Who Cares?

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The question we are posing in this article is “Who Cares?” This might be a question that is actually more like a statement, when said by someone who is indifferent about something. Please understand that we are not indifferent about this. 

As coaches, who care very much about the success of the people we get to work with, we can clearly see the cost that is paid by people who have an attitude of indifference. What if a simple ingredient to your success and the success of the people you lead is the ability to care and to care deeply? If it is an important ingredient and you care about success, it might be a good idea to step outside of yourself to see if your actions show that you care. 

It is easier to spot when you are looking at others. When you see someone in the service industry who cares about service or someone who clearly doesn’t care about service, both examples stand out. It is obviously very possible to serve others without caring about others or caring about service. When you see someone who doesn’t care about the profession they are doing, don’t you just wish for them and the world that they would find something they could care about? Conversely when you see someone who clearly cares very much, it is as if they are not just doing something, they are being something. They have a servant’s heart! They are “in” service. When someone truly cares about service and truly cares about you, the person they are serving, the experience is very different. 

What do you care about? Would it be obvious to people who see you from the outside? 

We get to talk to club managers, club leaders and staff members from clubs. If you are a club manager we need to tell you this. If you don’t care about your staff, or your members, or service, or numbers or anything in particular and you think they don’t know, you are probably wrong. If this is the case, it is just a matter of time before your indifference becomes their indifference. 

Extraordinary Leaders have a great passion for what they do and deep level of caring for the people they serve and the people they are privileged to lead. Beyond having it, there is an importance to exhibiting the fact that you have it.

At a speaking engagement one time, a gentleman in the audience told us that one day his Grandmother asked him if he was happy. He was a little surprised by the question and responded “yes grandmother, I am happy.” She said “well you might want to notify your face.” Similarly we have met club managers that tell us that they care deeply about their people, yet their people aren’t aware of any evidence of the caring. 

Let’s start with you! What do you care about? Do you care about yourself? Do you care about your health? Do you care about your family? Do your care about your significant other? Do you care about your body? Do you care about your retirement? Do you care about education and continual improvement? Do you care about vacations? Do care about giving time to your passions outside of work? Do you care? 

You may care to some extent about all of these things. We would ask that you pick one or two of these things and check to see if it would be obvious that you care if you looked at it from outside of you. It is pretty easy in this industry to view family as the most important thing and then realize that you are not getting much time with them and when you do, it is when you are exhausted and can’t truly give the best of you. You can believe that you care about your health and your body and then you can look at your health and your body to check in. The point is that what you truly care about tends to get a lot of attention and tends to get the most results. The other way to look at it is to take note of what you are giving most of your attention to and where you are getting your results and you might find what you really care about.

Now we challenge you to do the same exercise at work? Do you care about your job? Do you care about your profession? Do you care about your members? Do you care about your board? Do you care about your staff? Do you care about CMAA and your chapter? Do you care about learning? Do you care about contributing to the learning of others? Do you care about meetings? Do you care about the numbers? Do you care about the facility? Do you care about the future? Do you care about relationships?  

There is no right or wrong answer to those questions. There are just answers. If you find yourself realizing that you don’t care about a number of those things, you might want to find something or someplace where you do care. If you don’t come to this realization, there is a high probability that someone else will help you make the change. 

Once you have figured out what you care about and are pretty confident that people outside of you can see evidence of it, here is your next challenge. 

Make sure there is evidence that your people care. If we can look at someone and it is not obvious that they care, we may have to play the role of our friend’s grandmother and ask the question. By asking it, you are not necessarily accusing them of not caring, but rather trying to point out that the evidence of their caring may be difficult to see. 

If you don’t care, there may be interest in finding a leader who does. If your people don’t care, there may be interest in finding a leader who doesn’t tolerate not caring. 

Kevin MacDonald headshot To reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at kmacdonald@dccnet.com or newreality@telus.net. We believe you could have your best year yet!

The Power of a Question

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The Power of a Question


We have the great privilege of working with Extraordinary Leaders. Many of them are also bosses. There are also a lot of bosses who are not particularly good leaders. 

