If you are interested in advancing your career, the easiest and quickest way to do so is to add value to your employer.Â When you consistently demonstrate your ability to take initiative, solve problems, and make your boss’ job easier, you will be recognized as one who adds value to the organization.Â The following principles, embodied in the concept of “Active and Engaged Management,” will allow you to stand head and shoulders above your peers and will ultimately lead to greater and greater successes in life.
Reject the Status Quo
Every organization has its way of doing things.Â Often its methods are a result of stopgap measures implemented over time to deal with various problems that arose.Â Seldom are its policies and procedures formalized in writing; and even less often are they well-thought out from a big picture standpoint.Â Despite the haphazard nature of most methods, they are considered sacred and untouchable by employees because “we’ve always done it that way.”
An Active and Engaged Manager, however, does not accept this status quo.Â He or she shines the fresh light of reason on the organization; continually asking questions â€“ Is there a better way to do this?Â Does this make sense?Â Does this really serve our members’ interests?Â Can I do this more efficiently another way?
This willingness to look for new ways to do things allows the Active and Engaged Manager to realize the next principle . . .
Seek Constant Improvement
Every aspect of an operation â€“ from product and services to standards, policies, procedures, work methods, and training material â€“ should be analyzed for ways to do them better, faster, more efficiently, and with higher levels of service.
When a manager is dedicated to constant improvement and seeks the input of his or her employees, the entire department becomes energized with ideas, innovation, and enthusiasm.Â And while the organization as a whole and its members benefit from the improvements, the employees gain the greatest benefit â€“ knowing that their efforts contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the organization.
Managers should also be looking ahead to ensure his or her department is ready for any contingency.Â While most businesses have a seasonal routine, the Active and Engaged Manager reviews past activity for ways to improve (Continual Process Improvement) and continually seeks new ideas, events, and activities to keep the club interesting and fresh for its members.
Managers should always be looking ahead â€“ at least three months for routine operations, and further for major club activities, events, or projects.Â This continually advancing planning horizon allows all planning requirements to be completed in a timely manner and allows sufficient time to order all supplies and materials while putting advance notice of the activity in the club newsletter.
Have a Plan
Every event, activity, project, or initiative demands a plan.Â Without a proper plan you approach everything helter-skelter, waste valuable resources and time, and subject your employees to your own disorganization and lack of discipline.
By putting your plan in writing â€“ even as simple as a one page outline of timing and responsibilities â€“ you are better able to communicate your plan to your employees and to other affected departments.Â Such a written plan also broadcasts your competence and abilities to everyone who sees it.
The Army had a phrase to express the need for planning.Â The sanitized version of the six P’s is:
“Prior Planning Prevents P. . .-Poor Performance”
Follow Through and Follow Up
Whatever he or she undertakes, the Active and Engaged Manager will follow through to ensure that all details are covered and all actions completed.Â Often follow through requires modification in the original plan when unexpected situations arise.
Lastly, the Active and Engaged Manager will follow up on all completed actions or projects to learn from mistakes and to ensure that the initiative met the expectations of members, other managers, and employees.
Being an Active and Engaged Manager is more of a mindset than possessing specific skills.Â It involves the willingness to tackle any problem, the understanding that every problem has a solution, and the realization that problems are opportunities in disguise.
The choice to be an Active and Engaged Manager is up to you.Â On the one hand, you’ll add value to your organization and ensure your future success; on the other, you’ll tread water and wonder why your career isn’t going anywhere.
Thanks and have a great day!
This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers â€” 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!