Education and Orientations: The Cornerstones of the Foundation of Success

Well known retailer, Sy Syms (Syms Department Stores) has one of the best ‘tag lines’ in the business:

“An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer!”

Think about that statement and how it relates to some of the best, most consistently high performer clubs in the country.  There isn’t a magic potion that those clubs have found; most all of them have recognized the importance of ensuring that people—staff, members, board members, committee members, etc.—are ‘educated’ at every opportunity.

In my view and experience, a lot of clubs and club managers “try” to orient new staff, new members, new board and committee members, but often do it very inconsistently, or simply stop because they get rebuffed due to time constraints, unavailability, lack of interest, a belief that someone already knows what is to be conveyed, and so on.  Generally speaking, those club managers who take little for granted, make orienting (which is really educating) a top priority in all they do, and who don’t give up when the going gets tough (meaning, someone else doesn’t have the same high priorities on this subject as they do), are usually the ones who have the highest degree of member and associate satisfaction.  That also usually means that they have the best financial performance as well!

Many of us ‘assume’ that because someone has been a member for years, or has served on the board or committees of this or another club, he or she will know what is expected of them.  That’s just not the case!  The same thing goes for someone who has just joined the club after having been a guest on several occasions; some of us then ‘assume’ that that family understands the club, how to behave or use the facilities, who to go to for what, and so on.  That’s just not the case!

Or, because we’ve hired someone ‘with experience,’ we believe that we can throw them in the job without providing them with our expectations or style of getting the job done. That’s just not the case! I know that I make it sound simple. But, I can tell you from first hand observation, those clubs and managers who simply don’t let things just ‘run their course,’ but who instill a consistent process of educating each constituency (members, volunteers, staff, etc.) who are part of the club, are typically the ones who gain the most respect from their constituencies, and are the highest-regarded amongst their peers. From my vantage point, even if a new president, committee chair, or even a new member says “don’t worry, I know what I need to do, and everything I need to know about the club,” the most successful managers don’t accept that answer. They find a way of ensuring that the educational/orientation process still takes place. It’s just too important to the long-term success of the organization, which should be the top priority of that manager. I urge you to take the time to review the Club’s processes for educating and orienting your board members, club members, and staff; and evaluate the effectiveness of each process. I promise it will be well-worth the time and effort.

All the best! – KK

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

Education and Orientations: The Cornerstones of the Foundation of Success2015-05-01T16:33:10+00:00

Education and the Strategic Planning Process

In keeping with Kurt’s article on education and orientations being the cornerstone to a club’s success, the same can be said for the strategic planning process in private clubs. We consider the Strategic Planning Committee to be one of the most important committees in the Club. However, we often find that while those undertaking the strategic planning process are leaders within the organization (often the Board of Directors), many of those participants do not have a good grasp of the strategic planning process as it relates to a private club. Before you begin to develop a strategic plan at your club, it is critical that everyone involved fully understands the framework of the process. Several factors play a crucial role in the plan’s success. They are:

  • Understanding the importance of the mission and vision statements.
  • Determining how to define the strategic issues impacting the Club.
  • Understanding how to react to these issues.
  • Making the time commitment necessary to meet the plan’s objectives.

The old saying “getting everyone on the same page” before you start is most applicable here. In a previous article, we also discussed who should be in charge of the plan. As noted, clubs with successful strategic plans usually have three key players driving their plan: the President or Committee Chair, a facilitator, and their General Manager/COO. By taking the lead, these individuals also accept the responsibility of ensuring that all of the participants fully understand the process before they begin. It is important to point out that for a successful plan to be implemented at a private club it has to be embraced by the overall membership, not just the Board and management.

Not to oversimplify this, but for all of the above reasons, it is important for every participant to clearly understand the process and the commitment necessary; getting “everyone on the same page” to ensure the development of a relevant strategic plan and ultimately the Club’s success. – JS

John R. “Jack” Sullivan, CCM

Jack is Vice President of Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club and provides consulting services to private clubs. He specializes in strategic planning and other private club operational issues.

Education and the Strategic Planning Process2014-12-22T21:16:26+00:00
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