Posts Tagged ‘remarkable service’

Implementation of Remarkable Service

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

While many think that it costs more to provide Remarkable Service levels, this is not necessarily so.  At the end of the day it’s more about organization and discipline than it is about higher costs.

It does, however, require commitment on the part of the owners or board, buy-in from the club’s membership, and a long-term, focused effort from the General Manager and management staff.  The end result of Remarkable Service, of an organized and efficient operation, and a focused staff working in unison toward a common goal, comes from Jim Collins’ Flywheel effect.  To quote from Good to Great,

What do the right people want more than anything else?  They want to be part of a winning team.  They want to contribute to producing visible, tangible results.  They want to feel the excitement of being involved in something that just flat-out works.  When the right people see a simple plan born of confronting the brutal facts – a plan developed from understanding, not bravado – they are likely to say, ‘That’ll work.  Count me in.’ When they see the monolithic unity of the executive team behind the simple plan and the selfless, dedicated qualities of Level 5 leadership, they’ll drop their cynicism.  When people begin to feel the magic of momentum – when they begin to see tangible results, when they can feel the flywheel beginning to build speed – that’s when the bulk of people line up to throw their shoulders against the wheel and push.”

Realistically, the process may take three to five years . . . or longer.  But the benefits to the club are as remarkable as the level of service achieved, including:

  • Accountable, service-based leaders
  • Willing, committed, and empowered staff
  • Lower staff turnover; improved morale and motivation
  • Greater operational efficiencies
  • Improved operating performance
  • Less liability exposure
  • Better planning and execution
  • Less turmoil and chaos in the operation
  • Improved member sales, member satisfaction and retention

The important thing for management, staff, and members to recognize is that they are working on a plan to revitalize their club.  And as legendary Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry said,

Setting a goal is not the main thing.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

Click here to read the entire Quest for Remarkable Service white paper.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This 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 Foundation for Remarkable Service

Monday, March 9th, 2015

It all starts with leadership.  Strong and stable leadership is the single most important requirement to successful hospitality operations.  While there are many styles of leadership suited to any industry or endeavor, experience over many years in hotels, resorts, and private clubs makes it clear that a service-based approach to leadership works best in the service industry.

Service-Based Leadership differs from other leadership styles in its focus on serving the needs of employees to provide them with the proper tools, training, resources, motivation, and empowerment to serve customers.  The importance of this support can be inferred by the question:

“How can employees provide quality service if they are not properly served by the leadership, example, and ongoing support of their managers?”

Being a serviced-based leader requires many different skills, but two are so critical to providing quality service that they bear special mention.  First is the will to make it happen.  Building a Remarkable Service Infrastructure is not a one-time event or a single set of instructions to employees.  It is a challenging and ongoing endeavor that may take years to fully implement.  Building a Remarkable Service Infrastructure entails changing people’s attitudes and behaviors.

Even in a start-up operation where there is no tradition or ingrained institutional habits to overcome, newly hired managers and employees bring their own service experiences with them.  Given the relatively poor and inconsistent state of service throughout the industry, most often they simply bring habits practiced in previous jobs.  This multitude of experiences and habits must be transformed into a unified system that supports the discipline of quality.

The second necessary skill is communication.  There is a tremendous amount of detail involved in hospitality operations.  An open flow of information all around makes it easier to communicate expectations, give daily direction, uncover issues and problems, and ensure that all employees are on the same page.  Communication bottlenecks, usually caused by uncommunicative and aloof managers, impede efficient operations and make it harder for everyone to do their jobs.

To build the infrastructure, the leader must communicate service values at every opportunity and continually reinforce the culture of service.  The leader must be both patient and persistent. Instructions and reinforcement will have to be given over and over again.  Training and implementation must be repeated at intervals until every employee gets the message and provides consistent quality service in every situation.

While it is recognized that the General Manager must be a strong leader, it is also critical that the operation’s subordinate managers and supervisors are also trained to be strong service-based leaders.  While some of a leader’s skill-set seems to be inborn, such as confidence and an analytical mind, and others are developed early in life, like judgment and basic communication abilities, the great majority of a leader’s skills are learned.  But unless junior managers are systematically trained to develop the skills which have to do with building and sustaining meaningful work relationships, their leadership development will be haphazard, and the vision and message of service will not be communicated consistently or faithfully to line employees.