In organizations the people who ascend to management roles are often people who have developed a certain skill or competency and then been given the responsibility to train it, and then lead others. They are often driven to do more and to rise up. Their competency is acknowledged and rewarded. They are often challenged to help others raise their levels of skill and attitude. They learn a lot along the journey and in many ways become experts. Many rise up and are given responsibilities that start to move away from the original skill that got people’s attention in the first place. They learn a lot more. They know a lot. They often tell a lot. They may start to connect their value to the organization with all they know. They may be able to look at any situation and decide what should be done. They get paid the “big bucks” because they know the answers.

There was a time when the boss thought it was their job to tell people what to do. The people didn’t have to like it, they didn’t have to agree with it, they didn’t even have to know why it was being done, and they just needed to do it because the boss “said so.” In fact in these old times I am talking about a lot of bosses went out of their ways to tell people to do disagreeable jobs just so they knew who was boss. The “all knowing omnipotent boss” was to be obeyed. It was often about the person’s position on their name tag versus the respect they had earned or deserved. One of our Extraordinary Leader Masters Doug Smith said that one day he made the discovery that he was a real “Boss Hole.” 

The Extraordinary Leaders that we admire the most have made the discovery that their most powerful results come when they discover the power of asking questions and then asking powerful questions.

In our years of coaching it has been reinforced over and over that the key to developing people is helping them understand the power of accountability. When we as humans don’t take accountability we look to others for an excuse for why we are not achieving the life we want to live, or why we have license to not live up to our potential. It is in some ways an easy place to be, but it doesn’t do a lot for the individual or the organization. It is easy to say it didn’t work or even make sure it doesn’t work because the boss’s idea was the problem not me.

Extraordinary Leaders have learned to ask questions.

They ask questions to connect! 
Dale Carnegie said “If you want to make a lasting impression on someone ask questions about them!” When we take time to ask questions about others we raise their value. They appreciate your interest and you soon find out that everyone has a story. Getting some insight into a person’s story can be fascinating and can help you lead. Our success in life often is directly linked to the connections we make. Make powerful connections regardless of the person’s station in life.

They ask questions to understand! 
Extraordinary leaders don’t know everything. That is also true of un-extraordinary leaders, but some of them think they do. Even if you think you know something, you have the opportunity to see if from a different perspective. The more questions you ask, the deeper the understanding. As some people age they become more open to the idea that they can learn more things and perhaps learn that what they think is true is not necessarily true.

They ask questions to teach! 
The privilege of teaching people is not just about adding more information into them but rather getting what they know or have forgotten out of them. We ask questions to find out what they need. What would they like to learn? What do they think would make them better? What are they willing to do? What questions do they want the answers to? What do you need from me to bring out the best in you?

They ask questions to empower! 
When you ask someone a question, there is an implication that you think they know the answer. If you pull your car to the curb and ask someone for directions you are hoping they will have some expertise in the area of your question. If you ask a team member for solutions to challenging problems you are suggesting that you believe they have an answer. One company asks potential employees “What do you do to make other people’s lives better?” By asking this question they are letting people know that they are interesting in hiring people who make other people’s lives better.

They ask questions to inspire! 
They ask people if they are interested in going toward their vision. They ask “How can we make our vision more exciting, more impactful, or more fun?” They ask “What inspires you?”

They ask questions to grow! 
They ask questions to learn, to get better, to think differently, to think bigger and to be an example to others of the power of a question. They sometime ask provocative questions of themselves and others. Why am I doing things that are clearly not working? When did I start to believe that? Did I learn what I think I know from people who were experts?

Extraordinary leaders ask questions. Who do you need to ask? What do you need to ask? What is your intention in asking? If you could ask anyone, who would you ask? Do you have a mastermind? Do you need to tell people versus ask people? Are you a Boss Hole?

Kevin MacDonald headshot To reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at kmacdonald@dccnet.com or newreality@telus.net. We believe you could have your best year yet!


