July 2019: Confronting Unconscious Bias

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07.11.19 Diversity Blog

Pictured here with Chairman Randy Ruder, CCM, CCE, and ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan

Scientists have shown that at any moment our brain must process 11 million pieces of information it receives and make various decisions. Any guess of how much of this we can actually consciously process and make decisions? Scientists say about 40 pieces, so the other 10,999,960 pieces are processed and handled by our brain unconsciously based upon our collective life experiences. Needless to say, we probably don’t get it right all the time! We are human and that means we are not perfect.

Over the past few years I have seen more and more information on blind spots or unconscious bias. In fact, I attended a half day exploration of this topic with my association peers this past month. It was eye opening and informative. We learned that those shortcuts our brains take to make unconscious decisions impact our personal life, our physical self, and our club life. In other words, these unconscious biases influence our behavior throughout our day. Sometimes these blind spots can lead to bad decisions. And while we all make them, we can reduce them through better awareness and leadership. I’m sharing this with you because I think it’s a topic all of us need to spend time on to increase our understanding.

These are the common types of unconscious biases according to the experts: 

1. Affinity or Similarity Bias: I gravitate to people who are like me and where I feel comfortable.
2. Perception Bias: I rely on my senses and the inputs of those senses and go with it.
3. Confirmation Bias: I look for qualities and behaviors that confirm my beliefs and reinforce them.
4. Halo (or Horns) My positive or negative view of someone carries forward to all future interactions with this person.
5. Prototype Bias: I stereotype and assume that someone is good or bad based on that stereotype.
6. Group Bias: We make decisions as a group and it eliminates my individual view.  

Guilty of the above! During the seminar we were divided into groups based on where we grew up: rural, suburban, or urban. We shared some of our life stories, but then were asked to share our views of one of the other areas. I grew up in a rural area and was in a group sharing about urban living. The conversation immediately went to urban areas being filled with crime, congested, dirty, etc. Meanwhile, the urban group spoke about all the wealth of opportunities they had from restaurants, sports, shopping, and modes of transportation, etc. They never talked about crime or filth or congestion. Ding! Ding! Ding! Unconscious bias exposed! I am guilty. But have you heard about those people who grew up in the suburbs ─ can you say cookie-cutter houses, strip malls, and station wagons/minivans?

There is so much in this area to explore. Here are a few resources: 

I hope this sparks some interest in your own leadership development journey and you/your team take some time to understand blind spots. No matter your age or your experience, you never stop learning. That is the foundational aspect of CMAA and I believe it is important we confront our blind spots.

Until next month… and a "P.S." for the urban dwellers, those of us who grew up in rural areas did lock our doors at night, did get a good education, and we didn’t all grow up on a farm. Just saying…

June 2019: Hospitality Trend Takeaways from Marriott

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06.18.19 - Marriott Global F&BHello CMAA members! CMAA is a wonderful community of sharing and vehicles like the Idea Fair at World Conference; member articles in Club Management magazine; and Chapter events are among the opportunities when you learn from each other. You leverage ideas from other clubs and make them your own. For association professionals, it is the same, as we share freely with each other in many of the same forums and leverage those ideas for your benefit.

This past month, I attended an event for key Marriott association customers. For me, this event helps me to see what is happening behind the scenes at Marriott regarding meetings, hotel properties, and other trends that we should know are possibly in our future. This year was particularly interesting as it was focused on the future of meetings and an early look at how Marriott is preparing for what’s next. I want to share a few of my takeaways because, as club professionals, I think it is important to always look at what others are doing in the hospitality area.

One of the first things I encountered was using facial recognition to check in. I pre-loaded my photo on the Marriott site (with permission) before arriving. Imagine the positive experience on arrival to be greeted by name by registration personnel and have my credentials and everything I needed for the next few days personalized and handed to me without ever providing my name. What a great experience! Facial recognition leveraging technology isn’t too far off for clubs (I know of at least one that already has experimented with it), hotels, and associations. As clubs pride themselves on knowing members by name, this is just the beginning of expanded technology use for the hospitality field. 

The experience got even more meaningful when, as part of the pre-work by the Marriott team, they found out a few things about me to surprise and customize my experience. They leveraged the intel from some Marriott representatives who know me, social media, and other online tools to build a deeper and richer profile of me that was used throughout my stay to surprise and engage me. Some might be offended and consider it to be like cyber-stalking, but I can tell you that sitting with other attendees there was genuine admiration for the organization that took the time to really understand and care. This seems to be taken right from the mindset and operations of clubs and associations, so now others are seeing the benefit that we already know. Leveraging technology to capture and implement it throughout the hospitality world has probably just scratched the surface.