Upon this leadership foundation, then, are the components of the Remarkable Service Infrastructure – those organizational systems and disciplines which comprise the building blocks that lead to Remarkable Service.

Excerpted from The Quest for Remarkable Service

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!

The Remarkable Service Infrastructure

Monday, October 27th, 2014

SQI - Infrastructure6 (320x240)While many think that it costs more to provide Remarkable Service levels, this is not necessarily so.  At the end of the day, it’s more about organization and discipline than it is about higher costs.  The highest service levels, however, do require buy-in and commitment from owners, as well as the understanding of the long-term, focused effort required.

Realistically, the process may take three to five years . . . or longer.  But the benefits to the enterprise are as remarkable as the level of service achieved, including:

  • accountable, service-based leaders,
  • willing, committed, and empowered staff,
  • lower staff turnover; improved morale and motivation,
  • integrated and efficient operations,
  • improved operating performance,
  • less liability exposure,
  • better planning and execution,
  • improved sales and customer satisfaction.

The important thing for management, staff, and owners to recognize is that they are working on a plan to organize, improve, and revitalize their operation.  And as legendary Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry said,

“Setting a goal is not the main thing.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

The Quest for Remarkable Service is a journey requiring the continual disciplined attention of management and staff.  No matter the effort, no matter the perceived success, the enterprise will never reach a point where managers and employees can say, “We have arrived; now we can rest.”  The quest is never a destination; it’s a transformative journey that enriches both the recipients of that service and the providers.

In the ever-changing world of customer expectations, each level of quality achieved, each plateau reached, is merely the starting point for further development and improvement.  Yet as the cycle of review and continual improvement begins anew, all can be assured that with each iteration, each turn of the Flywheel, success becomes easier and more assured because of the organizational discipline gained and the momentum achieved.

Excerpted from The Quest for Remarkable Service.  For a free ebook version of The Quest for Remarkable Service, click here.

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!

The Value of a Super Service Employee

Monday, October 14th, 2013

For those of us who eat out with any regularity, we’ve all had the experience, unfortunately too rarely, of being waited on by what I call a “super server.”  From the moment she approaches the table we know we’re in for a treat.  Sparkling with personality, she overflows with knowledge about the food, beverages, and accompaniments.  She immediately sizes up our interest in engagement and calibrates her contacts accordingly.  She speaks with confidence and authority, questioning us regarding our preferences and without hesitation recommending what she thinks we’ll enjoy.  The best of the best can even unerringly take and serve orders without benefit of pen and dup pad – an ability that never ceases to amaze me.

Such extraordinary individuals are worth their weight in gold.  Not only do they serve with flair and expertise, but they sell, thereby increasing the average check, while making a distinctly favorable impression of competence and professionalism that brings diners back again and again.  This is true in restaurants as well as private clubs where members appreciate the recognition and special touches that a super server adds to the dining experience.

Far more frequently, we’ve experienced the norm of service – undertrained, inexperienced employees who may understand the basics of service, but little more.  Often lacking in knowledge, personality, and attitude, their service may meet minimum expectations but seldom inspire the diner to sample the extras – appetizers, desserts, wines, and specialty drinks – that the kitchen works so hard to create and which enhances the dining experience.  If truth be told, these employees are doing no service to their employers and in many cases are doing outright harm by driving customers away.

The often repeated maxim for employers “to hire for personality and train for technique and competence” encompasses a basic truth.  Attitude, personality, and engagement seem to be inborn skills and are difficult to teach.  While training can provide service skills and knowledge, thereby increasing a server’s confidence and maybe even engagement skills, the best service employees posses an indefinable quality that is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate.

Given the dearth of these extraordinary service employees, they should be recognized and compensated for the rare skills they possess.  Too often though, their presence on an employer’s staff is viewed as simple good fortune with little or no effort made to differentiate them from the common herd.  The result is that in short order they move on to greener pastures where their talents are more fully appreciated.  When this happens the loss to the establishment is often more than can be appreciated at the moment.  Not only has the employer lost a super server, but a money-maker, an ambassador, and an example for other less accomplished workers.

And everything said about food servers applies as much to super service employees in lodging, retail, recreation activities, golf, tennis, administration, and other areas of hospitality.