“No Problem” Has No Place in Club Management

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Handshake - No Problem

Ritz Carlton trains their staff to give a warm and sincere greeting and to close each guest interaction with a fond farewell, using the guest’s name when possible. As a result, they are often lauded for creating a personalized environment. In today’s day and age, it is their commitment to this detail, including their staff’s choice of language that should be emulated a bit more throughout the hospitality industry as a whole and specifically in the highly personalized world of club management.

Service has been defined as “what you do to someone”, while Hospitality is defined more by “how we make someone feel.” To quote noted restauranteur, Bobby Stuckey, “They are not interchangeable.” In the past year, the overwhelming number of my transactions in restaurants of various types has at some point included an employee closing the transaction by saying, “no problem.” Sometimes, they have even awkwardly inserted it where it didn’t really fit. In almost all instances it was offered in response to my thanking them for their service or confirming they could fulfill a request.

Is it too much to hope that staff in some of the world’s leading hospitality companies could be trained to simply say “certainly” or “you’re welcome,” or “my pleasure,” or “our pleasure?” Ritz Carlton hits the bullseye when they seek sincerity from their staff. We don’t want staff to use language that they don’t believe in, but basic etiquette should be enough to illicit a “you’re welcome” when you offer a thank you for a job well done. That shouldn’t require a page, or even a paragraph in the training manual to achieve.

Why is it then that “no problem” has become so commonplace in such a short amount of time? Could it be emblematic of the “entitlement” generation (define that as you will)? Are today’s line level service employees so put off by having to work in low paying hourly jobs that they aren’t thankful for gratitude, nor taking any personal pleasure from serving individual guests? Is it a general lack of etiquette in society or a missed opportunity to set higher standards by senior leaders? I leave that to others to resolve.

What I offer is this: let’s not allow this to invade the club cultures that each of us works so hard to create for our members. Universally, club leaders recognize that members have high expectations of the service we provide. Why would anyone pay dues to be treated in an impersonal manner? Members crave recognition, as it creates a sense of status and belonging. And, I think most of us would agree that they don’t want the feeling they receive from their club to be one that serving them at that moment, is only relatively inconvenient. They should expect and we should desire to give them something much more. Whether it is “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure” or “our pleasure”, if said with sincerity, we will, as we have often done before, be able to provide our members with a warmer, and more gracious and refined experience than they may likely be receiving elsewhere.

Let’s make removing the expression “no problem” from the club industry vocabulary yet another wonderfully distinguishing feature of our chosen profession

Luke O’BoyleLuke O’Boyle, CCM, CCE is a longtime member of CMAA and former National Director. He currently serves as the General Manager at the Chevy Chase Club in Chevy Chase, MD.




Cognitive Dissonance

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Cognitive Dissonance 

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values.

I just experienced cognitive dissonance!

On Christmas Day we were invited to the home of our son Nathan’s girlfriend’s parents. It would be the first time we visited their home. When we arrived we were greeted warmly and soon after we arrived they suggested we have a picture taken of our family in front of the Christmas tree. Rose and I were asked to pose with our sons Nathan and Danny in the first picture.

We were resigned that for the fifth year in a row our daughter Jenny, who lives in China, would only be connected to us by Skype a few hours later.

Behind us and beside the tree was a door to another room. As we were posing for our picture three of the four of us didn’t know that Jenny had come through that door and was behind us in the picture. Our host was trying to show us the picture to reveal that Jenny was in the picture. He had inadvertently zoomed in so close that what he was showing us was a close up of my sweater and my chin.

When he showed us the actual picture we could see that someone what photobombing the picture. By that point Jenny had come around in front of us and in a video of this event, you can see Rose looking at her with her mouth wide open for three or four seconds with no words coming out, and then I spotted her.

When I did, a sound came out of me that I had never heard before and I suspect I will never hear again. I rushed up to hug her and hold on for dear life. My mind was blown. Three or four hours later at dinner I asked her if I was dreaming this or if she was really beside me. She assured me that it was real.