As an attendee, we heard directly from Marriott on the challenges of the management of their 30 hotel brands as well as specific plans they have in the works. Here at CMAA, we are focused on one brand and trying to be consistent and carry that image throughout everything we do. Can you imagine operating 30 different brands under one umbrella?

One of the most interesting speakers was Marriott’s head of food and beverage across the entire Marriott organization – yes that is all 30 brands, 6,000 properties in 122 countries, generating one-third of the global systems revenue. Marriott is the largest operator of hotel-based F&B across restaurants, bars, and meetings/events in the world.

The F&B vision for Marriott, as I heard it was: make it local; make it an experience; release the creativity among chefs and properties; focus on the entire food experience from food to service to surroundings; and make it something that people want to share on social media and tell their friends about. He gave particular focus to creating special experiences that are shareable, wanting to tap into the trend of peer-to-peer marketing. I felt much of what he was presenting was leveraging some of the key components of what makes clubs special.

He showed several videos that were impressive and helped highlight some of the Marriott sizzle they want to put forward. He showed a new concept that seemed especially unique – the evolution of their “honors bar” or an entirely new bar/gathering area concept. He provided all the videos, as well as three-dimensional concept design for the new bar/gathering area, from his presentation, so instead of trying to explain the concepts presented, I want to share these insights with you as I think that clubs should see their hospitality counterparts in action. I hope you find them interesting:

Marriott Global F&B  

Please explore these sections as you see fit. Be sure to take a tour and move about the BarStudio and draw your own conclusions as to how this might operate. Consider is this a DOA concept, a concept that might have some worthwhile components, and does this have legs and create an opportunity for your club in the future? He indicated there is a prototype in one of those 6,000 hotels.

Speaking of prototypes, CMAA will host the 2019 Leadership/Legislative Conference at the Charlotte Marriott City Center ─ the chain’s first innovation lab hotel ─ to test some new concepts. Check it out and we hope to see all CMAA leaders in September.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan


May 2019: National Committees, National Golf Day, and Summits

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 05.21.19 Advocacy Committee

Hello CMAA members; so much has been happening the past few weeks that you may have missed something important, so let me hit some highlights:

Registration is now open for the new Capital Improvements Summit on October 15-17, in Chicago, IL.  Registration is capped at 60 members, so if you are interested be sure to register soon. My thanks to a lengthy list of CMAA members who have worked on the development of this program over the last 18 months.

CMAA has re-branded our very popular “Governance/Leadership Summits to Club Leadership Summits to better represent the broad focus of the program that ranges from club trends to club board issues. These summits, conducted in conjunction with Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace, have been shortened in length and the price has been reduced to ensure all club Boards and GMs can attend. Our next Summits will be offered in the fall – at Philadelphia Country Club in Gladwyne, PA, on September 5 and at Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte, NC, on September 26.  

CMAA’s Advocacy Committee and other CMAA members participated in National Golf Day on May 1 in Washington, DC. CMAA members joined members of groups including GCSAA, PGA, and NGCOA to meet with members of the Senate and Congress to discuss issues including H2-B Visa challenges, overtime rule challenges, and WOTUS repeal. On a personal note, I joined the WE ARE GOLF (WAG) leadership group and one of our meetings included a meeting with several Congressional Black Caucus members and staff to discuss golf. It was the first meeting of its kind for WAG and we had a very positive dialogue.

Eight CMAA Committees met in person in early May at National Committee Week. I am so appreciative of those who gave their time to participate. The passion in these meetings for CMAA is so strong and it is always wonderful to see a great exchange of ideas on CMAA’s behalf. This year, each meeting included a strategic session on thoughts from Committee members of opportunities to be included in the conversations for CMAA’s new Strategic Plan to be developed later this year after the Leadership/Legislative Conference. My sincere thanks to all those participating in CMAA committees. If you are interested in serving on a CMAA Committee, an open call for Committees occurs in late summer.

Speaking of a call for those interested, now is the time to express interest in running for National Board. Submission of information is due by the end of June.  More information is available on our website.

 Until next month,

April 2019: Exploring the Club Resource Center

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Hello CMAA members!

On a monthly basis, I highlight CMAA news, activities, programs, and resources that I think are valuable to you. This month our Club Resource Center (CRC) is my item of focus. CRC is a subscription service that was established to provide the next level of resources for CMAA member-managed clubs. This operates independently of your CMAA dues 4.24.19 CRCand at a cost of about $100 per month for the club with access for all club employees. Comprised of online staff training courses, CMAA’s research and survey reports, and an extensive resource library, the CRC provides a comprehensive collection of tools to assist in day to day club operations.

CMAA’s core is education. Having a properly trained staff is vital to the success of your club and key to your members’ club experience. Nobody wants a bad member experience to be the result of a lack of staff training. From customer service and safety, to sexual harassment and club-specific food and beverage courses, CRC provides a broad range of programs to satisfy your staff training needs. And we are continuously adding and enhancing content to meet your demands! For example, we recently added a new sexual harassment course that specifically fulfills the requirements for a New York state law that becomes effective this month.