So why don’t we recognize and reward super service employees for their special abilities.  I suspect it’s a combination of cost consciousness, an unwillingness to go beyond the status quo, and a fear of exchanging known costs for unmeasured benefits.

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 the Hospitality Industry!

 

Touch Point Tactics

Monday, September 12th, 2011

In war the generals plan the strategy, unit commanders establish plans to shape the battle, and front line leaders set and direct the tactics to wage the fight.  In our business the board and General Manager set the direction and standards of the club, but it’s the department heads and front line supervisors who figure out how best to implement at the point of contact with members and guests.

The term “touch point” refers to those critical moments and events that shape and define a customer’s impression of service and service delivery.  Also called “moments of truth,” touch points are defined as “a critical or decisive time or event on which much depends; a crucial moment.”  But no matter what they are called, if a club is to be a service leader, it must consistently get the touch points right and it’s up to the club’s junior leaders to plan, train, and direct front line employees to flawlessly execute each of these service opportunities.

Most club departments have a limited number of touch points, probably less than ten.  The food and beverage department has considerably more due to the intensive interaction with members during food service.  Regardless of number, it’s up to department heads to identify and establish standards for each touch point – even to go so far as scripting and rehearsing employees’ touch point roles.

So what are the steps in planning touch point tactics?  Here’s a basic list for department heads:

  • Identify members’ needs and expectations from the club.
  • Carefully review departmental interfaces with members and identify all touch points.
  • Prioritize touch points based on service impact and impression.
  • Spell out in detail the optimum manner for employees to execute each touch point.
  • Script, train, and rehearse employees to consistently execute touch points.
  • Revise and refine touch point execution based on feedback from employees.

Points of caution:

  • Train employees to avoid robot-like, lockstep execution.  Employees must be comfortable enough in their roles to improvise according to the dictates of the moment and situation.  Everything they do must be comfortable and personal – that’s why it’s so important to empower your staff.
  • Managers must encourage and act upon feedback from employees.  The people who have direct service contact with members are in the best position to determine what works and what doesn’t.

Bottom Line:  As with managing any other critical aspect of the operation, touch point tactics must be well-developed and executed to achieve the desired effects.

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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Implementation of Remarkable Service

Monday, October 5th, 2009

While many think that it costs more to provide Remarkable Service levels, this is not necessarily so.  At the end of the day it’s more about organization and discipline than it is about higher costs.

It does, however, require commitment on the part of the owners or board, buy-in from the club’s membership, and a long-term, focused effort from the General Manager and management staff.  The end result of Remarkable Service, of an organized and efficient operation, and a focused staff working in unison toward a common goal, comes from Jim Collins’ Flywheel effect.  To quote from Good to Great,

What do the right people want more than anything else?  They want to be part of a winning team.  They want to contribute to producing visible, tangible results.  They want to feel the excitement of being involved in something that just flat-out works.  When the right people see a simple plan born of confronting the brutal facts – a plan developed from understanding, not bravado – they are likely to say, ‘That’ll work.  Count me in.’ When they see the monolithic unity of the executive team behind the simple plan and the selfless, dedicated qualities of Level 5 leadership, they’ll drop their cynicism.  When people begin to feel the magic of momentum – when they begin to see tangible results, when they can feel the flywheel beginning to build speed – that’s when the bulk of people line up to throw their shoulders against the wheel and push.”

Realistically, the process may take three to five years . . . or longer.  But the benefits to the club are as remarkable as the level of service achieved, including:

  • Accountable, service-based leaders
  • Willing, committed, and empowered staff
  • Lower staff turnover; improved morale and motivation
  • Greater operational efficiencies
  • Improved operating performance
  • Less liability exposure
  • Better planning and execution
  • Less turmoil and chaos in the operation
  • Improved member sales, member satisfaction and retention

The important thing for management, staff, and members to recognize is that they are working on a plan to revitalize their club.  And as legendary Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry said,

Setting a goal is not the main thing.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

Click here to read the entire Quest for Remarkable Service white paper.

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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Romancing Your Members – Member Relationship Management

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I recently read a book called Romancing the Customer, Maximizing Brand Value through Powerful Relationship Management written by two British authors, Paul Temporal and Martin Trott.  While its message was targeted to large businesses, often in the retail and service sectors, it contained the seeds of important ideas for private club management.

