Mastering Social Media as a Millennial

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Social media - Phipps

According to Forbes, by the end of 2017, Millennials will make up 38 percent of today’s workforce. By 2020 (a mere 13 years from today), they will make up approximately 70 percent.  

Millennials are at the apex of the social media movement. A Boomer may say “who needs social media?”  A Gen-Xer may argue that social media has its place but cannot replace the personal touch. A Millennial has always had social media as part of their world, and therefore they see it being connected with their professional future.

Boomers, remember when your parents may not have had a car yet, but you could see your future with a car? Gen-X, remember when your house had one phone now you see every person you know needs their own personal phone. Then can you blame Millennials? They see Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram as the same type of development tools. 

Our office conducted a generational communication experiment. With almost 100 total participants, we had an almost perfect disparity of having approximately 33 percent of each generation being represented. Ninety-one percent of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964, or ages 53 to 71) said if social media existed during their teens and twenties, they would have used it. Of the Boomers involved in the survey, 79 percent said they were currently active on at least two different social media platforms. Those same Boomers had similar feelings about what they are seeing from the social media sites from today’s Millennials. If you are a Millennial, consider what Gen-Xers and Boomers are saying about the Millennial generation when they look at your social media pages:

  • Stop taking selfies for your professional pictures.
  • Stop taking mirror pictures for your professional profiles and avatars.
  • Stop making negative comments about others.
  • Stop taking pictures with negative images.
  • Stop posting personal content on LinkedIn. 
  • Start dressing up for your pictures (at least from the neck up).
  • Start grooming your hair and face.
  • Start smiling.
  • Start sharing positive positing.
  • Start sharing professional content on LinkedIn.

Whether you are a Boomer, Gen-Xer or a Millennial, you have an opportunity to be mentored by those with more experience. Use your influence to embrace opportunities to be a future mentor to the next generation of leaders. 

Phipps 2017

Vincent Ivan Phipps, M.A., CSP, is the owner and CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of Communication VIP Training and Coaching. He specializes in motivational keynotes, interactive workshops, and individual coaching. Vincent’s areas of expertise include: Communication, Motivation, Leadership, Customer Service, Conflict Resolution and Speech Coaching. Vincent has earned the highest earned honor awarded by the National Speakers Association called the Certified Speaking Professional. This recognition has only been given to 12 percent of the world’s best speakers and trainers. 

Passion vs. Going through the Motions

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Passion vs. Going through the Motions

Our job as coaches is to bring the best out in people. We help them get clear on what they want in life. We help them to determine why they are doing what they do. We challenge them to dream bigger and live the life they design. We help them become more self-aware. We help them to see the gifts, the genius and the uniqueness that moves them toward their design. We help them see the beliefs, the language and the habits that maybe getting in the way of bringing their design to life. We encourage, we acknowledge, we challenge the people we are privileged to work with. We celebrate their successes and we celebrate the failures that help move them toward their goals.

One of the keys to their success is often inspiring, creating or reacquainting them with the passion for what they do. Extraordinarily successful people are passionate about what they do. Having said that I realize that someone may contact me to say “I am very successful and I hate what I do!” Well congratulations in advance for proving me wrong and I am very sorry to hear that about you.

When we are in our passion, life is better. When we are in our passion, we don’t know where the time went. When we are in our passion, we tend to work on technique, competence and confidence. When we are in our passion we look better. We are energized and fulfilled. 

The extraordinary people we work with are in their passion at work, at home, at the gym, in their hobbies and in their solitude. 

There are also a lot of potentially extraordinary people who are just going through the motions. Perhaps you have seen them. It is possible that you know some. Maybe you are one. Perhaps you are a leader who is leading some.

Going through the motions is complacency. Going through the motions is lethargy. Going through the motions is uninspiring. Going through the motions impacts a reputation. Going through the motions affects credibility. Going through the motions can result in loss. Going through the motions can suck the life out of you. 

If you are going through the motions, or if you are leading, coaching or mentoring someone who is going through the motions, you owe it to yourself and everyone to find or help others find passion. 

So let’s talk about passion for a minute. If you are a passionate person, you might wonder why would someone not have things they are passionate about in their lives? Why would someone do a job they don’t like? Why would you live a life without passion?

In coaching people, I have heard many reasons. Some people don’t know that it is possible. Some people don’t think they have permission. Some people have a belief that work is not something that you are supposed to enjoy. Some people have not had models of passionate people in their lives. Some people don’t know what it is. Some people think they can’t afford to give up what they don’t enjoy to explore a passion. Some people will be criticized by other passionless people if they get engaged and passionate. This could be describing some people you lead, but let’s consider for a moment that it might describe you. It doesn’t have to mean that you are without passion, but maybe there are some areas of your life where a lack of passion, a blind spot or some level of complacency is getting in your way. Maybe you have been going through the motions. Maybe it is time to engage. 

