Ethics, House of Cards and Golf

By Terry Pithers | Dress & Image

Mar 20

House of Cards Shows Us What NOT to Do in Business and Golf

House of Cards Addicts

Joanne and I are addicted to the House of Cards series. Ethics or lack of ethics is the main driver of this highly acclaimed Netflix political thriller. There is a sort of guilty pleasure watching senator and powerbroker, Frank Underwood (played devilishly well by Kevin Spacey), uses any dirty trick in the book to further his political ambitions.

Warning – House of Cards is highly addictive & shows you how to not act in business

How would Frank Underwood play golf?

After watching Frank’s two–faced Machiavellian dealings in the halls of Washington, I’ve often wondered how Frank would play golf. Maybe Underwood’s devious character traits would have been revealed if the voters and other politicians had a chance to play a round of golf with him.

Golf – The great reveal

Mark McCormack, a great sports agent and writer wrote in his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, “I can tell more about how someone is likely to react in a business situation from one round of golf than I can from a hundred hours of meetings.”

What would Frank reveal about himself?

Golf is a great business/networking tool that can enhance your business and career if your style and substance are positive. The game gives us a rare opportunity to observe and make valid judgments about someone’s character based on their demeanor on the greens. It can also reveal less than ideal traits.

When the going gets tough…

Frank Underwood is tough and he certainly uses colorful language (warning – Netflix has a lot more censorship leeway than standard TV). I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to avoid using bad language on the fairway.

I was once golfing with someone who turned out to be like Frank. He was having a dismal round which he punctuated with #*@#% language. After missing his forth putt on a green, in a rage he attempted to drive his ball out into the water hazard with his putter.

Instead he excavated a huge divot into the green. More expletives. When he calmed down, he apologized. But the damage was already done, to his reputation and the green.

The hole truth and…

What about fudging a score? I’m pretty sure Frank Underwood would practice some creative score accounting. Doesn’t it amaze you when people do this? Most golf partners know when a gimme isn’t a gimme, when strokes are shaved and rules are bent to suit. This sort of pursuit lowers a lot more than just someone’s score.

People who live in glass houses…

The scary thing is if Frank Underwood saw someone do these things, he would turn to the camera (a neat House of Cards device) and tell us how low class it is and that he despises the culprit. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw golf balls.

Your brand is showing

Remember golf is not just “the best way to spoil a good walk”, it can also be the best way to spoil a good reputation. Mind your P’s and Q’s on the course and everywhere, your brand is showing. A great professional presence and brand comes across when you act ethically consistently, especially on the fairway.

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Posted by Terry Pithers –  Canadian business etiquette expert and nice guy who likes to watch Frank Underwood be bad
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About the Author

TERRY PITHERS Canadian speaker, humorist and business etiquette expert. If you are interested in booking me for a presentation, keynote or workshop, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.