First, the book makes the point that “Brands are Relationships.  People don’t buy products; they buy brands.”  They go on to say that:

“Brands are:

  • Experiences. A good experience with anything fuels the desire for more, while a poor experience kills the appetite.
  • Very personal. They give exclusivity of feeling and association. (the way private clubs are supposed to do)
  • Evoke emotions. Emotion is at the very heart of power brand strategies, aiming to capture both the rational and emotional aspects of the target customer.
  • Live and evolve. Brands are very much like people. Many have their own distinctive personalities, and these personalities evolve over time, just as ours do.
  • Communicate. Like people, brands listen, receive feedback, and send messages. They talk to different people in different ways, just as we do. Brands that are successful tend to be those that create a dialogue with consumers.
  • Create equity and loyalty. It is the way in which brands interact, and the friendship they give that engenders loyalty and a long-lasting relationship.
  • Above all, add friendship and romance. The greater the emotional involvement on the part of the consumer, the greater the friendship and loyalty that results.

Next the authors state categorically that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the quickest way to establish a brand.

quote-call-outs1-2“What is CRM?  It’s all about collaborating with each customer, adding value to each customer’s life.  In return, you get their loyalty.  Further, it’s about dealing with each customer individually, because all customers are not equal and should not be treated equally.  A small percentage of your customers contribute far more to your revenues and to your profit.  But as compelling as the economics of focusing on your best customers, a good CRM program should not ignore the others.  In fact, good CRM programs encourage less profitable customers to become better customers.  There is no doubt that by turning your organization into one that is centered around the customer, every single customer will ultimately benefit.

“But the focus must be on capturing ‘share of heart,’ not ‘share of wallet.’  While money-grubbing will certainly build short-term sales, it will not ensure that you build an enduring relationship.”

Traditional marketing theory says that it’s all a numbers game.  The more you market, the more people you contact, they greater your sales.  The authors point out that what makes marketing a numbers game “is the lack of specific information about individual customers.”  Today, though, with the rapid growth in computing power and data capture, it is possible to know each of your customers far better.  And that information provides the power to romance your customers.  “Instead of focusing your efforts on your product, focus on your customers.  By building up that body of information on each customer over time, you can increase the degree of tailoring of your product or service and, in the process, strengthen the emotional bond between the customer, your brand, and your company.”

Ultimately, “Customer Relationship Management builds strong brand by creating the right blend of organization, systems, and processes that allow your people to understand your customers as individuals, and potentially tailor every interaction with a customer to their specific needs.”

mrm-22What does this mean for us as private club managers?  Simply put, the more we know our members, the more we understand their needs, the better able we will be to provide the individualized service that people join clubs to receive.

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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Service the Ritz-Carlton Way

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to attend a one-day training seminar at the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center in Chevy Chase, MD, to learn how they provide their “legendary service.”  The seminar was eye-opening and impressive.  The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is a management company that operates 61 properties worldwide for the Marriott hotel chain.  As most of you know, they serve the international luxury market and are celebrated for their high service levels and attention to detail.

While the instructor provided ample handouts to explain and illustrate the Ritz-Carlton way, I took over fifteen pages of notes.  I shall try to summarize the main elements of how they consistently provide such high level service.

First, Ritz-Carlton has a well-defined corporate culture of service built upon:

  • Mission and Vision statements,
  • Key Success Factors, revised and refined each year, and
  • What they call their “Gold Standards Foundation,” which is made up of the following:  The Credo, The Motto, The Three Steps of Service, The Service Values, and The Employee Promise.

The company culture is so important to Ritz-Carlton that they review aspects of it every day, every shift, in every property worldwide during what they call their “Daily Line Up.”  By this discipline all employees from the CEO and President down to each line employee are constantly reminded of their “reason for being.”

Second, Ritz-Carlton has devised a new hire screening process that focuses on 11 basic talents and every position in the company is indexed on how much of each talent that position needs.  For example, a housekeeper position needs high levels of “exactness” (attention to detail) because there are over 150 items or details that must be checked in every room every day; on the other hand, front desk and guest service employees need high levels of “relationship/engagement” skills to interact and engage guests in a multitude of ways.

The hiring process with Ritz-Carlton can take up to eight separate phone and face-to-face interviews to ensure they hire people with the right set of talents for the positions they seek.  One impressive element of the interview process is that specially-trained line employees conduct the first telephone screening interview to ascertain the candidates “Talent Index.”  If the candidate does not meet certain minimum levels in this interview they are eliminated from consideration.