What Rose and I saw was not in alignment with our belief that Jenny was in China. Even though we were physically looking at evidence to the contrary, our minds battled against it until we were able to have a new belief!

What I see over and over again as a coach is that people want to create a reality that is a contradiction to the belief they have been holding on to.

Remember just because we believe something doesn’t mean that it is true. Yet we will often fight with all our might to hold on to our belief. Two people can watch a sporting event, see the same play and if they are cheering for opposite teams will probably see the result of the play in a way that benefits their team.

This concept may be something that helps people in this time of year to get a result they have been trying to attain unsuccessfully for many years.

If you think you are fat and you are setting up plans to be fit, you may work very hard and find yourself defaulting to do things that support your belief. If you think you are a person who always struggles financially and you have a plan to become wealthy, that old belief will work hard to make sure you don’t. If you believe there are no good matches out there for you romantically and you have a goal to find someone, they could walk right past you and you probably wouldn’t see them. If you believe there is something lacking in you that might keep you from getting a particular job and you apply for it, there is a chance that the belief will impact your chances regardless of whether it is relevant or not.

What is needed is to step back, think about what beliefs you are holding on to and determine if they are supporting you or holding you back. You could also try to determine if they are actually even true, but be warned, even if they are not true, your mind will put up a fight. You are just used to believing they are true.

Be open to considering that what you believe is not true!

We have the ability to decide to believe something other than what we have believed!

When Shelley and I are talking to someone who tells us “I am always late.” (It is likely that they are not always late, maybe they are late 10 percent of the time, but connect themselves to lateness when they are) we often would respond with “You mean you used to be?”  They have the same look on their faces that I had when I saw my daughter. “What do you mean I used to be?” Well, that thinking and that behavior is in the past. At this moment you get to decide what your reality will be in the future, but if you keep saying “I am always late” you can probably expect lateness in the future. You get to decide!

If you choose to decide that everything you believe is true and nobody, including you, can convince you of anything to the contrary, then your conviction, your steadfastness, your stubbornness or whatever you want to call it will serve you as it always has.

The big opportunity at this time of year is to blow your mind, think differently, decide, get out of your own way, dream and live your dreams!

If you would like some support with this, some coaching or some coaching tools, please contact us. Use us to think differently and get the results you are looking for.

Kevin MacDonald headshot To reach Kevin and Shelley, you can call (866) 822-3481 toll free or by e-mail at kmacdonald@dccnet.com or newreality@telus.net. We believe you could have your best year yet!


An Important Distinction

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 Blue Ribbon - Important Distinction

This fall we have had the chance to meet with a lot of Industry Leaders, Club Managers, Supervisors and staff. We have had a lot of people ask me to talk about a distinction that Shelley MacDougall and I have been talking about for the past few years as we coach people from the Club Industry.

We tell people that their club deserves their best. We tell people that their marriage and their families deserve their best. We say that their health deserves their best. We think their passions and their hobbies deserve their best.

The important distinction in the club industry is that a lot of people think their club deserves their all!

We believe that your club deserves your best, not your all.

We have met managers who would argue that giving your all is the best you can do for your club. There are others who believe their people should give their all, as if sucking every moment they can out of someone is a measure of success.

We often get calls to coach people right after they have lost their job. They are shocked they have lost their job when they gave their all to their club. We are with them in this moment of frustration, anger, grief, confusion, but we assure them that we will soon begin the process to help them give their best to the next opportunity, rather than their all.

It is often at this moment that a metaphorical light bulb lights up and they realize what they have done.

Your all gets in the way of your best!

The more extreme examples of this are when someone gets sick or dies, or when their marriage ends in divorce, or when important relationships in their lives are lost or diminished, or when they arrive each day at a job that they dread going to.

The more subtle examples are letting your body diminish from lack of attention, a loss of energy and enthusiasm, less harmony at home that makes it easier to stay at work, a disconnection with friends ,the concept of fun or not being as passionate a leader as you once were.

Giving your all hurts your club and it hurts you!