In addition to staff training, CRC houses all CMAA’s research, white papers, and annual survey reports. In recent years, CMAA’s Research Department has explored critical topics such as generational differences and recruiting hourly employees. Having access to and using research and data is vital in your management role. The annual Finance & Operations and Compensation & Benefits Reports are an important component of CMAA’s offerings. By taking advantage of the data collected through these surveys, you are better equipped to make data-driven decisions. As an exclusive benefit for CRC subscribers, any CMAA member that completes the survey and is also a subscriber gains access to an interactive data portal in addition to the full research report. Through this portal, CRC users can dissect the data based on selected variables to provide the clearest picture of your club’s operations. Having this information is critical to informed decision making.

Finally, CRC stores all CMAA-related resources under its Resource Library. These resources include a full complement of books and publications designed to assist you in your daily operations. You can find job descriptions, Board and Committee orientation materials, and much more. As a subscriber, you may also  upload documents and videos specific to your club for easy access for your entire staff.

CMAA has worked hard to fill the Club Resource Center (CRC) with essential tools for you as a club management professional and to benefit any of your staff. If you are a CRC subscriber, thank you. If not, please consider scheduling a demo, signing up at www.clubresourcecenter.org, or contacting Alexa Levendis at our National Headquarters at 703-739-9500 for further information. I would truly appreciate it.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

March 2019: Full Speed Ahead

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03.12.19 flatjeff and RhettGreetings CMAA! I’m writing this blog excerpt on the plane ride home from a very successful World Conference in Nashville, TN. Attendance was up over last year. Members told me they received a lot from the educational programming; commented on the quality of the Club Business Expo; felt part of a very vibrant CMAA community; were very pleased with the city; and had a great deal of fun at our events, like the Jake Owen concert at Ryman Auditorium. I have a good feeling that this is one of those Conferences that attendees will talk about for a while. It was fun to be part of it.

I sincerely appreciate those attending and those who helped in various ways – including the CMAA Tennessee Volunteer Chapter and the CMAA speakers who gave their time to prepare and speak at the event. My sincere thanks to each of you. It takes a community to create such an event. CMAA is indeed that vibrant community.

Now on to other things happening in 2019 within our Association that I touched on during the State of Your Association presentation:

CMAA’s 1- or 2-day Summit programs will expand this year with a Communications Summit this spring and an expected Capital Improvements Summit in the fall.
Our very popular Governance Summit co-presented with the team at Kopplin, Kuebler & Wallace has been revised with a more compact schedule and cost-effective registration rate ($150 per person).

The focus on CMAA member segments will continue to grow as we will launch online communities in 2019, which will allow us to improve and connect our special interest groups, such as the International Wine Society, Women in Club Management, Yacht Clubs, and Young Professionals.

We will continue the work from last year on the critical updating of our Certified Club Manager (CCM) program including text book review, Business Management Institutes (BMI) program review, and exam updating.

Development toward a new Strategic Plan will begin this year with input for that plan coming from CMAA national and chapter leaders (via Leadership/Legislative Conference), member communities, a member survey, and two task forces – National/Chapter Alignment and the newly created Student Development Task Force.

And please remember CMAA’s upcoming programs in 2019: the Mid-Management Conference, the Leadership/Legislative Conference, and the National Student Education Conference.

So, as you can tell, there is no mold growing under the feet of your National staff team! While we all may be sleeping a bit more for a few days after some long days at the World Conference, there is lots of work to do and we’ll be back and refreshed quickly.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

February 2019 - The 2018 Annual Report Highlights

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02.10.19 Annual ReportThe countdown to Nashville is on! I can’t wait to see so many of you in a few weeks. Since January 1, CMAA has added five more hotels to our room block, so Nashville will definitely feel CMAA’s presence throughout World Conference. I hope you are ready for informative education, wonderful networking opportunities, plentiful new and repeat companies to visit in the Club Business Expo, and a whole lot of Nashville hospitality.

One of my favorite times of the year is the opportunity I have to stand before you at the World Conference’s Opening Business Session and provide you with a the “State of Your Association.” It is also at this time of year, we release our annual report and audit report looking back on the past year. You can access both at www.cmaa.org/annualreport.

Our 2018 highlights include:

We changed our name on July 1, 2018, to the Club Management Association of America, a decision overwhelmingly confirmed by CMAA members.

We began a process that will be completed by the middle of 2019 to create a unified CMAA brand across CMAA National and Chapters with a consistent CMAA logo.

Late in 2018, the Club Spa & Fitness Association (CSFA) became a subsidiary of CMAA, in much the same manner as The Club Foundation (CF) currently exists with a separate Board and focus benefiting club professionals.