The success of their screening process can be seen by their employee turnover rate.  When they first started the company in 1983, they experienced a 73% turnover rate.  Last year, it was 23% with 15 of that 23% being voluntary resignations for a variety of reasons.

Third, Ritz-Carlton invests in training.  Each new employee receives a two-day orientation which is heavy on company culture and values, then 20 days of on-the-job skills training for their position.  The trainers of the skills training are line employees who have been trained to train and who derive prestige and a higher compensation level for their role as trainers.

On day 21 of the initial training period, each employee without exception receives a recap of the values and culture, benefits enrollment, training in guest recognition and how to handle difficult guests.  The end of the day is a celebration of their completion of the initial training.  Finally, they are asked to fill out a questionnaire to ensure that the promises made to them at the outset of training have been kept.

Leaders are responsible for ensuring that all employees are certified in their positions.  Employees must be certified within 21 to 30 days of their orientation.  As Ritz-Carlton says, “We never want to practice on our guests.”

Each year, line employees receive 320 hours of ongoing and refresher training.  Leader/Managers receive 250 hours of training per year.

At the end of an employee’s first year, on day 365, each employee has a one-day refresher session designed to “psychologically engage” with employees and “figuratively hire” them all over again.  At the end of this day, they receive their one-year service pins.

Fourth, the company trains and empowers each employee to solve problems.  Any Ritz-Carlton employee can spend up to $2,000 a day per guest to solve problems and, not to just satisfy their guests, but to wow them with outside-the-box service.

Here’s an example:  an international guest at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington DC, checked out and flew to NYC to catch an international flight.  Upon arrival at JFK airport, he realized he had left his overseas flight tickets at the hotel.  He called the Ritz-Carlton in a panic.  The desk clerk with the OK of her supervisor and the hotel GM, took a flight to NY and personally delivered the guest’s tickets in time to catch his plane.

Fifth, Ritz-Carlton is heavily invested in benchmarking all areas of their operation to include conducting random surveys of guests each thirty days.  The results of their ongoing measurements of processes and guest feedback are used for continual improvement of their products and services.

Sixth, Ritz-Carlton has designed a proprietary software and database package called “Mystique,” to record guest preferences.  Each property has two designated individuals, the Mystique Manager and Mystique Coordinator, who have access to this confidential database.  Every employee carries a pad of “Guest Personal Preference Communiqués” with them at all times.  Any time an employee notices a personal preference of a guest or overhears a guest mentioning some detail that would enable the company to better serve them, the employee fills out and submits the communiqué to the Mystique staff, who enter the information in the database.  This system, designed to better help the company personalize their service to individual guests, is a central part of their building a strong service identity and a loyal base of clientele.

Overall, I was impressed with the thoroughness of the Ritz-Carlton systems; their training, treatment, and empowerment of their employees; and the degree to which everyone from the highest executive to the most recently hired line employee is dedicated to service – not just to their guests, but to each other in the performance of their duties.  As one employee said during our late-afternoon Q&A with line employees from the Washington DC property, “I’ve never worked anyplace where I feel like I’m such an integral part of the team, where my ideas and input matter so much, and where I feel like I’m part of a big, caring family.”

While there are clearly aspects of the Ritz-Carlton way that are beyond our reach in the private club business due to budgetary constraints and economies of scale, there is also much we can learn from them – probably the most important being their absolute dedication to high levels of service and their “will to make it happen.”

 

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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The Many Ways to “Kill” Employee Empowerment

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Several weeks back we blogged about the importance of creating a culture that promotes Employee Empowerment at your club.  We quoted from John Tschohl, President of the Service Quality Institute, who said, “Without empowerment, an organization will never be a service leader.”  Mr. Tschohl went on to say that, “Empowerment is the most critical skill an employee can master and a company can drive in order to lure and keep customers.”Â

quote1-2Given the importance of empowering your employees, it’s helpful to understand the many ways to destroy such empowerment and that none of them are caused by employees.  If your employees do not feel empowered, look no further than your leadership and the way you interact with your people.  In searching for reasons empowerment isn’t working, focus on the following:

You are only paying lip service to empowerment.  Without your sincere commitment to your employees and their success, they will recognize your “empowerment” as a sham and will become more cynical and disaffected the more you try to encourage their “empowerment.”