Giving your all diminishes your cognitive skills, your creativity, your patience, your energy, your productivity and your leadership abilities. Giving your all impacts your health, your relationships and perhaps most importantly your relationship with you. It can end up with you forgetting what your best is or even losing sight of the fact that being your best should be your goal.

What is your best?

This is a great and worthy question. It is one that we can help you to answer for you. We can tell you that your best changes from day to day and your best today may be different from your best 6 months from now. Defining and working toward your best could be your best defense against falling into the trap of giving your all.

What does your best look like?

When you are at your best you are operating in a way that almost looks effortless. You are doing what you are meant to do and you are doing it at your highest level. You are focused on the important and less on the urgent. You are focused and passionate. People can feel your energy and your authenticity. Your thinking is clear and your creativity is high. You inspire and you make an impact. You get more done in less time and you are conscious of the time suckers that you once let distract you. You are an example for the people you lead when it comes to health, the passions you have for the things that give you joy outside of work and happiness you experience. You experience Extraordinary experiences and you experience peace and quiet. You are happy to be in your own skin!

You are getting paid for results, not time!

The old belief that we exchange time for money may be at the core of this problem. There is a good chance that the first job you ever had was one where you were paid by the hour. Maybe on some level you are stuck in that thinking. Perhaps there is a connection in you between the amount you get paid and how many hours you should work. That is old thinking. You now get paid for the results you get not the hours you put in. The focus should be on how effective you are versus how much endurance you have.

In some ways you all can be easier than your best!

It might be easier to throw more time at your job than it is to get clarity about how to give your best and make it happen. If it is what you know, then you may believe there is no other way.

  • Giving your all is not sustainable

  • Giving your all is not an inspiring example

  • Giving your all gets in the way of your brilliance

  • Giving your all may indicate that you don’t know how to give your best

  • Giving your all has many costs

When we interviewed David Chag from The Country Club at Brookline for our Extraordinary Leader Program, he told our audience that at the beginning of each month he puts his personal and family commitments in his calendar first. He said there was a time when he found that all his time could be taken and it left little or no time for parts of his life that are very important.

You can make it a habit to give your all to your work at the expense of family, health and your life and you can still do your job. You just need to be very aware that you will just not be giving them your best.

If you are interested in getting clear on how to deliver your best, call us toll free at (866) 822-3481 for the complimentary coaching session that is a privilege of membership in CMAA.

Kevin McDonald HeadshotTo reach Kevin and Shelley you can call 1-866-822-3481 toll free. Kevin MacDonald kmacdonald@dccnet.com Shelley MacDougall newreality@telus.net

Member Engagement: From the Honeymoon ‘Til Death Do Us Part

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Wedding Rings - Member Engagement

What a fantasy for any club executive, having a member engaged from matriculation to death. Although it might not be realistic to have all of your members this long, what a great pinnacle to aspire. Let’s look at the different stages and tactics you could employ.

The Honeymoon: In the 1980’s, Club Corp identified the first 90 days as prime time to make that great first impression. Members are the most excited in enjoying for themselves as well as showing off their new club to their friends. Tactics to use:

  • The Orientation: This sets the tone. Besides reviewing rules, which will save your neophytes from embarrassment, this can be a fun-filled hour in which your Membership Director can have the new members meet staff and ask questions. This could be done over a meal - club’s treat.

  • Play with a Pro:  This is a great icebreaker. It can be with the Head Professional or one of the Assistants. Once again this is not a playing lesson, but it gives your professionals an opportunity to size up the new member’s game for future instruction. This is not just for golf, but could be for tennis, paddle tennis or squash as well.

  • Dinner with your Sponsors:  At Park Country Club, our incentive reward for sponsoring a new member is that the Club picks up a dinner for the new member and the sponsor. We want the sponsor to be active in introducing the new member to other members.

  • New Member Receptions: Depending on how quickly and at what volume you are matriculating in members, you can host these monthly, quarterly or annually. Usually the club picks up the tab for appetizers and drinks. Invite new members (obviously), sponsors, membership committee members and even the Board. At Park Country Club, we invite all members to this affair. Nothing like a good mixer to get them engaged.

