This blog features information and advice from industry professionals on relevant club topics and issues. A companion to CMAA's Research Archives, this resource is updated biweekly.

Submissions should be sent to Kyle.Jennings@cmaa.org for consideration.

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What Does It Mean to Be a Team?

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02_11_16 Team 


According to the Oxford American Dictionary, a team is simplistically defined as "two or more persons working together."  This being the literal definition, what are the reasons so many teams find it difficult to work together?

In our personal lives, we choose our sweethearts and friends. Our choices are often based on some common interest and/or because they are like us.

In professional settings, we may not have a choice about those around us. We are often placed in positions when we have to work with someone who is very different from us. They think, talk, work and look different than us, yet we must all work together.

The diversity and work culture of a team can be quite challenging. Although some teams are formed voluntary, others are mandatory. So, what is the master plan behind all of this team building? Should grouping people based on age, ethnic background, salary or other common personal factors form teams?  Would that make a team? According to this Communication Coach, no.  Read more...

Do You Ever Get Discouraged?

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02_09_16 Road Block 175

You work hard, try your best, and still, things don't work out as you hoped. You plan, prepare, think ahead — and yet, something unforeseen comes out of nowhere and creates another obstacle you have to overcome. Life (both at work and outside of work) is difficult (at times, at least.)

So what do you do?  

It depends. Both on you and on the circumstances. Sometimes you "put your head down" and just keep at it -- persevering. 

Other times you get frustrated and maybe even downright mad, and you let others around you know it. 

Maybe you withdraw, which can take different forms: you go to a movie, or you sit at home and binge on Netflix. Some people drink to "get away from it for a while.” Some of us go and eat a boat-load of ice cream. All efforts to ease the pain and try to feel better.

Sometimes we may take the "healthy" route and go exercise at the gym, or go for a run. 


Safety and Your Insurance Company

(Risk Management) Permanent link

 01_21_16 InsuranceThis article was started years ago, yet I could say I called a potential client yesterday. This wasn’t a cold call, it was to a long term associate – a club manager – who knows that I help clubs with safety.

After we exchanged pleasantries, I asked if he needed help with safety at his club; perhaps a simulated OSHA site assessment? Or maybe help with safety policies?

He told me that he doesn’t need my help as he has a great safety program in place and his insurance agent is administering the program!

Not having anything to lose, I inquired if I could ask a few questions about his program?   Read more..

Change… Who, Me?

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01.12.16 Change

Ah yes, change... for some invigorating and for others anathema. As leaders, we identify the appropriate organizational evolutions, tweak the maintenance items, and monitor implementation.  We call for retreats, gather research, talk to members and over a couple of days, map out the vision of what is next. We set goals, measurements, and harbor great expectations for the future. However, we forget we are change leaders engaging in change management.

We often think leading means we’re doing it for someone else, and the change needed will come from others’ behaviors and actions based on the plan’s script. In fact, our most crucial first step is to look at our own board leadership and personal contributions in light of a new strategic vision. 

  • How do my skill sets, contributions and knowledge need to be engaged differently in light of our new or evolving strategic direction?
  • How does the entire Board need to alter its role and contributions to support success? 
  • What messages do we need to author and speak consistently?

Even more rarely, few take the next crucial steps, because we often don’t acknowledge that a new strategic plan in fact means that we are mapping out change. We inherently assume the “generic organization” must change, or programs must be altered for relevance, or the staff must be held to greater accountability. Rarely do we finish the architecture of a plan and have the subsequent conversations to:    Read more... 

Building a Personal Foundation, Cleaning Up Unresolved Issues

(Leadership) Permanent link

01_05_16 Problem Solving 175Previously I discussed the process of building a personal foundation. This process is key for anyone who wants to operate at a high level of performance, including those in the world of Club Management. So much of what I do when working with Club Management clients is to help them to understand that one of the keys to their success is the management of their own energy. When our energies are focused on our goals, the things we want to achieve or our purpose we can accomplish amazing things. So often we are only using a portion of our energy to achieve our goals.

The first step in building a personal foundation is clearing unresolved matters. Here we deal with getting past issues that stay with us and hold us down. It could be something we did or didn’t do or that we should have done or did poorly or perhaps something that was done to us.

