This week GGA Partners continues its series of communications to help leaders of private clubs address challenges confronting their businesses and their employees with three perspectives from the front lines of club management.
Today: Jan Bloemraad, CEO, The Glencoe Club and The Glencoe Golf & Country Club, Alberta, Canada.
In times like these, the impulse is to act. To take decisive action in response to the enormous challenges the coronavirus has placed at our feet.
But before you do – before you rally your team and charge into battle – my advice is to step back and make sure you have an effective plan in place. That’s what we did at our club, and the decision is paying dividends.
As the pace at which the coronavirus pandemic has picked up speed, it has become increasingly more challenging for business leaders to devote precious time on constructing and reconstructing a response plan. But in our experience, whatever time is lost while planning is more than compensated for in making sure your actions are the right ones.
In our planning process, we have identified three key elements that can have the greatest positive impact on focusing your team, making swift decisions and maintaining the trust of staff and members.
3 Critical Elements to Planning in Times of Crisis
1. Objective Setting.
There is never a more important time for setting objectives and goals than when planning a crisis response. Goals should be focused on immediate-term, short-term and longer-term time horizons.
Our team has organized our goals during this pandemic around five key pillars: communications, which must be open and honest; administration, operations, human resources and innovation.
2. Response Teams.
In times of crisis, an effective approach to organizing involves the creation of special response teams to ensure there is accountability, focus and resources assigned to every primary action required.
It is important to remember that in times of crisis a new layer of organizational structure is required, one that goes above and beyond your normal operating structure.
Our leadership team’s approach has been to assign a champion to each major goal and to form a team under each champion to ensure their work stays true to the goals we’ve set. Each response team ultimately reports to and takes direction from the Senior Leadership team.
3. Decision Criteria.
When circumstances are evolving rapidly and emotions are running high, data and facts are important allies. One of the more time-consuming aspects of planning in times of crisis is the design and development of critical decision criteria.
Having established decision-making criteria tied to objective data and facts sourced from experts are incredibly powerful resources in supporting swift action and building trust.
Our team set out to develop decision-making criteria and critical triggers for every major decision we knew we would face. These triggers, underpinned by data and facts, have guided all major decisions, reduced stress and empowered our team to meet this enormous challenge head-on.
As leaders, our first reaction to crisis is to run into the fire and toward the crisis. But the most important job of leadership, in my opinion, is first to point our teams in the right direction. A plan that embeds these three elements is a good way to focus everyone on the big picture and then on the tasks at hand, so everyone is working toward the same goals.
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