Archive for May, 2012

Hiring Responsibility and Due Diligence

Monday, May 28th, 2012

There is only one person responsible for hiring the right people and that is the manager or supervisor of the person being hired.  The hiring manager or supervisor is the one who is accountable for his department or section’s performance and, therefore, is the only person who should make the hiring decision.  While every leader will occasionally mis-hire, those supervisors that consistently hire the wrong people should be held accountable.

Do not for one moment think that hiring is the responsibility of a human resource manager.  He may assist in the process, but the assistance is no more than clerical or consultative.  If any person hired turns out to be a bust, the only person responsible and accountable is the hiring manager, and she must bear the consequences of mis-hiring.

Given the responsibility managers have to hire the right people and to avoid hiring the wrong people, they need to exercise ‘due diligence’ throughout the hiring process.

Due diligence is a financial/accounting term that means to conduct an investigation of a potential investment and/or confirm all material facts in regards to a sale.  Generally, due diligence refers to the care a reasonable person should take before entering into an agreement or a transaction with another party and is essentially a way of preventing unnecessary harm to either party involved in a transaction.

While the term ‘due diligence’ has come to take on the wider meaning of doing one’s homework to prevent mistakes, clearly the original definition applies to hiring employees, that is making an offer of employment to another party.

The failure of hiring managers to use ‘due diligence’ includes:

  • Failing to analyze and identify the requirements of a vacant position.
  • Failure to carefully screen applicants to ensure that their experience, skill set, and personality are appropriate for the vacant position.
  • Failure to conduct adequate interviews, particularly face-to-face, with applicants. Failure to carefully check references.

Hiring managers must take full responsibility for the outcome of each new hire and use the discipline of due diligence in screening applicants for hiring.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Basic Dining Policies

Monday, May 21st, 2012

It is important to have established food and beverage policies to ensure that members receive consistent and equal treatment when dining at the club.  Likewise, these policies are an essential element of server and bartender training.

The following is a basic, but by no means all-inclusive, list of policies that every club should consider:

Reservations.  How far in advance do you take reservations for dining?  How about for specialty nights and Sunday brunch?  Do you have limitations on how far in advance you’ll take reservations for special occasions such as Mothers’ Day, Thanksgiving, etc.?

Dining Room Seating.  Do you spell out that members with dining reservations have guaranteed seating for up until 30 minutes after their reservation time?  Do you explain that while you will try to meet specific table requests, you cannot guarantee them?  Do you specify that seating is first-come, first-served with reservations having priority and that seating is based on server and kitchen staffing, not apparent table availability?

Separate Checks.  Do you have or need a policy for separate checks?  While it’s important to be as accommodating as possible, large parties asking for separate checks can create a real bottleneck during busy dining periods.

Set or Limited Menu for Large Parties.  Attempting to serve large parties off regular club menus can  create service problems.  Do you have a policy to suggest set or limited menus in an effort to better serve your members?  If so, what are the procedures for making the suggestion?

Special Requests.  Clubs typically attempt to meet members’ special requests, but are there any limitations as to when this can be done, for example, on busy Friday or Saturday nights?

Methods of Payment.  Most clubs only allow member charges, but are there exceptions?  If so, in what situations?

Adjustments for Food & Beverage or Service Complaints.  Who can make an adjustment and what are the guidelines or limitations to such adjustments?

Refusing Service.  Though usually rare in private clubs, who makes the decision in case of an intoxicated member or guest?  How about at a catered event?

Children in the Bar.  Are children allowed in the bar to eat at any time?  If so, under what circumstances?

Exceptions to Policies.  Do you have a policy on when exceptions to all of the above policies can be made and who can waive them?  This is absolutely necessary because staff must always have flexibility to deal with unforeseen situations and meet member needs.

This representative list may or may not apply at any particular club, but the key point is that every food service operation needs to have well-thought out and defined policies for the benefit of both members and staff.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Guest Blog: 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses

Monday, May 14th, 2012

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A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1.   Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2.   A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community-and company-at large.

