“Embedded Leadership” while perhaps a new term, is certainly not a new concept. The question is how many managers are truly embracing the concept and “embedding” themselves in their club’s culture and operations.
I think it was the war with Iraq when American reporters first coined the term “embedded journalist.” While journalists have been “embedded” for decades, this was the first time I had heard the phrase. While there is nothing glamorous about a war, the concept of someone immersing themselves in a situation so they can understand it at its foundational level fascinates me. In “clubdom” we often say we are immersed, but I often wonder to what degree and with what level of efficacy.
In a recent presentation to club marketing professionals I asked the group to see who had truly immersed themselves in their clubs and found that while many had done some, none had done it all. The suggestion is that you have to walk in another’s shoes to fully understand their world. The best way to lead is to do so from a position of empathy and knowledge and the best way to do that is to immerse or “embed” yourself in the many components of your operation. I know many of you might feel this is beneath you or not worth your time, but I suggest the contrary. There is nothing more important than knowing the people who serve with you and intimately understanding the environment, challenges and protocols they engage in to do so.
Challenge yourself to schedule time (real time, not a fifteen minute conversation with the grounds crew) to embed yourself with all of your functional departments. Work with a section leader on your grounds crew for a morning, help set up the ballroom with your service staff before a large event, or work a shift in outside services as just a few examples. You might be surprised at what you learn about the people and processes that make your club unique.
Greg DeRosa is a Search Executive at Kopplin & Kuebler, LLC, The Most Trusted Names in Private Club Executive Placement(www.kkandw.com).