You can decide to get passionate about something. When you do, you focus on it, you spent time with it, you have fun with it, you change the way you think about it, feel about it and act upon it. You begin to feel proud of it. You can also decide to not be passionate about it. You could delegate it to someone else. Home repairs and doing your taxes might fall into this category. There are people who are passionate about doing those things. 

In some cases you may consider letting go of the thing you are not passionate about. Some people find it hard to let go of a job they are not passionate about because of the money, the geography or not knowing what else they could get. The truth is that many people who are just going through the motions will find the decision to leave their job will not be theirs. 

An interesting phenomenon about coaching is that the people who want to be coached tend to be passionate people. It is so much fun working with people with passion. Imagine what it would be like if you had a whole team of people who were like that. Passionate people can’t wait to start another day. They bring their passion wherever they go and you can feel it. Many of them are at the top of their game and it is fun to watch. They have spent thousands of hours working, playing and developing technique in their passion. They bring an energy that inspires others. What we find very inspiring are the people who seem to bring passion to all parts of their lives. They are passionate about their work, they love the person they are sharing their life with, they are passionate parents and sometimes grandparents, they are passionate about health and food and pleasure and others. Perhaps I just described you!

Maybe there is one of the areas of your life that has not been receiving your passion lately. If so you have a chance to decide.

The point is, you and the world deserve a you, that is living a passionate life. If you are a leader, please help others do the same. If you or the people you lead need some support in doing this, please get some support. Maybe you should call your coach!

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

Checklist for a New Manager - Revisited

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Checklist for a New Manager

“Checklist for a New Manager” first appeared in the March-April 1994 issue of Club Management Magazine. It was my first attempt at writing and I was fortunate to have it published. I had no expectation that it would be included in industry resources and that over twenty years later, managers would still be using it as a reference tool in tackling their new responsibilities. Like those one-hit wonders of the ‘70s and ‘80s, I probably should have just quit while I was ahead.

While much, if not all, of the original content is still relative, I have been asked over the years to update it for today’s challenges. The meaningful content of the original article is included herein, so if you still have a ragtag copy, you can comfortably dispose of it in favor of this one. Hopefully, this will be better than most sequels.

The first checklist was a product of reflection on the first 90 days in a new position. I have had more than my share of those first ninety days, but each one has been rewarding in and of itself. Even my last set was fraught with the wide range of emotions that go along with walking through those new doors for the first time. The excitement of starting the new position, the anxiety of the increased responsibilities and living up to the persona that you established during the search and interview process at times all seem to be in conflict with each other. Despite your training, learning and years of experience, it remains a bit disconcerting, whether it is your next posting as the seasoned chief paid executive or your transition from assistant manager to the role you aspired to have. Whatever the reason that prompted your move, it is human nature to question that decision. “Buyer’s remorse” will lead you to thoughts of why you left the security, familiarity, fit and your own personal standing in your last club, to hit the restart button in unfamiliar surroundings. Take stock of the fact that you were ready for a new challenge, or you wouldn’t have been looking in the first place.

So here are those personal strategies, developed over 35 years and seven clubs, that have helped ease the transition and ensure some measure of success. Updated for the new millennium and the Millennials that came with, they have been just as effective today in securing eight years of tenure at Birmingham Country Club as they were in 1994.

Club Culture
If there is one thing I have learned since the first rendition of this checklist, it is an appreciation for club culture and just how much that differs – and what it means – from club to club. It is the cornerstone of the foundation you will build in your new role. Understanding it, appreciating it, is vital to your success and longevity. 

It is a topic of considerable debate. In one of those debates with a venerable long-tenured and well respected manager, his position was that it takes a manager roughly seven years to really fully accomplish both the understanding and appreciation. I would advocate that you have 18-24 months. If you haven’t wrapped your arms around it by then, you’ll be back referring to this checklist and not by your own choice.

The decisions you make will invariably affect that culture, so they should contemplate that effect as part of the vetting process. Your understanding and appreciation will grow with time, but you absolutely cannot make effective decisions and enhancements to the club without consideration of potential collateral damage to the club’s culture. You cannot be expected, nor should you expect it of yourself, to be able to fully grasp this concept upon arrival, or even in your first 90 days. Neither can you wait to gain this understanding before making decisions. You will eventually become the guardian of this culture, but you are not going to get your head around it for several months – even a year or two. Until then you are going to have to develop a support system for vetting your decisions, programs, and initiatives. Thus it is paramount that you find a trustworthy surrogate who can function almost as your conscience. This person can be anyone from the club’s president or search committee chair, to a senior level department head or two with decades of combined experience in the club. But you absolutely must be able to trust them implicitly. 