When I first started delivering coaching sessions for CMAA we thought that many of the people who would be looking for coaching would be people who had recently lost their jobs. I am currently finding that 25 percent of the people that I speak to fall into this category. Of that 25 percent, I work with a high percentage to help them clear unresolved matters. If you have ever gone through the process of losing a job it is possible that you’ve spent some time with hate, anger or resentment. You will know the kind of energy it sucks out of you. And you may have observed how it can even change who you are. My job is to help you get back to who you are, recognize where that energy has been going, and help you to focus on what’s next.

Here are some ideas and questions that may help you get past some of these issues.  Read more...

The Origin of New Year’s Resolutions and How to Avoid Three Pitfalls of Failing to Keep Them

(Communication) Permanent link

12_22_15 ListA New Year is coming but will you be the same old you?

Whether you are awful or awesome, you have an obligation to be even better. As we embark upon another holiday season full of food, fun and festivities, we are also inundated with the personal and professional pressures of making promises to ourselves. Make a self-promise in July, it’s just a promise. Make a self-promise in December or January, and ta-dah, it becomes a New Year’s Resolution!

In 27 B.C., The Babylonians of the Roman Empire gave proclamations to the God, Janus. The month of January is named after this God.  Promises of returning borrowed items or settling debts were made to God Janus.  As the continuation of this act became a consistent tradition, it has become common during the month of January, now the first month of the year in our Western culture, New Year’s Resolutions are promises to ourselves. 

The top nine New Year’s Resolutions all involve two dynamics: Health or Money. 

  • 45 percent make New Year’s Resolutions.
  • 33 percent quit by February 1 (That’s really sad!).

Health club and gym memberships from December, January and February, (first 90 days of the year) make up 71 percent of the gyms annual revenue!

Here three ways to be successful in keeping your New Year’s Resolutions. Read more...

‘Tis the Season: Immigration Law Considerations for Club Managers

(External and Governmental Influences, Legislative) Permanent link

12_15_15 PassportAs we approach the New Year, seasonal businesses, including those in the club industry, may find themselves happy to say goodbye to 2015. Why? Because after a year that saw the H-2B seasonal visa be the center of a federal lawsuit, have its processing temporarily suspended, be subjected to a lack of clarity with the process, and unforeseen delays, the industry was rocked again with the issuance of a new Interim Rule that drastically changed the H-2B visa requirements.

The H-2B seasonal visa is the backbone of seasonal businesses’ visa processes. For the club industry, the ability to successfully obtain H-2B seasonal visas can lead to not only the employment of foreign nationals, but also potential year-round employment options and green card sponsorship. Furthermore, because there are jobs in the club industry that would only qualify for H-2B seasonal visas (ex. housekeepers, groundskeepers, servers, etc.), the availability of this visa option is significant to the club industry. Read more...

Let the Good Times Roll, Or Not?

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11_17_15 MillenialsHere’s something that may surprise you. I’ve had conversations with several clubs recently that wanted to explore reducing the number of members in their club. That’s right, reducing membership! Most of us prayed for those issues back in 2009-10. In fact, the last time I can recall seriously exploring that issue was prior to 9/11. It’s been a while.

The best news in this is that it proves that people continue to have interest in joining and using clubs. I am sure you wonder about that sometimes. I know I do. Each of these clubs has also completed major strategic reviews and initiated capital projects within the past five years, so it also shows that planning and investing pays off. They’ve helped create for these clubs what many of us would consider a first-class problem.

The question of whether or not to reduce members is an interesting one. Those who advocate for this approach say that with fewer people paying more dues, the club will be smaller, quieter and more intimate. Dues-paying members would have un-fettered access. I would agree that all of those things would occur if you lowered your caps and raised the dues on those who remain, but I remain skeptical of its benefits. Here’s why:  Read more...

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The contents are presented with no warranty, either expressed or implied by the Club Managers Association of America. No legal responsibility is assumed for the outcome of decisions, commitments or obligations made on the basis of this information. If your club is faced with a question concerning legal issues, you should contact the club’s legal counsel for the specific application of the law to your situation.