Leading in Challenging Times
- March 20, 2020
- COVID-19, Featured, Governance, Insight, Latest News, Private Clubs, Strategy, Success
The first in a series of communications to help leaders of private clubs address challenges confronting their businesses and their employees.
For many club leaders, the coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike any other in recent times. When governing and managing through a crisis, speed, collaboration, and communication are key to responding effectively.
In times of crisis, leaders confront issues and decisions whose urgency is matched only by their complexity. Although this pandemic puts us in uncharted waters, there are lessons we can draw from previous crises. Underpinning each of these lessons is the importance of trust among our stakeholders: members, guests, staff and communities.
Leaders’ success in building and maintaining trust, while guiding their clubs through difficult times, is directly related to three key areas: speed, collaboration and communication.
3 Keys for Leading Through Crisis
1. Speed. We’ve seen the speed with which this virus is spreading across the globe and its impact on lives and businesses. Leaders must do their best to keep pace with their decision-making or risk the consequences of health and safety issues as well as a perceived lack of urgency.
Leaders who act quickly and decisively to frame for their stakeholders how these dynamic circumstances affect their club - and the club’s plans to address each challenge - will build trust and distinguish themselves.
2. Collaboration. In a crisis, leaders’ most valuable allies are those who share their goals and have a vested interest in the same positive outcomes. Collaboration among directors, managers, staff, members and community leaders that leads to efficient decision-making is critical.
These diverse perspectives will help to ensure that key segments and their interests are informing a stable and representative decision-making process.
3. Communication. Effective communications – consistent, honest and transparent – help members, guests and staff remain calm and retain the sense of community that members hold dear. Clear, concise and compassionate communications help quell fears and foster positive contributions from all stakeholders. Just as the airlines have learned to keep passengers informed during long and frustrating delays, leaders should do the same in times of crisis.
Visualizing the Future to Guide the Present
We realize that how you perform and how people perceive your performance may seem a distant priority amidst more pressing needs. But visualizing the ultimate outcome – in this case, how and when you see the club returning to more normal conditions – will help you triage less urgent matters and frame your immediate approach to critical priorities.
Having a vision for what you want the outcome to be, even when it feels like you can’t see beyond today, let alone to the end of a crisis, is a proven strategy among the most successful leaders.
Leaders Distinguishing Themselves
We are currently witnessing incredibly swift, intelligent and impactful leadership across our industry:
- Leaders are working with local, regional and national authorities to adjust or close their operations in line with specific recommendations or requirements.
- Leaders are closing their indoor amenities and keeping outdoor activities available in ways that adhere to the social distancing recommendations or requirements, including to-go orders, walking-only golf access, and exaggerated tee time and court booking time intervals.
- Leaders are adjusting their clubs’ rules and restrictions to compensate for the loss of indoor operations, especially for disadvantaged membership groups.
- Leaders are closing their doors entirely and taking the member experience – the sense of community and culture – virtual by hosting online chat forums and conducting webinars to keep members and staff informed about ways the pandemic is affecting their club and its operations.
- Leaders are assembling resource libraries for their stakeholders that provide factual, balanced and rationale perspective. In times like these, it is incredibly reassuring to know that as an industry, we are all working together to support one another.
We are incredibly proud of our professional association partners who are helping to lead the way as valuable sources of information. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources and lean on your friends, colleagues and industry partners. Like us, they want to help.
As an industry, we are fortunate to have such an incredible support network. Below are links to various Covid-19 resource centers:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Centers
- Club Management Association of America (CMAA)
- The Boardroom Magazine
- Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
- National Club Association (NCA)
- National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA)
- United States Golf Association (USGA)
- USGA Regional Agronomists
- Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA)
- Canadian Society of Club Managers (CSCM)
- National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA Canada)
- British and International Golf Greenkeepers Associations (BIGGA)
- England Golf
- Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA)
- The R&A
And because we can’t (and shouldn’t) worry about this crisis all the time, here’s one way to get away from it all: catch up on the 25 Netflix series that TechRadar says we all “need to watch right now.”
Stay safe and healthy and watch for another crisis leadership update next week.