Having a solid communication strategy will be key in the transition. You are going to need to communicate to and with the many constituencies you will have – board directors, committee members, club members, employees, department heads – and the community outside the club as well. Each one is going to require its own structured approach. How often and in what form you communicate with them will in part be driven by both the club’s culture and your management style. Both should carry equal weight. After all, those that hired you no doubt contemplated how the latter would fit in the former. 

A well-organized all staff meeting should be high on your list of priorities. This is a critical first step in the introduction of the new manager to the staff. After all, none of the other constituencies noted above will be more critical to your success than this one. Define your leadership qualities in a controlled environment from the onset.

As painstaking as it might seem, meeting with each employee privately after a review of their work history can prove extremely beneficial. In those meetings, individual goals and objectives should be discussed and how they are (or are not) aligned with the organizational goals of the club. You should also seek each team member’s perspective on current challenges and suggested remedies. Some will be frivolous, but never underestimate their importance without contemplation. 

Initiate weekly, well-structured senior staff meetings at a regular time if they do not already exist. Distribute written agendas or previous meeting notes in advance so that everyone comes prepared. Use these meetings as a forum to convey your message and club information thoroughly and consistently. It will also be a valuable vehicle in gaining insight into the communication and organizational abilities of your management staff. 

Communicate with your board. A weekly written status report with both an “in review” and “look ahead” feature will keep them abreast of organizational activity and issues. Visit each board director in their office and get input and feedback. Establishing good lines of communication should be an early priority and will keep transition problems to a minimum. Don’t forget to meet with each committee early on as well. Some can often be as empowered as the board. Also find out if there are any “renegade” unofficial committees at the club. Difficult situations can be diffused early if you can identify the source of the discontent and are able to address it.

One of the most valuable sources of information about your new assignment carries the same weight today that it always has – circulating through the club. You will gain a unique perspective just by observing others in the club surroundings. Talk with each and every person you encounter – from the bridge ladies to the dishwashers. Get to know your members as quickly as possible. Work the floor every day and introduce yourself to the members you encounter (versus having one of your staff members introduce you). Like management by walking around, visibility isn’t old school – it’s THE school. No one expects you to be the maître d’, but they expect to see you in and around the club. How else are you going to ascertain what is taking place on your watch.

Organizational Structure
There are two components to your organizational structure – governance and operations. Obviously, you will have a more immediate impact on the operational side. Evaluate the operational structure and determine if it makes sense for what you are trying to achieve. This is where you get the right people in the right seats on the proverbial bus. Identify the club’s weaknesses. For example, if you have a facilities manager that is very strong logistically but enormously weak at housekeeping, unless there are other circumstances that would mandate a change, it may make sense to hire an executive housekeeper to shore up the weak area. More often this will require a reassignment of staff to maintain budget parameters for payroll dollars. Review staff organizational charts for each department and changes to those should be done in concert with your senior manager. They will be the ones that will have to execute your vision. Make certain they have the proper resources to do so. 

Establish Your Credibility 
And do it early. Outlast everyone on your staff for the first three months. Be the first one in and the last one to leave. In talking with successful managers they will tell you that this remains just as important today as it has ever been. It shows your staff that you care as much as they do. And yes, there is still that smug satisfaction that comes with having your sleeves rolled up and on your second cup of coffee as the staff begins to roll in for the day. Don’t forget to do a thorough inspection of the entire club daily, ensuring that it is ready for the extension of hospitality to your members and their guests.

Unless the situation is a drastic one, don’t rush to implement change. As the new manager, you will see things you want to change immediately, but go slowly at first. Changes made too quickly, or simply for the sake of change itself, can upset the routine and rhythm of the club. The circumstances of the management change that brought you to the club may dictate immediate action. But changes made on impulse will only have short term benefits; long term benefits are the result of careful thought and planning. 

You are also going to have to do a lot of research, and that is what the rest of this article is about. Each bullet point represents an area or item worthy of your investigation and review; not only to build your working knowledge of the club’s history, but to assess existing internal controls, processes and the like. 

The checklist and this associated narrative are not meant to be an all-encompassing plan, nor an exhaustive resource for your transition. They are intended as a thought-provoking (both strategic and tactical) aid that should assist any manager facing the challenge of managing a new club. 

Basso HeadshotJoseph F. Basso, MCM, CCE
General Manager / Chief Operating Officer
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telephone 248.644.4111
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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 or 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 or 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 or We believe you could have your best year yet!


An Important Distinction

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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 Shelley MacDougall

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.