3.   Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4.   My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5.   Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear-of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege-as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6.   Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7.   Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets that people actually want to use.

8.   Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable-and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

Geoffrey James authors “Sales Source” on Inc.com, the world’s most-visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies from the World’s Top Sales Experts.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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Who’s Responsible for the Cleanliness of Your Club?

Monday, May 7th, 2012

If you said the General Manager, you’re right!  But John the GM delegated the task to Joanne, the clubhouse manager, who in turn hired Sonya and Maria to do the job.

After several months John noticed that the cleanliness of the club didn’t meet his expectations.  In speaking with Joanne about it, he discovered that Joanne had assumed that Sonya and Maria knew what they were doing and how to properly clean the club – after all they came with excellent references!

As John began to list the things he felt were being neglected, a light went on in Joanne’s head.  Joanne realized that if Sonya and Maria were going to meet John’s expectations, she would have to make sure she understood those expectations and then communicate them to Sonya and Maria.  So Joanne asked John to walk around the clubhouse with her to point out all the things he expected in terms of cleanliness.  This illuminating tour helped Joanne better understand what John wanted.  In response to Joanne’s questions, John clarified what he meant by cleanliness by discussing both type of cleaning – vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, polishing, emptying trash cans, mopping, high dusting, window washing, bathroom cleaning, upholstery and drapery cleaning, carpet shampooing, etc. – and the frequency of each.

The conversation then swung to cleaning tools, equipment, and supplies.  They both agreed that bleach should not be used due to the danger of spills on expensive carpeting and overstuffed furniture, but that sanitizing wipes should be used to wipe door handles, railings, bannisters, and various areas in bathrooms and locker rooms.

During the discussion it was also realized that some of the heavier, periodic tasks should probably be handled by the maintenance staff, such as cleaning the bugs out of the portico light fixtures and power washing the exterior windows, and as the discussion progressed John and Joanne admitted that it probably made more sense to contract out some of the work such as shampooing carpets.

Based on these conversations Joanne drafted up what she called the club’s cleaning standards.  She then asked John to review and approve the requirements.  After several revisions, John approved the standards and asked Joanne to analyze the requirements to determine the most efficient and cost effective way to meet them.  A week later Joanne returned with her analysis and recommendations.

The end result was that the club hired an outside contractor to shampoo carpets and steam clean draperies and another to power wash the building exterior and wash windows on a schedule drawn up by Joanne.  She then turned her attention to working with Sonya and Maria to determine the best work schedule to meet the standards, keeping in mind the daily and weekly member traffic in various areas of the club.  Joanne then asked the two cleaning ladies for a list of necessary cleaning products, tools, and equipment to enable them to meet the standards.

Joanne also discussed with Sonya and Maria the cleaning requirements before, during, and after major events and large catered parties.  Both Sonya and Maria appreciated the fact that Joanne consulted with them about both the expected standards and cleaning strategies.

Over the next few weeks, Sonya and Maria enthusiastically set about meeting the standards and made numerous suggestions to overcome minor obstacles and to clarify and refine some of the requirements.  Maria even suggested a cheaper sanitizing wipe that she found and was using at home.

The renewed emphasis on club cleanliness made Joanne far more aware and observant as she went about her daily routine.  Once all the bugs and kinks were worked out, she finalized the cleaning standards, policies, procedures, and list of cleaning materials, supplies, tools, and equipment in writing so that when there was the inevitable turnover in the cleaning staff, all expectations and requirements would be consistently passed on to new hires.

For both Joanne and John came the satisfaction of knowing that the club was cleaned properly on an ongoing basis, but the real clincher came when the club president remarked that his wife had been unhappy with the cleanliness of the club for some time, but had failed to mention it to anyone.  Lately, though, she noticed and was impressed by a distinct improvement in all areas of club cleanliness.  He asked that John pass on his wife’s compliments to the two new cleaning ladies who were obviously doing a great job.

John smiled and with great satisfaction said that he would certainly pass on the compliments to all involved.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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