  • Newsletter Recognition:  In case we forget, this is an egocentric business. A picture along with a bio if not already in the matriculation vetting process, reinforces the new member’s introduction to the club.

The Nitty-Gritty:  Here are tactics and stratagems that various clubs employ to help set the intangible bond.

  • The McDonalds Approach:  McDonalds in the 1970’s and 1980’s excelled in marketing to the children to hook the parents. One of the most powerful instincts in nature is the parental instinct. Have fun and creative children’s programming and the parents will follow them to the club. Some examples are: Camp outs, paintball/lasertron, visits from the zoo with exotic animals and American Girl fashion shows. The sky is the limit.

  • Travel Sports Programs:  This takes the swim teams and the interclub tennis to a whole new level. As an example when my son played competitive volleyball, we would see teams at national tournaments from the Outrigger Canoe Club from Hawaii. The New York Athletic Club is known for their various travel sports teams.

  • Today’s Your Birthday: Member’s special days, can be your special days. At Park Country Club, we send out a letter each month to the members or their spouses when they are celebrating their birthday. In that letter is a certificate for a free dinner at Park Club. Usually people celebrating birthdays do not dine by themselves. Now connect the dots. The Buffalo Club gives their members a complimentary bottle of wine when they dine at the club in celebration of their birthday. Other club’s utilize a similar promotion for anniversaries.

  • Club’s Within Club’s: At Park Country Club, the monthly Ladies Book Club meets. Each month they chose a book to read. Then they don’t read it, but have cocktails, appetizers and dinner to discuss it. What a scam to gather and socialize. The Buffalo Club features it First Monday Club, where on a monthly basis they engage renowned speakers to pontificate on different subjects. Other clubs within clubs examples are investment club and garden clubs.

  • Communications, Communications, Communications:  How do members stay engaged if they do not know what is happening at their club?  Clubs should have communication plans. Usually this strategy works off of the “Pasta Theory.” The “Pasta Theory” revolves around that if you throw enough pasta against the wall, some of it is bound to stick. Club Corp emphasized newsletters to have a plethora of pictures of members enjoying their club. Remember this is an egocentric business. At Park Country Club we have a video promotion monitor which shows upcoming events as well as most recent events. Members coming and going will stand at the monitor looking for their pictures. Also do not forget to employ posters (old school) as well as targeted e-mail blasts.

  • Commit to a Committee: Encourage members to serve. It opens many eyes for member to see what a sophisticated business their club truly is. This helps dispel the negativity which pervades our nation regarding distrust for governance. Who wants to leave a club with integrity?

Thank You Mr. Obvious: Now this area deals with the obvious, however if not satisfied this could lead to attrition.

  • Great Food and Beverage: This concept is easier said than done. Almost all clubs feature this amenity. A few observations on this are:

    • Do not have the chef dictate what the members should eat. Ego is not a driver. Member satisfaction is.

    • Let them tell you what they like. At Park Country Club we use member survey, comment cards and managers “touching” tables.

    • Provide variety: clubs cater to a variety of tastes. If you keep your menu narrow you will appeal to a narrow market. Variety can be promoted through: daily specials, frequent menu changes and larger selection of menu items.

    • Value:  Remember value is a function of price to quality. In sophisticated clubs great value is driven by great quality.

    • Have a great sense of urgency. Complacency will lead to member dissatisfaction.

  • Know Thy Members. This is a twofold concept.

    • Call a member by name at least three times every time they are in the club. Robert Dedman, founder of Club Corp, emphasized this behavior. 20 years later, his has a multi-billion dollar company.

    • As referenced above research your members frequently. This does not necessarily require an annual survey each year, however frequent mini surveys on key areas can shed light. These surveys should be no longer than five minutes. There are several national companies which provide this service. This research information is priceless.

  • Great Services Drives Facilities: Just like software in a computer drives the hardware buying decision, so do the services drive your facilities. As an example if your club requires an outstanding year-round tennis program, you are not going to have asphalt hard courts with lights. You would probably have har-tru courts with some domed/bubbled courts or indoor courts. You might even have junior sized courts to promote younger play.

