Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Guest Blog: How to Become a Self-Starter

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Consider yourself lucky if you have an amazing boss. Unfortunately, mentors are not easy to come by. Whether or not you are one of the lucky few to work with a great motivator should not make a difference in what you are able to accomplish. Even with a talented mentor at your side, it is important to learn to be a self-starter.  Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen yourself.

Becoming a self-starter can help you achieve any goal. Self-starters can stand up and take control of any situation. Moreover, they can get more accomplished in a shorter period of time. This ability can help you reach your goals faster and on your own terms.

Set Clear Goals

You must define your goals before you can start working toward them. If you want to be successful, start by defining what success will look like to you. Be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve.

After you know what you’re working towards, you need to set up long and short term goals. Start off with something you want to accomplish within a year, and then set up short term goals that will help you get there. Using short term goals as stepping stones for long term goals will help create a plan of action.

Make Detailed Plans

Once your goals are defined, it is time to figure out how you will achieve them. The key to reaching your goals is to create a specific action plan.  Your plan should be comprised of short, actionable items that can function like a checklist. Set up action steps with deadlines that will keep propelling you forward.

Treat self-imposed deadlines the same way you would if they were provided by a boss. Being able to stay on task is a huge part of becoming a successful self-starter. Just because you set the deadline doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be accountable for keeping it. Consider sharing your plan with a superior or team member. Making someone else aware of your deadline can help you keep the necessary sense of urgency.

Never Put Things Off

Procrastination is a self-starter’s mortal enemy. Putting things off won’t help you in the long run.  Though it might seem easy to set a task aside, it will only add more stress as the work piles up. It might be tempting to push back a deadline if you’re really busy, so you have to remind yourself of why you made the deadline in the first place.

Every task, step and deadline affects your goals. One missed deadline can easily snowball into more. The point of being proactive is to assure that you accomplish everything possible to help you reach your goals. You will make things a lot more difficult for yourself if you make a habit out of putting things off.

Keep Track of Your Successes

Motivation is a driving force behind a self-starter. When you are working toward larger goals it might feel as if you will never get there. One of the benefits of creating a plan based on actionable steps is that you will accomplish many of your short term goals along the way.

Remember to acknowledge the small accomplishments that you’ve made. Each step brings you closer to reaching that final goal. Keeping track of your successes will remind you of how far you’ve come. Moreover, you can use your successes as a learning tool. Think about what you did right and what you might have done differently. Use what you’ve learned to increase your efficiency for your next step.

Remain Positive

Worrying about failure is a waste of time and energy. Instead of fretting, keep your energy focused on the work. When stresses come up, refer back to your action plan. Redirect the stress into a specific action. Working through your worry can remind you that you are on your way to reaching your goals.

Bumps in the road are inevitable, but it’s how you handle them that will determine whether or not you are successful in the end. Keep an optimistic attitude and power through. Every successful task should help alleviate your misgivings.

Becoming a self-starter will help you achieve professional and personal goals. Organization and focus will go a long way towards helping you reach those goals. Stick to your action plan and don’t let doubt get in the way of your accomplishments. You already have the ability, so make your plan and stick to it.

This post was written by Erin Palmer on behalf of Villanova University’s online programs. Choose from a variety of topics such as IT Service Management, Project Management, Six Sigma, and more!

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: You Don’t Know . . . What You Don’t Know!

Monday, May 9th, 2011

blake_ashdownNote:  This week’s guest blog is by Blake Ashdown.  Blake is CEO of Club Insights by SureVista.  You can learn more about their services by clicking on the link at the end of the blog.

As a professor at the business school at Michigan State University, I was frequently asked by my students, “What do I have to do to be successful in business?”  It’s a simple question, but one without a definitive answer.  Over the years, I have started and run many successful businesses and each one taught me something different.

But after reflecting on this question, I realized that there was one success principle that stood out; one that, if I hadn’t followed, would not have led me to the successes I eventually achieved –  here it is, “Successful people have an insatiable appetite to pursue what they do not know, and then apply it to their business and life.”

