A. Congratulations. You've learned that visibility, or the perceived lack thereof, is really your presence at important times. Invisibility leads to the termination of more club managers than any other factor I've seen in my years of headhunting in this field. Masters of the illusion of omnipresence schmooze through their busy dining room, card and locker rooms, conspicuously park their car in the club's lot, remain through the wedding cake cutting, and greet members at the bag drop or the first tee on weekend mornings. They wisely attend to administrative duties during predictable low member-traffic times. By engaging the members, learning their names and preferences, they signal sincere interest. Winners locate their office in the members' path — with an open door — perhaps just inside the front entrance. A personal observation: an identity defined solely by what we do for a living indicates a need to get a life worth living. The best family present is our presence. By picturing the rewards of balance we learn to pursue proportionality.
Q. My club has improved significantly. A recent member survey rated everything ahead of the last poll yet committee chairmen still find things to criticize. Am I wrong to expect a pat on the back once in awhile?
A. Realistic club managers learn to tolerate a flawed world inhabited by imperfect people. Directors do commonly manage by exception noting only what's wrong while expecting you to keep things right. Peace of mind will come not from avoiding, but through acceptance of this inevitability. Facts are neutral — neither positive nor negative. How we choose to perceive and react to a given situation keeps us in control. Expect everything to go your way and you'll be shaken by adversity.
Q. I used to feel trapped, unappreciated and paralyzed with dread when I had to go to work. Then, with Board support and your timely board orientation, my role as the club's general manager was redefined. I've adopted a collaborative management style and include both department heads and rank-and-file personnel in the decision-making process. Now, as coach/counselor, I can truly enjoy my time at the club. I've learned to seek satisfaction by helping subordinates move up even if it means they must leave for, another club. Thank you for helping me recast my management paradigm and for your practical and insightful column.
A. Human beings, somewhat unique in our ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for our seeming disinclination to do so. Any other readers want to share their success in achieving board support in redefining their management role? Let me hear from you.
Q. After years of club management experience I began losing patience with redundant board debate. I believed I knew what was best for the club and could save hours of discussion if the Board would just listen to me. Then a recent club president, a successful attorney/mediator, suggested I let the directors talk, and pay attention to their process of achieving consensus. I now closely monitor Board dynamics and learn more at every meeting. How come when I was younger I was so much smarter but with age have become more content?
A. Silence is a clue to mature self-discipline, particularly when you have something worthwhile to say and choose to remain actively silent. The discussion in itself may be more beneficial than any conclusion. A directors' unpolished notion, because it’s his, beats your great idea any time. By discovering the power of outcome-thinking you have learned to visualize results before opening your mouth. Savvy managers prepare their officers and chairpeople prior to board meetings so they can knowledgeably participate. Next time we feel compelled to show our brilliance we should question if that's the astute thing to do. The ability to remain silent can be the ultimate self-empowerment.
Harvey Weiner, Managing Partner of Search America® private club management search & consulting, is an agenda-setting, trusted advisor to club leadership since 1974. 800.977.1784 www.SearchAmericaNow.com
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