One thing is always consistent with the strongest leaders and clubs: They are fiercely focused on understanding and implementing the industry’s best standards and practices.
As I travel the country, I have the opportunity to observe many extraordinary club leaders and see many great clubs. One thing is always consistent with the strongest leaders and clubs: They are fiercely focused on understanding and implementing the industry’s best standards and practices. It doesn’t matter if clubs are running at top speed or just coming out of the starter blocks, those who keep industry best practices as the guideposts always stay on track, even during challenging times.
These practices are important and must be understood for clubs to evolve and succeed. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.”
Evolution is hard but necessary for our great industry. It may seem as though we are beating people over the head with these best practices, but I’m going to keep reminding everyone about them because they aren’t as generally accepted as they should be.
Informed Leadership Best Practices
- Continuously educate stakeholders (boards, committees, members and staff ) on industry trends, best practices and important societal trends impacting the private club industry.
- Conduct mandatory and comprehensive orientations for all stakeholders.
- Adopt the fact-based private club business model and related financial best practices. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and use them to drive decision-making.
- Embrace data-driven leadership rooted in strong governance principals. Ensure transparent communication to all stakeholders.
Informed leadership creates the best possible stakeholders who fully understand their role and the role of others in the organization. Every club should strive to create a culture of constant learning from service to governance through education and training. Constant learning for every board member, committee member and the entire staff is the foundation for these best practices.
- Develop and maintain an effective strategic plan.
- Protect, preserve and grow the assets through comprehensive capital planning that addresses obligatory and aspirational improvements with a unified master plan.
- Enhance member value by creating innovative club experiences.
- Ensure seamless transitions of boards, committees and senior staff.
Keep stakeholders on target. The best way to do this is to use a strategic road map for where you are going and then constantly remind everyone to keep them on track.
Empowered Management and Team
- Create and maintain robust systems for talent acquisition, retention and professional development.
- Utilize proven performance management systems to set goals and measure outcomes.
- Perform regular team engagement surveys and compare them to benchmarks. Act on survey results.
Managers and management teams who are empowered and trusted to lead the club will do so nicely with pride and enthusiasm.
Compelling Member Experience
- Match member expectations to the club’s primary purpose. Evolve and adapt as necessary.
- Measure member needs, preferences and satisfaction on a regular basis.
- Provide a value proposition that cultivates highly engaged, loyal and satisfied members who think like owners.
- Present a relevant experience that easily attracts the next generation of members.
Creating a compelling member experience and a compelling team experience is a direct result of a club that functions on the best practices detailed above.
Additionally, there are two emerging practices that would benefit many clubs: 1) Managers and board presidents meeting quarterly with the club’s past presidents to keep them informed, provide education on the “issues of the day,” and use their counsel to guide in the decision-making process. 2) We are seeing local Presidents’ Councils form (with the help of regional club managers) as a way for club presidents to share ideas and data. This has been especially important during COVID-19 but also helpful for everything affecting clubs such as water issues, labor challenges, programming and amenities. The gathering and sharing of information continue to build on the culture of education and informed decision-making in which all these best practices are centered around.
Contributed by Thomas B. Wallace III, CCM, CCE, ECM
Partner, KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE
Connect at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-670-2021.
National Club Association – Club Director – Spring 2021