Club managers and department heads (the various enterprise leaders) face many obstacles in attempting to provide a quality club experience with the highest possible levels of service for members and their guests. Overcoming these hurdles, described in Ten Challenges to Operating a Private Club, requires a great deal of focus and discipline, yet the basic premise of how to overcome these challenges can be summed up by the need for unimpeded communication and consistent training.
This conclusion can be logically determined from the following statements:
1. Club operations are labor-intensive – it takes a lot of people doing all the right things in their various positions to meet quality and service expectations.
2. Each set of departmental responsibilities encompasses a vast amount of detail, much of it basic and routine, which must be attended to daily.
3. While the standards, policies, procedures, and service practices to operate individual departments within the club are well-known to the professional leaders of those enterprises, these must be integrated into the larger vision of club operations.
4. This integration requires the vision, values, and clearly-defined expectations of the overall executive – the club general manager.
5. The vision, values, and expectations must then be communicated correctly and consistently through the intervening layers of managers and supervisors to the front line employees who both create quality and deliver service with their daily efforts.
6. Conversely, the feedback from front line employees, who know better than anyone what works and doesn’t work and who, if encouraged, have the most realistic ideas of how to improve the operation at the level of member contact, must be communicated back to and through their supervisors and managers to department heads, and ultimately the general manager.
7. Such communication throughout the organization can only work if there are no impediments to the flow of information such as moody, aloof, or uncommunicative managers or by managers who do not inherently understand that a leader’s role is service to employees – to provide them with the tools, training, resources, daily engagement, leadership, and example to do their jobs properly and with enthusiasm.
8. Anything that impedes this two-way open flow of communication blunts all efforts to achieve quality and deliver service.
9. Since managers and employees come and go with some frequency, the only way to ensure that each employee learns the details and nuances of their positions is to train them thoroughly.
10. Training material flows naturally from the club’s vision, values, expectations, standards, policies, and procedures, as well as various legal and liability issues, safety and public health necessities, and departmental service practices. Consistent training requires that these concepts and materials be in writing regardless of the ultimate media or methods used for instruction. To do otherwise is to operate from easily-corruptible and ever-changing oral tradition.
The Logical Conclusion: Because quality and service are both detail- and people-intensive, a large number of employees must know what to do in all situations. Such complexity can only be mastered through unimpeded communication and consistent training. Unimpeded communication flows naturally from service-based leaders, while written values, expectations, standards, policies, and procedures ensures the consistency of training.
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This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality 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 hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.
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