It seems like nearly every day I get asked about ‘life on the road’ and what kinds of trends I’m seeing in the search business these days, as well as what those trends might be saying about the state of the industry?

Well, if there was such a thing, believe it or not, I’d be buying ‘club stock’ these days!

Despite what some might predict as fallout from the recent elections, I’m seeing a number of clubs continue to become healthier and even more important in the lives of their members. Now, that certainly isn’t all of them, but I’m consistently hearing and seeing Boards of Directors recognizing that they have “never been busier than we are right now, both personally and professionally”, and therefore have never more needed professional executive leadership from their General Manager, Chief Operating Officer or, even in a few recent searches, their Chief Executive Officer. These ‘enlightened’ and engaged Boards seem to recognize that they can no longer run their multi-million dollar operations by emotionally motivated, self serving or ‘agenda-driven’ volunteers, but rather need to have clarity of direction and total engagement in their top paid staff member.

Certainly, its easy to say that’s what they want; its another thing to actually allow that to happen, but I can tell you that a large number of our clients have asked for and are doing just that! Now, it isn’t without an occasional stumble, but we have consistently seen Boards taking a proactive approach to laying out the foundation to these critical success factors. Most are recognizing that it starts with getting the right people in position first. Then, laying out the real expectations and actually holding people accountable (both other members and staff) for results and ‘process.’

Most of our clients have totally bought into the importance of strategic retreats and setting of annual goals and objectives as a group, then following up regularly to ‘check’ where they are relative to action plans and results. Most have also either started, or are certainly embracing of the concept of ‘real’ strategic planning; not just a bricks and mortar ‘wouldn’t be nice if we had this amenity’ plan, but a true club-wide review of strategies and tactics to retain or change tradition, engage or encourage new demographics of membership, or whatever the ‘concepts’ of their particular club’s key future drivers to success are…….

So, while some might be viewing the industry as one in decline, we’re seeing just the opposite! And, with as many clubs as we’ve worked with and/or visited this year, we believe that we’ve got a true perspective on where things are really going and what it is going to take to get there!

On behalf of our entire K & K Team, I wish you and your Club the best of success in 2013. If we can help in any way, you certainly know where to find us… we’re on the road to another club! – KDK

Kurt D. Kuebler 
Kurt D. Kuebler, CCM, is a Partner of Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC, The Most Trusted Names in Private Club Executive Placement.