job. Get used to talking about yourself and taking ownership in YOU!

Visualize a positive outcome. Seems obvious but … when the time comes, your preparation will provide positive energy and results. What you think about the results matters. If you are doubtful, then guess what? Create a positive mental scenario prior to your meeting. Picture the results you are seeking.

Understand your numbers. Evaluate all the costs associated with your requested raise so you have a clear and defined “ballpark” number. Then convey these numbers with clarity. Remember, you are trying to sell yourself to those who already know you.

As a counterpoint, even the best-made plans can get thrown off by unexpected budget reductions, special equipment needs, decline in play or memberships, or some other circumstantial change such as a new boss. As you consider what having additional resources might mean to your lifestyle or family, it is as crucial to consider your plan of action if you are declined a financial reward.

Play to your strengths. Have a firm resolve not to be denied, regroup and tap into your personal strengths to review what may have gone wrong. Remember past wins that made you proud and confident – on or off the golf course.

Celebrate the small victories. Often, when a goal is not achieved, we become frustrated or assume the “I’ll never get anywhere here” mentality. Don’t let this happen. Reflect on your career and life plan. To move up another level remove this distraction and refocus on what made you successful.

Handling problems. How you view and handle setbacks is what shapes us, our attitudes and how we rebound. This is life, get used to it. As Rocky Balboa once said, “It ain’t how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

See setbacks as opportunities to get better, because they happen to all of us. You can learn a lot about yourself by the way you handle adversity. Find and follow people who have turned problems into steppingstones.

Finally, as Gary Player once stated, “the more I practice, the luckier I get!” Practice (role play) for this opportunity with a friend, spouse or relative who can provide an honest assessment of your presentation or how to improve it.

Tim Moraghan, principal, ASPIRE Golf (tmoraghan@aspire-golf.com). Follow Tim’s blog, Golf Course Confidential at www.aspire-golf.com/buzz.html or on Twitter @TimMoraghan