There are two key concepts in this principle:

  1. You must have an appetite to pursue what you do not know.
  2. After you discover or learn something you did not know you must apply it to your business and life.  If you never apply it, it is of no value.

This principle seems simple, and yet very few successfully execute it.  Here is why:

You don’t know what you don’t know!  You probably think you know, but you don’t!  How do you know what you don’t know?  If this seems confusing, let me try to bring some clarity.  Have you ever thought or said something like this, “If only I had known two years ago what I know today, I never would have…

  • hired that person.”
  • bought that car.”
  • used that vendor.”
  • taken that job.”
  • gone out with that person!”

At the time, you made a decision based on the information you had available to you.  You thought you knew what you were doing and you thought you were making a wise decision.  But later, you discovered that there were some things you didn’t know and, had you known them, you would have made a different decision.

This is called the Law of Unintended Consequences.  You made a decision, thinking it was the right decision, only later to learn that it was not the right choice.  As a result, you suffered an unintended consequence.  In fact, most problems you encounter as a Club Leader are the result of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Now, sometimes unintended consequences are unavoidable.  But too often, they could have been avoided if you would have had the desire to learn things you did not know.

You see, studies show that most people would rather talk about what they know, rather than pursue what they don’t know.  Do you know anyone like that?  Someone who is always talking about what they know, or telling you why something cannot be done.  They make excuses as to why something cannot be done, when it may be they don’t know anything about it.

In fact, through his research at the University of Georgia, Paul Schempp has found that most people think they know much more than they really do.  In his book 5 Steps to Expert, Schempp identified 5 steps to becoming an expert in your field.  The 5 steps are:

  1. Beginner
  2. Capable
  3. Competent
  4. Proficient
  5. Expert

Experts are the highest skilled professional in their field with exceptional amounts of both experience and education.  Shempp’s research found something interesting.  He asked the participants, “How much of what you need to know to be successful in your profession, do you know?”

  • The average response from Beginners and Capables…90%.
  • The average response from true Experts…60%.

Here’s the point, most of us know much less than we think, and the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.

You don’t know what you don’t know.  Your board members don’t know what they don’t know.  The only way you, as a Club Leader, can achieve success is to realize you don’t know what you don’t know and actively seek out what you do not know.

You cannot eliminate the law of unintended consequences, but you can minimize it.  This is why research is so important.  Data is just information.  Information when it is understood in its context becomes knowledge.  Knowledge that becomes actionable is wisdom.  When you have wisdom, you make wise choices, and wise choices lead to success.

Blake Ashdown, CEO Club Insights by SureVista.  See Blake’s insightful video blogs here.

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: Crabgrass Control

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Note:  This week’s guest blog is from Global Turf Network – an initiative to provide scientifically-based educational information and expertise to the turfgrass industry globally in native languages.  You can learn more about their services by clicking on the link at the end of the blog.

Crabgrass (Digitaria spp) is a major problem in both cool-season and warm-season turfgrasses.   As a general rule, crabgrass tends to be more of a problem in temperate climates and less of a problem in tropical regions.  In temperate regions the most important and likely the first weed control practice of the year is the proper timing of a pre-emergent herbicide application for crabgrass.

The ideal situation is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide just prior to crabgrass germination.  At this point in time your herbicide will prevent germination and last longer through the growing season.  Besides the traditional calendar date for application, soil temperatures and flowering ornamentals can be used to predict crabgrass germination.  Below are some of those keys. It should be noted factors like turf cover, and soil moisture for example can influence crabgrass germination and emergence.

