From even the most difficult of situations we can often find opportunity. As this crisis has shaken the very core of our existence and the existence of many of our members, it would be easy to justify simply maintaining the lifelines we have forged with our absentee members, waiting for it all to end. What a shame that would be to waste such a golden opportunity…
The abundance of advice from so many vendors, associations, magazines and experts in our industry is exemplary of who we are as an industry, helping clubs react to the crisis. Clearly, the advice offered has the potential to mitigate at least some of the potential damage to membership loss and financial crisis. But is there more that we could be doing in this unusual lull of activity?
Many clubs have put off constructive opportunities like surveys, strategic planning, membership programs and capital planning until the lockdown is lifted. Conventional thinking might suggest, don’t forge ahead until you know where the road is, but strategic thinking might suggest build the road where you need it to be. When was the last time you can remember having the time to actually plan without 1000’s of external influences?
As we emerge from this crisis, much of the same abundance of advice and counsel will come from the same sources, advising of all sorts of promising and important opportunities. So, the real question is, will we wait and see, ferreting through the good to great ideas or will we use this time wisely to have a plan in place for when the lockdown’s end and our operations return to normalcy? As importantly, should we wait to determine our own future, to dream about what can be and to ascertain how we might get there.
Every situation will likely require a different way of interpreting the opportunity. Those that are ready, with action plans in place for a return to operational normalcy will do well. Those with a strategy to opportunistically drive to another level of member experience will thrive. Here’s a strategy to thrive:
- Pay close attention to engagement with your members, not only in how you are communicating to them, but in how you are listening. Make them a part of the solution to the largest degree possible.
- Prepare extensively for a smooth and much anticipated member re-opening. Clearly articulate the “New” normal relative to Club guidelines for social distancing. Restore service excellence in diverse and relevant social events and activities.
- Clearly envision, through research and data, interdepartmental improvements that can be advantageous to make as you open and strategically as you look to the future.
Use this downtime judiciously, planning with your team, engaging your Board and special Committees. If you wait until things return to normal, everyone else will likely get there ahead of you.
As Sam Cawthorne once said, and I paraphrase, “Crisis creates opportunities that ignite our greatest creativity and thought leadership as it forces us to look outside the norm.”
In this time of unique opportunity we must be mindful to fear less of changing what we know for something as yet unknown that may make us stronger. The choice is ours.”
Stay safe and make it a better world…