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Running a multi-million dollar enterprise is serious business and private club managers know it’s not easy to coordinate a team of people on a daily basis, let alone create strategic alignment with a board or an owner. And yet, industry experts will tell you that clubs that have strategic plans in place are more inclined to have wait lists for prospective members. Coincidence? Not according to Ryan Doerr, CEO of Strategic Club Solutions.

"The biggest investment we’re seeing clubs make today are in the long-term strategic plans and really taking a step back and looking at their financial health, their organizational structure, (and) their succession planning.”

The first step in becoming a “healthy” business, according to Doerr – who is also a business coach – is to recognize you have a problem, “so it takes a strong leader or manager to get it done.”

One way club leaders are turning clubs around is with operational platforms and structure. Like other business leaders, general managers have options when it comes to implementing systems that will help bring structure, discipline and clear vision to a club. A platform that Doerr has found valuable, in both his club consulting work and as a business coach, is the Entrepreneurial Operating System, commonly known as EOS or Traction. Based on the book, “Traction” by Gino Wickman, EOS helps business owners and club leaders gain control of their club. It also brings clear and shared focus for employees. The elements that make EOS or Traction are centered around vision, people, data, issues, and process. 

Clarity around the vision for the club

When the leaders of a club have a clear vision for who they are and what they stand for and that vision is followed by all employees, the team can get behind that vision and the direction for the club. It sounds simple and often leaders assume that their team “gets” the vision, but this is not always true. Clear vision is key.

Having the right people in the right seats

As renowned business author, Jim Collins, stated in his classic book, “Good to Great” successful businesses have the right people in the right seats. In other words, great clubs hire only the “right” people for their organization. They also have the right people in the right seats, or jobs, at the company. You may have the right people in the wrong seats or the wrong people in the right seats and in those cases, you’re setting up your club to fail. 

Measuring success through data

What are your success metrics for your marketing efforts? How about for your food and beverage staff? What about the golf shop? Does each department have a scorecard that indicates whether they are winning or losing? Succeeding or failing? If not, how does your team know how they are doing? Measuring success through data is a critical trademark of high functioning teams. When the right people in the right seats obsess over success metrics, they can better identify issues and gaps in their work and improve.

Addressing issues

If you’re measuring key performance indicators and you find that your team is missing the desired results, EOS provides a process for addressing these issues and gives your team the ability to identify, discuss and solve those issues. When your team resolves their greatest issues, you’ll notice something interesting - they become a closer team.

Developing process

In many cases, your club’s greatest issues will be resolved by developing processes that are shared and followed by all. In fact, in most cases, organizational dysfunction lives where there is a lack of process. 

In this episode we discuss EOS with Ryan and how it works with clubs, however, most importantly, we talk about the need for clubs to use any platform that helps create long-term strategic vision. In today’s private club climate, the “if you build it, they will come” mindset is history. You need to build it, plan for it and manage it. Ryan Doerr has some suggestions that will help you do just that.  

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