A Board & Committee Primer
Let’s face it, Board and Committee volunteers are often placed in a thankless and precarious position. Well meaning and courageous, some enter the arena charged with the energy and voracity of a lion. Others spend enormous amounts of time in learning the tangible and intangible nuances of a very complicated business model. Both have one thing in common, enhancing the member experience.
As the industry continues to learn, each member experience is the driving factor in brand creation, creating ongoing membership growth and retention. Properly addressed, it is also the driving factor in member satisfaction, creating loyalty and raving fans building a powerfully attractive brand message to the community.
Assuming these assumptions to be true, how is it that Board and Committee members are regularly ambushed and often succumb to the “crisis of one”, that lone complainer that firmly believes his/her issue is worthy of lengthy and considered discussion in the Board and Committee meetings? The answer is often that when we hear something from one member, we naturally assume the problem exists for all members. According to countless club surveys, this is most often not the case.
How many Board members have been literally accosted on the condition of the bunkers generally as the complainer spends an inordinate amount of time in them? Likewise, members complaining too many children running around when the primary new member is part of a young family? It’s human nature for members to want what they want, but its simply bad management to allow singular issues to become a crisis, taking time, energy and resources from things that are important. But how does a Board or Committee member know what’s real versus one off?
For GM’s, while they generally know, it’s a dilemma of sorts, not having empirical data to share with volunteer leadership offsetting confusing member issues before becoming a Boardroom crisis. For volunteer leadership they feel responsibility to listen and pass along concerns.
So, wouldn’t it be cool to have easy to use tools to know how members were reacting in general to their experiences, your amenities and the services provided by the Club? Not only are there simple, economic, and easy to use tools, there is a process that makes them all work in concert to use real time information to reduce the clutter and make constant improvements in everything you provide.
You’ve heard me say this countless times before. Nearly every GM I know listens intently to members they actually touch, which is fantastic… at least for those you see regularly. By most surveys, however, only about thirty percent of total members are “regulars”. That’s a substantial void of members we may not completely understand. Remember this! Not all members are created the same. Gender, age, family make-up, tenure, interest, and sociability are just some of the variables that make members unique.
A key in driving excellence and improvements is actively listening to members. As stated, you may know what 30% or so are thinking, at least around the activities that we generally engage them. However, through active listening systems you can get feedback from all members, in all areas of club’s activities. This kind of intelligence allows leadership to cull the real from the crisis of one. The first step in improvement is awareness.
Combine this newfound awareness with a system that enables your staff and management to deliver a timely follow-up to any response that was even slightly negative. This case management system drives immediate response through empowering the Department Head of the area involved. How important can this intelligence be to your club? Clearly, the knowledge of issues negatively affecting the member’s experience and the ability to respond quickly and positively is a strong loyalty builder. Listen, Act (Respond) & Improve!
For volunteer leadership, the system provides the means to say, we are listening to your every experience; your experience matters to us; if we can improve your experience in any way, please let us know. This becomes a powerful trust factor, provides real time intelligence for volunteers and avoids knee jerk reactions to the crisis on one.
For the GM and Department Heads, systematizing the listening process provides a way to clearly identify and incorporate remedial actions before an unnecessarily distraction of time and energy occurs within staff or leadership. Diligent utilization of ongoing feedback will also point clearly in the direction your members want their club to go.
For more information on MemberConnect, the system that provides all of this and more, please contact Peter McCarty 517-420-5457 [email protected]