We all know that joining a golf club is an emotional purchase, as is remaining a member, but it is also an emotional decision when someone takes the step of volunteering for a position on a board. They are doing it for a multitude of reasons - maybe co-hearsed by an existing board member rallying support, maybe to drive change or maybe to fill a void in their life. Either way they are part of your work life.
I have just returned from my PGA AGM where I listened to a story of a successful golf professional being put under severe pressure, mental and financial, by a change in a board and in particular a new president. Not nice, not fair but unfortunately reality for many professionals and or GM's.
Any good business has its SWOT analysis that evolves as the business develops - my point is that surely this "changing of the guard" every 1/2/3 or so years is a THREAT that you shouldn't be reacting to but should be managing on a constant basis. You know it may come, just like a golf store, new range or new restaurant opening nearby - they are bound to effect your figures but you influence by how much. The "glass 1/2 full readers" out there could even pop it in the OPPORTUNITY element of your analysis!!
As a GM you have to be armed with the voice of the membership, what they think, what they love, what they dislike and what their aspirations are. Some see the seeking of this information as needless, as dangerous and as an ill-informed strategy. I would have to disagree. This is your main tool to embrace the threat of the new board and keep them travelling with the wishes of the membership not the wishes of the few in that closed boardroom. As an individual you are vulnerable, as the representative of the "member masses" your voice is much more powerful.
It means seeking feedback constantly and regularly in varied ways. It means giving your time to sit on those “many” committees, to help and channel their energy. Don't be scared of member views, if you embrace them they are your most powerful weapon in both attack and defence.
Some say you’re brave to ask members for their opinions – We say you’re brave not to! Be interested in your thoughts?
Simon Wordsworth - 59club CEO Fellow of the PGA