  • Soil Temperature (pre-emergent herbicide applications should be made prior to these occurrences (~ 3 C below the threshold))
  1. Minimum soil temperatures of ~13 – 15 C) at the 2.5 cm depth at daybreak for 4-5 days are required for germination.
  2. Mean soil temperature of ~16 – 19 C at the 2.5 cm soil depth are required for germination.
  3. Soil temperatures greater than 23 C are required for significant crabgrass emergence
  • Phenotypic Keys for crabgrass germination (pre-emergent herbicide applications should be made 14-days prior to these events:
  1. Forsythia bloom withering (more applicable in northern temperate regions)
  2. Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) bloom withering
  3. Dogwood (Cornus spp.) bloom withering (more applicable in warmer regions)

Dr. Karl Danneberger, Turfgrass Science Professor, and Ed Nangle, PhD Candidate.  They can be reached through the Global Turf Network website – www.globalturfnetwork.com.

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: Enron & Madoff are Stealing from Your Club!

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Before you close the bank accounts and padlock the doors, we propose that these financial scandals have led to unprecedented scrutiny of your club’s financial wellness.  In a “normal” economy, an equity investment in club membership for most members and prospects is a large commitment and important financial decision.  Particularly the case if your member is a resident in the adjacent or “bundled” community.  In the current economy, amid corporate collapses and failing golf and country clubs, any unexpected increases in dues, fees and operating or capital assessments are devastating to the club’s creditability and growth potential.  Your proactive response as club leaders and management must be a commitment to superior governance practices.

GOVERNANCE MATTERS

The Enron scandal, revealed in October 2001, led to the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history at that time.  WorldCom, Lehman Brothers and three others have since filed even larger bankruptcies.  Enron is undoubtedly the largest audit failure and led to the dismantling of the once highly credible Arthur Anderson CPA firm.  In July 2002, the federal government responded with what is commonly known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requiring the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate corporate governance for investor protection.

While Sarbanes-Oxley has not mandated reforms for non-profit organizations such as private clubs, it has raised the bar for the financial governance practices of all organizations.  In June 2007, the IRS released a new Form 990 that requires significant disclosures on governance and boards of directors.  The Form 990 disclosures do not require but strongly encourage nonprofit boards to adopt a variety of board policies regarding governance practices.  These suggestions go beyond Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for nonprofits to adopt whistleblower and document retention policies.  The IRS has indicated they will use the Form 990 as an enforcement tool, particularly regarding executive compensation.  Sarbanes-Oxley has had a considerable impact by modernizing terms such as whistleblower, fiduciary responsibility, accountability, transparency and independence.  Despite this, the Madoff scandal broke in December 2008 and is widely considered the financial crime of the century.  Madoff serves as a grand wake-up call to the SEC and IRS that watchdog controls are not yet and may not ever be completely effective.

Good governance policy is not only best practice but a required foundation of a club’s creditability.  Club leaders and management must focus on defining their risk tolerance and achieve a balance between strategy, operations, and controls.

YOUR CHALLENGES

  • Financial and other reporting in a complex regulatory environment
  • Fiduciary responsibilities and risk management
  • Internal control design and testing
  • Protecting business information and computer systems against security threats
  • Business critical event identification and establishing responses
  • Growth in membership and ancillary income in a competitive environment
  • Effective and efficient use of resources

Effective club governance goes beyond establishing an audit committee and obtaining an independent financial statement audit.  To address member concerns about financial risk, as club leaders and club managers you must demonstrate an on-going commitment to risk assessment, internal control development and testing, long-range planning and adherence to a comprehensive code of conduct for board members and staff.

By the way, do consider periodically changing your bank account and door locks as a good governance measure.

Mark Alviano, Americlub Financial

Mark Alviano is a leading financial advisor to America’s private clubs.  His expertise helps club leaders overcome financial challenges on the path to prosperity.  He is the Managing Partner of Americlub Financial, a boutique club advisory firm with national headquarters in Raleigh, NC.  Based on an expertise in finance, accounting, HR, technology and regulatory compliance, Americlub’s products, services, and solutions create opportunities for cash flow improvement and sustainable financial growth.  Find out more about Mark at www.americlubfinancial.com/mark-alviano.

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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