Syngenta Business Institute: Covalent Bonds

by • 7 years ago

Over the last 20 years of attending numerous turfgrass conferences, symposiums, trade shows and industry events like the Syngenta Business Institute, I have had some of my strongest networks formed. The Syngenta Business Institute brings 25 highly successful and accomplished golf course superintendents together in an intimate setting on the grounds of The Graylyn at Wake Forest. Four days are spent soaking in what some learn in a semester in an MBA program on topics such as business management, managing generations, and cultural differences and building negotiation skills. Getting negotiation training will help with developing more assertiveness within the business and helps towards building upon the success of the company as it grows.

Over the four days I was an attendee in 2010, the 24 other superintendents and I formed some lasting relationships. Still to this day, when we see each other at conferences or industry events and even on twitter, we reflect back on the time at the Syngenta Business Institute. If you are at an event like this and don’t form relationships like this, you have wasted an opportunity and certainly did not understand the value of the opportunity you were given.

This year was different for me, I was attending as part of the media group. This was exciting for me as the experience of attending the Syngenta Business Institute was very impactful for me. Even today, I use many of the skills learned over those four days. I was excited to sit back and just watch. Watch the attendee’s faces as they enter the historic Graylyn Manor House. Watch and listen as they participate in many of the small group activities during the day. Watch and listen as they begin forming many of the bonds that I did 4 years prior.

The Syngenta group and others involved in selecting the 25 superintendents for this year’s event, did a fantastic job. Listening to the attendees share stories and watching them interact with each other, I know the bonds they have just formed will be as lasting as mine have been. This was also one of the most comedic groups of superintendents I have been around. Each year at the institute, several of the same activities are completed to supplement and/or demonstrate the points being discussed. Activities to demonstrate how negotiations work, how positive and negative reinforcement effects outcomes are just two of the many. This year one particular role playing activity stuck with the group.

So allow me to make the official introduction of “Alberting”.

Erwin McKone @turf_doctor officially #Alberting at #SBI13

This group took a simple role playing activity and turned it into something that will bond them forever and they are having a lot of fun doing. They asked me to introduce it to YOU so that you may share in their experience. “Alberting” began during a role playing activity in which a golf course employee was caught sleeping in a wheelbarrow, causing member tension. The attendees had to use the skills learned that morning to manage the conflict. The group had a blast with this as you will see from the tweets below!


They asked me to start a little contest to share “Alberting” with you. So here we go! Entering the #Alberting contest is simple! One must simple take a photo of yourself or a fellow employee sleeping (obviously staged) in a wheelbarrow in the most creative place you can find. Our friend and 2013 graduate Erwin McKone @turf_doctor has been so gracious to begin the event with the photo above. NOW…here is how you get the photo to us:

Entering the Alberting Contest
– Tweet photo with hashtag #alberting
– Email photo to
– Post #Alberting photo to Turf Republic Facebook page
– Post on instagram with hashtags #albering

We will be creating a gallery of all the Alberting photos and allow you to vote on your favorite. For the OFFICIAL contest, you will have until January 6th to get your photos in, but #alberting doesn’t need to end after that. We have a couple great gift cards we will provide the winner courtesy of Turf Republic and Syngenta.

Have fun and go #alberting!



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