Financially, we had another healthy year with $400,000 of positive net excess. The Board has set aside one half of any excesses going forward in a reserve to help offset some of our mortgage ballon payment when it comes due early in the next decade.

Our membership held constant and while we lost some student members, we gained Professional members, as we had 742 club management professionals join this past year. You will hear more on a task force related to students at World Conference.

The Club Resource Center continues to grow as an additional fee-based resource for clubs. At a cost of about $100 per month, clubs access staff training, club financial, operational and compensation information, as well as many other online resources.

World Conference in San Francisco was very successful with a growth of about 10 percent in attendance and almost 300 first-timers. Education sessions were well-rated and half were first time CMAA conference speakers.

More than 700 CMAA members attended 19 Business Management Institutes (BMI) this past year. We also developed a new BMI Sports and Recreation elective which launched in early 2019 in Scottsdale, AZ.

There were almost 200 attendees for the four Governance/Leadership Summits in 2018. CMAA’s summits, generally shorter formats of one to two days, have been so successful, that in 2019 we are launching a Communications Summit in March in Atlanta, GA, and a Capital Improvements Summit in fall 2019.
Almost 2,000 members listened to one of CMAA’s more than two dozen webinars during the year.

One of our big operational changes in 2018 was the migration to a new Association Management System (AMS) that sets the stage for future incremental changes and improvements to member’s online CMAA experience.

Last, but certainly not least, we developed and launched a CMAA Fellows program to recognize those leaders who have given back to CMAA and our profession and are those distinguished CMAA leaders who members look to as some of the best in the profession. Our inaugural class of CMAA Fellows will consist of 10 members who will be honored at the 2019 World Conference.

Without question, 2018 has been a busy year for CMAA’s leaders, staff, and our CMAA National Board. And there is no stopping the CMAA flywheel as members, Board, and staff continue to partner to push CMAA forward for you!

Finally, CMAA continues to evolve without raising dues (since 2012). I hope you like how CMAA is evolving on your behalf over the past few years and encourage you to tell us in our current member satisfaction survey. My thanks to everyone for your support and assistance, particularly the CMAA National staff team, for making 2018 a success!

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan

P.S. For those traveling to Nashville to be part of World Conference, I look forward to seeing you soon.

January 2019: Nashville Accommodations Update and Upcoming Membership Survey

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 01.23.19 Nashville

Hello CMAA members and Happy 2019! Last month I shared with you the CMAA plans we have for this year.  As I write this monthly blog, I am in Phoenix, AZ, for CMAA’s new BMI Sports & Recreation Management elective. CMAA’s World Conference in Nashville is up next month and I want to share a hotel update.

The enthusiasm for the 2019 World Conference and Club Business Expo in Nashville, TN, has been tremendous! You have been registering at such a pace – more than four to six weeks ahead of normal trends – that hotel rooms have become a challenge. As with any conference, CMAA strives to hold enough rooms to ensure members can have rooms without obliging the association to pay for those rooms if they are not filled. For World Conference in Nashville, we originally contracted with three hotels for CMAA, with the largest room block at the Omni Nashville. Our total rooms were equivalent to what we normally book for a World Conference. Earlier this month, we ran out of rooms at the three hotels for those who would want to stay for the length of the event.  We have added additional rooms at several other hotels to give CMAA members additional options.

Not all conference attendees use the CMAA room block and some make other plans. There are plenty of hotels and options in Nashville, but there are also two other conferences being held around the dates of our event. That is why hotel rooms are scarce, especially if you are planning to arrive early, as other conferences have already booked those rooms. Fortunately, Nashville is a compact city so most hotels are easily accessible to the Music City Convention Center. Do not despair as there are options. In addition, we usually have attrition and cancellations due to club business conflicts and member change of plans. Hotel rooms are also likely to become available in our CMAA room block in the coming weeks. Our providers at ConferenceDirect always have the most up to date information on availability and can be accessed online or via telephone at 844-572-7253 (available 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. EST). I am excited and appreciate your enthusiasm for Nashville. We can’t wait to welcome you next month.

Before I end this month, I have one request of you. One of our activities for this year is to create a 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. To start this effort, we want to listen to you. Please take a few moments to answer the Membership Pulse Survey that will be released by the end of January, as this will help us to understand the challenges you are experiencing at your club, what you might be looking for from CMAA, and broadly help us to begin to frame some of our larger strategic issues for discussion. As we build to the Leadership/Legislative Conference in September where we will co-create a strategic plan, this first effort of listening to you is so critical. Five years ago, when we began a similar journey, almost one third of CMAA members responded. Your answers set the stage for CMAA’s evolution over the past five years. I hope you will take the time to set CMAA up for strategic success again by answering this brief survey.

Until next month,

Jeff Morgan