Archive for the ‘values’ Category

Eight Key Basics to Successfully Operating a Private Club

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The club industry is facing difficult times and while we are all facing challenges, each club faces its own particular problems.  As is usually the case when facing difficulties, this is the time to get back to the basics of our business.  Here are 8 things each club should examine:

1.  Leadership.  Clubs need clear-sighted individuals to guide them through tough times – but not just at the top.  They need strong leaders at all levels of operations.  It’s also important that the leadership styles of club leaders at all levels are congruent.  Different leadership approaches can dilute or damage the General Manager’s service message when it’s not reinforced consistently by all managers and supervisors in both word and deed.

2.  Organizational values and culture of service.  Every employee needs to understand what, how, and why you do what you do.  The basics of what you stand for as an enterprise are of absolute importance.  Defining your values is only the first step.  They must be continually and consistently reinforced to all employees.

3.  Planning.  Haphazard planning results in haphazard operations and equally haphazard performance.  Your club should have a 3 – 5 year strategic plan focused on your competitive position in the marketplace.  The club should have an annual plan for what it expects to accomplish and the General Manager and all Department Heads should have detailed annual work plans.  As important, the requirements of work plans must involve measurable performance parameters.  Detailed benchmarking of all areas of the operation is the easiest and best way to do this.

4.  Benchmarks.  You need to understand the variables of business volume and average sale that underlie all of your revenues.  Without this knowledge you may be lulled by historical levels of revenue when they are actually made up of declining volume, but higher prices and fees.  Benchmarking in detail is also an excellent way to listen to what members are saying with their buying habits.

5.  Accountability.  The club business is too demanding not to hold individual managers accountable for results.  The performance of every manager and supervisor must be measured against their annual work plan and there must be consequences for failing to meet goals.  Poor performing managers degrade the efforts of the rest of the team and drive away good employees.

6.  Employee Turnover.  There is a high cost to turnover and it usually related directly to the quality of the club’s leadership at all levels.  It is particularly costly when you do a good job of training your people.  Do not become the minor league training ground for your competitors – both private clubs and local restaurants.

7.  Training.  There is much for employees to know in serving your members.  You cannot expect that your employees will inherently know what to do unless they are systematically and consistently trained.  Training gives your employees the knowledge and confidence they need.  Confident employees are more apt to engage your members and provide higher levels of service.

8.  Member feedback.  You need to understand what your members think about your club, the products and services it provides, and the service your employees render.  Surveys are an excellent tool to do this, but you must act on the information you receive in intelligent and thoughtful ways to make the most cost-effective decisions in satisfying wants and needs.

Getting back to the basics is a sure way to regain your footing during and after the current seismic shift taking place in our industry.  The good news is, and there’s always a silver lining, that the best leaders and their operations will inevitably rise to the top.

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.

The Profound and Powerful Persuasion of Principles

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Over the years numerous authors have stated and reinforced the notion that leadership is the foundation of organizational excellence.  Examples abound in the world of business, in sports arenas, in warfare and battle that sound leadership is the first and foremost requirement of success.  Even in hospitality and service, leadership plays that essential role.  As Tony Hyde, Senior Executive Vice President of East West Partners Club Management, said, “The longer I’m in this business, the more I realize it’s all about leadership.”

Yet most successful club managers will tell you that no matter the individual skills and talents they possess, there is much more in the way of organization, structure, and management disciplines that must be brought to bear to create and sustain a high-performing operation.  First and foremost of these are well-defined organizational values and a continually reinforced culture of service.  Why is this so?

  • A leader’s values are those bedrock principles that govern the actions by which she gains the trust and loyalty of her followers.  A recent ad for Notre Dame University said it best, “The value of a leader is directly proportional to a leader’s values.”  Dr. Bob Nelson, founder of a company specializing in management practices improvement, has said, “You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.”  Leadership is not so much what you do.  It’s what you inspire others to do; and nothing inspires like principled action.
  • As we have often stressed, a leader must spell out his or her expectations for followers.  While these expectations must cover the standards, policies, and procedures of performance and execution, there is nothing so basic, yet so important, as ensuring that all employees, especially managers and supervisors, have a firm grounding in the values of the organization.

This indoctrination in best accomplished by continuing exposure, ongoing example, and constant reminder of the underlying principles by which the club conducts itself in relation to the board, the members, employees, vendors, and the community at large.  Without the effort to spell these out in detail, an organization has little hope of modeling and teaching employees what is expected of them in their dealings with others.  Yet how many clubs have made the effort to define their organizational values?  Some have, others have not.

To assist clubs who may want help in this area, Hospitality Resources International has prepared a wide variety of organizational values covering mission, vision, guiding principles, operating standards, managers’ code of ethics, principles of employee relations, and standards of management professionalism.  To further assist organizations in teaching these essential principles, HRI has created Values on the Go, a program designed to present organizational values in brief formats for ongoing training and reminder.

The material in Values on the Go is intended for the management staff, including all employees who supervise the work of others and may be used in any appropriate group setting, but most particularly in the general manager’s weekly staff meeting.  By spending a few minutes at each meeting discussing these topics, a general manager can be assured that subordinate managers understand and continually reinforce values and culture.  It can also be used to train new management hires in the details of the club’s organizational values.

As Mac Anderson, founder of Simple Truths, author of more than 22 books, and inspirational corporate speaker, has said, “The three keys to inspiring . . .  service – Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce.”

Without an effort to reinforce to employees the basic values of the club, the general manager is failing to value one of the most invaluable of all leadership qualities – the profound and powerful persuasion of principles.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

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.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!