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The Coaching Dept. Blog

Remember Not to Forget

What an Extraordinary 2023 CMAA Conference! It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to meet new ones. What an opportunity to renew friendships, experience world-class education, and recharge our energy for another year. What a grand occasion to seize all that the club industry offers and to soak up a community like no other.

It’s been a couple of weeks since returning home to the brisk pace of daily club life, and daily life. What were your Conference highlights? What did you learn? How has it moved you? How has it moved your team? How has it moved your club?

It’s interesting to observe that most participants of any conference are jazzed and filled to the brim when departing the event. When they return to their respective clubs, they bring a new level of energy and ideas. So much so, as history dictates, those that stayed behind will be inundated with the plethora of ideas that the manager brings home. The new wisdom and notions are abundant. “We can do this, and this, and implement that…” proclaims the excited Conference-infused manager. There is so much to take in for the stay-at-home team that they are overwhelmed with how to implement all these new ideas and plans. As excited as everyone is, the day-to-day creeps in and the greatest of plans often end up as distant memories. There are always two forces at play when returning from a conference.

Enter the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.

Nineteenth century German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus shows in his memory model how learned information is forgotten over time—unless we actively try to retain it. Without review we are likely to retain only 60 percent of information after three days, and in expanding his model to 30 days, it shows that most of what we learned is forgotten. Thankfully, the model also proves that if material is reviewed regularly, we are much more likely to retain it. What this means for conference goers is that the more we connect with the key concepts learned, the more likely that we will remember them. And if we remember them, it’s more probable we will do something with our new ideas.

Next, a reminder of the Law of Diminishing Intent.

The late Jim Rohn brought this idea about in his work, and it was then expanded upon by John Maxwell in his books. This simple law states that the longer you wait to do something, the greater the odds are that you will never do it. This can show up in the form of being overwhelmed and not making the time, or it might be waiting until the product is perfect before rolling it out. In other words, if we wait too long, we likely won’t implement our learnings and ideas. On a more positive note, if the manager can get the team excited about one or two ideas and implement them soon upon arriving home from Conference, they avoid the pitfalls of diminishing intent.


It’s Not Too Late!

Although Conference is a few weeks in the past, you are in charge of its impact. Here are a few ideas to keep Conference learnings alive:

  • Brain Dump! Gather your notes and resources into one place (or pull them off your shelf if they have already found their new home there). Take a few minutes to organize and prioritize your most important takeaways. Create a simple action plan to include some of these topics in your daily learnings. Just 15 minutes a day can refresh your memory and help you to put your ideas into action. It might be as simple as reviewing virtual handouts, listening/watching recordings, or reading a recommended book or article. Create the habit.
  • Take Action! Put one thought or idea into action now.
  • Share with Others! Create a brief presentation for your leadership team and/or your Board. Share key learnings and discuss ideas that your team can implement.
  • Connect – in person or on social! Interact with other Conference participants—at your club or in your network group. Revisit some of the learnings. Find out what other managers learned and are implementing from Conference. Borrow the ideas that may work for you. Keep sharing the learning and continue the discussions on social.
  • Use CMAA resources and contacts! Ask questions. Be curious and purposeful in your conference follow up. Get ready to learn even more.

Always remember not to forget what moved you, what you learned, and what you and your team can implement to make an impact at your club. Don’t wait for the perfect timing or the product to be flawless. Simply start somewhere. Start now.

Please reach out to your coaches. We would be delighted to support your success.

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. If you would like to take advantage of your CMAA Coaching benefit, just call toll free 1-866-822-3481 to set up a coaching session.

About the author

Shelley MacDougall

Shelley MacDougall is dedicated to creating leaders in life! Whether she is coaching one on one, facilitating learning for groups, or delivering keynote presentations, Shelley’s dynamic style and compassion for people are undeniable.

Since 2006, Shelley has been coaching CMAA/CMAC and club industry professionals, supporting them to reach new heights in their careers and in life. Along with her business partner, Kevin MacDonald, they have coached and worked with thousands of industry professionals in their combined 30 years of coaching. Their popular program, The Extraordinary Leader Program, continues to develop leaders at all levels of private clubs and beyond.

After obtaining her business degree at The Ohio State University, Shelley has invested the past 30 years in training and leading others. Fifteen years of experience inside the private club and hospitality industries equipped her to venture out to connect with organizations from a different perspective. As a coach, Shelley’s passion is developing leaders and creating cultures of elevated service. You can find more about her work at

Shelley believes that “Success is on the Inside”! She is committed to Elevating Lives and Organizations… Every Connection, Every Conversation, Every Day.

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