Well, yes it certainly could!
It’s club management of which I speak – and we all know it’s a challenging and often difficult profession with a complex set of realities to negotiate on a day in, day out basis.
In the interest of preserving your personal life and sanity, it’s important to search out and implement plans and programs to make your job easier and more fulfilling while at the same time providing your various constituencies – the Board, the club’s membership, management team, and employees – with the implied promise you made when accepting the position of General Manager.
So what was that promise? Meeting the highest expectations of all constituencies.
- For the Board – doing all you’re capable of to meet and exceed their agenda to make their club great while making them look good.
- For the membership – getting to know them well enough to understand and exceed their collective expectations for quality, service, programming, and enjoyment of their club.
- For your management team – providing them with the leadership, direction, and coaching to enhance their sense of purpose, professional skill set, and personal satisfaction from participating in a well-managed and high performing operation.
- For the club’s employees – providing them with more than just a paycheck by engaging them as partners in your quest for remarkable quality and service.
When viewed in this light, the undertaking of managing a private club is a mighty tall order regardless of the club’s state of affairs, made all the more challenging by the standalone nature of most clubs.
Some might argue that they made no such promise to the club’s stakeholders, yet that’s exactly what one does in presenting themselves as a club management professional who has the wide-ranging talents and skills to operate a private club no matter the extent of amenities and membership price point.
To repeat myself – could it be any easier? The simple answer is yes, it could, but only when you operate your club as a franchise – a well-organized and efficient enterprise where everyone knows what’s expected of them and effortlessly executes the daily routines.
In speaking of franchises, Michael E. Gerber, author of the bestselling E-Myth Revisited, says,
“Without a franchise no business can hope to succeed. If, by a franchise, you understand that I’m talking about a proprietary way of doing business that differentiates your business from everyone else’s. In short, the definition of a franchise is simply your unique way of doing business.”
The obvious implication for clubs is that to be successful you must define your expectations, standards, policies, procedures, and work processes and organize your club as if it were a franchise – one where how it interacts with its members and how quality and service is delivered sets it apart from all others.
While the effort to establish such a “franchised” operation is not insignificant, the major benefit of such an approach is that much of the day-to-day functioning of the enterprise takes place routinely, allowing management to focus on strategic issues, guiding the deliberations and direction of the Board, and providing extraordinary levels of personalized service and programming to the membership. To summarize:
- When the basics of an operation are routine, everyone’s focus becomes the extraordinary in all areas of the operation – in quality, service, and programming.
- When you’re able to combine consistently excellent quality and service with extraordinary and compelling programs, activities, and events, you will maximize your member’s enjoyment and use of their club; and this ongoing support will ensure the club’s viability and future.
But this cannot and will not happen so long as the entire staff from General Manager to line employees is enmeshed in the “make-it-up-as-you-go” turbulence of daily operations. Most, if not all, managers would have to admit there’s nothing easy about this operational model – which unfortunately is the reality in far too many clubs. But until there is a commitment to organize and operate your club like a franchise, this will continue to be your reality.
No one would say that the effort to franchise your operation is simple or easy to implement, but the effort itself yields so many benefits for all constituencies that it’s an effort that must be made. And it will certainly bring both light and an improved level of ease at the end of the tunnel.
Here is some additional reading that will illuminate the issue and the effort:
- Detailing Your Operation
- Franchising Your Operation
- How Much Time Does Your Club Waste Reinventing the Wheel?
- Elements of a Club Operations Plan
- Getting Started on Your Operations Plan
- Structure for “the Groove” and Avoid “the Rut”
- What’s Your Contribution? Competency or Legacy?
- Freedom and Responsibility with a Framework
Thanks and have a great day!
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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