  • When the Honeymoon is Over:  Service failures happen. You dread them. However, the proper service recovery can make a skeptic a lifelong fan. Be careful what you say because it will be used against you. Empathize with the member. Reflect back so they know you understand. Do not make any promises you cannot keep. Research the problem and respond back expediently so the member knows that you have a sense of urgency. Remember, it is better to lose a battle and not the war.

The Stages of Life: As our members age, different membership classifications are needed to meet their needs.

Senior Memberships: The company line is “we want to reward loyalty and longevity.” The real answer is “that we want to maintain a revenue stream as they move to fix incomes.” The problem was many clubs gave too deep of a discount and as members age out the dues line shrank. Today 20 percent to 30 percent discount (not 50 percent) will suffice.

Non-Resident Memberships: This is the first cousin to the Senior Membership. In other words, when people retire and move away, how do we still keep them engaged (paying dues)? The “snowbirds” who are away at least 6 months will be looking for value. The key limits for eligibility are out of state driver’s license and limited rounds of golf for the dues. Extra rounds may be traded out for greens fees.

Legacies: If a son or daughter joins, there further develops the bond. Legacies are the easiest prospective members to matriculate to your club. Discounts for legacies are viewed as an amenity and solute to the parents for their longevity. A trend today is that grandparents move to be near their grandchildren.

When Death Do Us Part:  Surviving Spouse membership once again helps maintain engagement to the club. In most cases dues are discounted in relation to club amenities. At Sycamore Creek Country Club, if the surviving spouse died then the child was offered the opportunity to inherit the membership. The pluses are this maintains the family’s engagement to the club. You also preserve that dues stream from the family. The downside is it compromises the ability to collect initiation fees. This is a very provocative concept.

In summary, member engagement is not rocket science. However, brainstorming with your Management Team and/or your Membership Committee may be productive. As with your body, any exercise will have its benefits.  

Brad Pollak, CCM, CCE is the General Manager of Park Country Club of Buffalo, in Buffalo, NY.

The Three Most Important Questions You Can Ask Before Having a Meeting

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Meeting Questions

Have you noticed that lately everyone seems to be in more meetings? Our voice messages tell others we are in meetings. Receptionists say that company employees are unavailable because they are in meetings. Some of you have just left a meeting or are on your way to another meeting while reading this blog.

Meetings can be cumbersome, expensive and time consuming. Meetings have become synergized as part of our corporate culture. Before your next meeting ask these three questions:

Question number one: What are alternatives to having a face-to-face meeting?

Sixty percent of meeting participants say their time in meetings is wasted. When you factor in attendee’s salaries, utilities and missed opportunities, meetings can cost $1,600 an hour! Phone conferences are an inexpensive way to get real time communication with multiple parties. Use an electronic posting with an intranet service. Send updates via email to ensure assignments, goals and expectations are clearly stated. If these methods are implemented, should a face-to-face meeting still be necessary, it can be more efficient.

Question number two: Has an agenda been sent to all participants? 

If you are conducting the meeting, send an agenda. If you are attending a meeting, request an agenda. The agenda includes the date, time and location of the meeting. The originator of the agenda can include how much time will be spent on each area. The agenda should arrive at least 48 hours in advance. Requesting confirmation from attendees ensures everyone coming is aware of the expectations.

Question number three: What is the plan for follow-up after the meeting?

The purpose of a meeting needs to be something more than having another meeting. For each point covered during a meeting, include a segment that asks, “What’s next?” This may include confirming a deadline, getting approval, transitioning to a new phase on a project or bringing closure. People will lose focus and energy if they feel an idea or project lingers. This will have a negative impact on their preference to attend future meetings. When people see movement on a project, they will be more inclined to get and stay involved.

Use these three points to maximize the efficiency of your next meeting.