You don’t really understand what empowerment is.  If you fail to realize that empowerment begins and ends with your leadership, if you think that empowerment is something your employees have to create, expecting your employees to act in empowered ways is a waste of time and energy.

You haven’t provided the “big picture” context of what your organization is trying to achieve.  Your employees need to understand how their contribution furthers the basic aims of the organization.  Defining and sharing your values and goals is a first step.

You’ve failed to give your employees the information and training they need to understand the context and scope of their empowerment.  When you ask them to take on additional responsibilities as empowered employees, they need to understand why and what the benefits are to them as well as to you and the club.  They will also need examples of what empowered behavior is.  Lastly, they will need to know that they will not be blamed or punished for making mistakes.Â

You’ve given them guidelines, but then micromanage them.  Maybe you’ve done a good job of defining limits, but then micromanage them.  When you do this they will quickly understand that they are not “empowered” and that you will continue to make all the decisions, no matter how trivial.

You second guess the decisions you’ve authorized your employees to make.  After giving your employees the guidelines to make empowered decisions, you second guess and criticize every decision they make.  Put yourself in their shoes; how long would you put up with this before throwing in the towel on “employee empowerment”?

You have failed to give feedback on how your empowered employees are doing.  Feedback, particularly early on, is critical so that employees understand by constant discussion and explanation what they are doing right and what can be improved on.  Once they achieve a critical mass of understanding, they will feel more and more confident of their actions, will need less guidance, and will be looking for more and more ways to contribute.

You have failed to value your employees.  Without the most basic sense that they are valued and recognized as partners in your efforts to provide quality and service to members, they will recognize that your program of “empowerment” is just a way to manipulate them.  People who think they are being manipulated are resentful and will be unresponsive to your continued exhortations to be “empowered.”

For more information on what it takes to empower your employees, click 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 – where membership and all resources are FREE!

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Service-Based Leadership

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Service-Based Leadership is the foundation for Remarkable Service.

Given that leading ultimately involves guiding, influencing, and directing people, I posit the following working definition for “Leadership”:

Leadership is the sum of those individual traits, skills, and abilities that allow one person to commit and direct the efforts of others toward the accomplishment of a particular objective.

Central to this definition is the understanding that exercising leadership involves building and sustaining relationships between leader and followers. Without this bond or connection, there are no willing followers and, therefore, no true leader. Given that no leader operates in a vacuum, it also requires that the leader establish relationships with other relevant constituencies.

With Service-Based Leadership, the attitude and primary motivation of the leader is service to others – to members, to employees, to shareholders. This approach to leadership naturally creates relationships – the deep and abiding bonds that sustain the efforts of the organization. This outward focus of the leader sets up a dynamic where:

  • Employees are continually recognized.
  • There is an open flow of ideas, opinions, and information.
  • Initiative and risk are highly regarded.
  • Problem discovery and solution is a focus while placing blame is unimportant.
  • Every employee feels energized and part of the team and is valued for his or her contribution.
  • Prestige is derived from performance and contribution, not title or position.
  • Members are treated well because employees are treated well.
  • The energy and initiative of all employees is focused on the common effort.

With Service-Based Leadership, you will find that service to both internal and external customers is effortless. Less energy is expended in processing complaints, grievances, and conflicts. Work is more fun and everyone’s job is easier.

The Service-Based Leader understands that the key to serving the needs of those he or she serves lies in ensuring that strong relationships are established with individuals. How does one do this? Begin by:

  • Treating everyone you meet with courtesy, respect, and good cheer.
  • Focusing on each person you deal with as if he or she were the most important person in the world.
  • Taking the time to get to know people; sharing your time and attention with them.
  • Learning about other people’s jobs and the challenges and difficulties they face.
  • Keeping promises and following through on commitments.
  • Being principled, showing fairness, and demonstrating integrity.
  • Recognizing the ultimate value of people in all you do.

Relationships depend upon how you view yourself in relation to others. If you see yourself as separate and apart from your constituencies, if you view others as the means to your end, if your vision and goals lack a broader purpose than your own needs and ambitions, establishing meaningful relationships will be impossible. On the other hand, when you see yourself as part of a team with a shared mission, then a sense of service will be an intrinsic part of your service team relationships.

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.

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