This article continues a series of communications from GGA Partners to help private club leaders address challenges confronting their businesses and their employees as a result of the global health crisis. Today, in the first of two articles on strategic people planning, Patrick DeLozier (Director, GGA Partners) and Jodie Cunningham (Partner, Optimus Talent Partners) highlight the importance of talent planning and optimization for a post-COVID-19 future.
A strategic people plan turns vision into reality.
“You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
– Walt Disney
Every club has a strategy and a corresponding expectation: If it executes the strategy effectively, it will grow and prosper. Underpinning its strategy are detailed plans – financial plans, marketing plans, capital plans and agronomic plans. The most successful businesses, including the most successful private clubs, also have what we consider the most important plan – a people plan.
Creating a people plan – one that aligns the goals of an overall strategy with the talents and passions of your team – is a discipline known as talent optimization. Just as Walt Disney turned over the execution of his vision for “the most wonderful place in the world” to smart managers and thousands of Disney cast members, today’s astute club leaders turn to their teams of dedicated staff to implement their vision for long-term success.
As you face the challenges brought on by this crisis, there is no better time to examine your staffing model and create a strategic people plan to guide your new normal. In a post-pandemic future, your people strategy must change because the world has changed. There are four important phases to navigate to adjust your talent optimization plan:
Phase 1: Adapt your business strategy
Based on how business has changed recently, ask yourself:
What are you trying to accomplish?
What does success look like?
How will you flex to meet the demands of your new normal?
What new processes/products/services will you offer?
What processes/products/services will you eliminate?
Operationally and culturally, what’s working? What’s not working?
Recalibrating your strategy will involve tough decisions. You will need to assess the strength of the business, an exercise that will force an examination of people in key management positions, as well as support staff. For help, reach out to your network and bounce ideas off your colleagues. Enlist professional consultants to brainstorm best practices. And don’t be deterred if you hear “that will never work.” Most great ideas start with critics who recite those exact words.
This is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button. Think about all the times you wished you could make changes but allowed circumstances to delay acting. Now is the time to give yourself permission to pivot, to try new things and to take calculated risks.
Phase 2: Plot your revised organizational structure
As you finalize your new business strategy, you need to flex your people plan.
Take time to reimagine how your team should be optimally structured
What does your perfect world organizational chart look like?
What talents do you need more of? Less of?
Don’t think “specific people, specific titles, specific pay rates”
Instead, think “positions, responsibilities, behaviors, skills and talents”
As you create this new organizational structure, keep in mind how your operation is changing. Will there be more curbside service in the future? Will there be fewer group activities? Will there be a greater need for virtual activities? Will there be a less formal food and beverage operation? Will there be a greater need for technology integration?
The Future Is Now
Let’s be clear about why a club business strategy is important:
It determines where the club is going
It gives a sense of direction for the entire club, employees and members alike
It supports smarter decision-making
Your club business strategy, which communicates key aspects of why and how the club operates, includes:
Objectives the club wants to achieve
Its services, products, stakeholders and members
Guidance on how the club competes and operates in its segment
Financial resources required to achieve the objectives and support the operating model
Talent is arguably the last big differentiator a business has. It is what stands between average clubs and innovative clubs. In our next article, we will dig into phases three and four and discuss the process of selecting the right talent to support your revised business strategy and creating a plan to develop that talent for long term success.
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