Vincent Phipps
Communication Vip logoVincent Ivan Phipps, is owner of Communication VIP Training and Coaching, He is an award winning trainer and speaker. His expertise is in the areas of: Communication, Motivation, Leadership and Customer Service. www.NoUms.com

Presents vs. Presence

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There are certain times of the year that we may associate with presents. We give presents to show love and appreciation. We give presents to celebrate and honor someone or something. We do it to show we care or to let someone know we are thinking of them.
Another meaning of the word present is about time. It refers to this moment! This slice of time that is now! The present is wonderful and powerful gift. Many of our clients could tell you that “The present is perfect!” What they mean is that in this moment it is not about regretting the past or worrying about the future, it is about the ability to use this moment in the way they choose to use it. It is about seeing whatever is happening in this moment as a gift, whether it seems good or bad. We don’t know how many moments we are going to have, but we know we have this one.
This article isn’t about presents, it is about presence.
People may love to receive your presents, but the more profound gift might be your presence.
Are you interested in living an Extraordinary Life?
You are more likely to live an Extraordinary Life if, you intend to do precisely that. Although it might seem out of reach or something that other people do, you have the opportunity to decide. It starts with this moment as you read this. It will be followed by the next moment and if we are lucky hundreds of thousands or millions of moments after that. The important thing is what do we decide to do in those moments?  How do we decide to think in those moments? What do we decide to see and focus on? Are we open to seeing, feeling and receiving Extraordinary? Are we present enough in any moment to do any or all of those things?
We recently interviewed Doug Smith author of the book Happiness. He gave us so many wonderful ideas about Happiness, Leadership and Building Culture. He said that two most important things you can do if you want to be happy is to have a purpose and build strong meaningful relationships. He gave us a gem about building relationships that speaks to being present in this moment.
He called it 140 Bits of Information! 
He said the mind can process 140 bits of information per second. In a casual conversation we use about 40 bits per second. Often when we are in conversation with someone we are watching TV, checking our cell phone, thinking about the meeting we have tomorrow, thinking about something that went wrong yesterday, we take the remaining 100 bits of information and send it in a whole bunch of different directions. But, if you take your 100 percent capability and devote it to one person you will make a friend for life. Then he said “because nobody is doing it.”
Similarly, what if you devoted your full attention to what you are doing in any moment? What if today you experimented with giving whatever you are doing, whoever you are with, whatever you are observing, learning or eating 100 percent of your focus in that moment? There is a chance you will be more productive, make others feel more important, see things in a way you have never seen them before, understand and retain things more powerfully and notice that your food tastes a little better. 
There are many things you can do to live an Extraordinary Life! Working on being present is one of them!
In the book The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino, there is a line that says “when you are in the market place don’t think about your family and when you are with your family don’t think about the marketplace.”
Your presence is not just a gift to give to others; it is a gift you can give to yourself. Where ever you are, be there! Be present!
We live in a world that can be very busy. We can find ourselves running around trying fit into the agenda that others have set up for us. We can fill our days so full and be going in so many directions that although the volume of what we are doing may seem impressive, some analyses of the quality or even the relevance of what we are doing may be in order. 
Perhaps in the quiet time, if and when you find some quiet time, you could be present with you long enough to consider what the real important things are for you. Think about how much time you spend with those things. Think about whether or not in some ways you have abandoned those things. Get extremely clear about what you will choose to give your moments to.
When you decide what the most important things are to give your moments to, decide to give them fully and watch what happens.
Perhaps it is time for a course correction!
We have created some coaching tools that may support you in deciding where to focus your presence. One is called the Reinvention of You! Whether you decide to make a little “r” reinvention or a BIG “R” Reinvention, taking a slightly different version or you to where you go and what you do can make a significant difference.
Another tool is called “Designing an Extraordinary Year!” This tool can help you decide what to get clarity on what is important. 
We also have a tool that helps you to keep the important things in focus. If you would like any of these tools, just e-mail us and they will be our present to you!
We truly hope the world and the people you love will receive the gift of your presence

Kevin McDonald Headshot

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin at kmacdonald@dccnet.com or Shelley MacDougall at newreality@telus.net. Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.

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.