General managers should discuss with their new presidents how they are going to communicate for the year ahead. This includes deciding on the frequency of communication (specific times or days or just as needed) and what forms are best (in-person meetings, phone, text, email). Every president is different, with different preferences and availability, so getting on the same page is essential.

General managers should have a conversation with their president about how they are going to disagree. Simply asking, “How should I tell you when I disagree with you?” can be an immensely powerful and honest way to set the relationship up for success.

Another best practice continuing to emerge is the educational partnership of the general manager/chief executive with the board of directors. This kind of collaborative education provides private clubs with the strategic thinking necessary to meet current and future member needs. Recognizing that volunteer leaders must be aligned with paid leaders is critical. This educational partnership can be achieved by incorporating an educational component led by the general manager or board president during every meeting. Examples of meaningful insight could be industry reports produced by respected industry associations and consulting firms or details of trending club issues and supporting case studies. Experts on local issues can also add tremendous value at board meetings. During COVID-19, leading clubs invited a panel of health professionals to share and engage in Q&A to guide decision-making and forward-thinking clubs in California invited experts to offer insight on water management.

General managers are expected to be experts on club business and operations. Bringing in outside knowledge to support their recommendations can encourage a unified understanding of circumstances.

Contributed by Richard Kopplin, Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM & Thomas B. Wallace Ill, CCM, CCE, ECM

CLUB TRENDS – Summer 2021