Driving the Skill & Will to Focus
From the book by the same name, author Charles Hummel reminds us that “your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important”. Today, club leaders are facing urgent demands tyrannically forcing them to judge what is most important. But is today just another day in which we face the need to focus?
All of us have, at one time or another, realized that work expands to fit our availability of time and still manages to leave a boatload of unfinished tasks. This, of course, leads to stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety, in turn, create guilt and an urgency to do even more, often unfocused and unprioritized. Now, more than ever, leaders must willfully drive the skill to focus. As we face the potential of a new normal post-pandemic, now more than ever, clubs and their leadership teams must find a coherent focus on what is urgent and what is important.
Prioritization, or the skill of focus, tends to provide clarity on what is important and not important, what is urgent and not urgent and allows leaders to focus on planning and delegation rather than reacting. The end result is simply prioritizing the new stimulus into an already organized and prioritized focus.
In private clubs, priorities are sometimes garbled as they evolve from various sources including boards, selective members, staff, and unanticipated issues. As problematic as this scenario could be, the strongest of leadership teams have educated and data driven processes to prioritize collaboratively and facilitate consistently.
In much of the research I have engaged in over the years, and more particularly in recent weeks as COVID – 19 has stricken our industry, I looked for expertise and knowledge both inside and outside of the industry. One of the key focuses I’ve observed in the current pandemic is the need to listen to your members and to demonstrate that you have heard them in the experiences you deliver. In developing strategy, nothing could be more clear.
Why is it that so many brilliant leaders still hear the voices of a few members and believe it is the conventional wisdom of the majority? As Ritz Carlton co-founder, Horst Schulze suggests, “this is nothing more than a survey of one”. These same club leaders groan when Board members regurgitate the comments of one golfer that the bunkers have too much sand or the rough is too long. Yet, most club leaders do not avail themselves to the power of listening to the broadest cross section of members. Listening has evolved into an art form where a renewed focus is needed.
In a meeting this morning with industry leaders from across the country, there was concern expressed that some members might return unhappy, even angry. This may be the perfect example of brilliant professionals not prioritizing the obvious in order to create focus and clarity. All you have to do is ask, listen, prioritize, and focus.
Ultimately, utopia for clubs is positive growth, retention, and members utilizing their club creating loyalty and satisfaction. What is important or urgent in that objective? Obviously, it’s all important, but if it is urgent, it’s likely there has not been appropriate emphasis on what is most important to achieving these goals, quite simply, the member experience.
Research is fast becoming a hallmark of great leaders. Replacing bias with data driven decision making allows greater prioritization and focus and is predicated on reality, not conjecture. Over the years my dependency upon data to help clubs understand their reality has helped over 1200 clubs find clarity in strategy and direction. Great and visionary leaders understand the necessity of research, both to understand external market trends/factors and internally the ever-changing needs of their members.
In Part 2 of The Tyranny of the Urgent, an interview with Gary Eversole, a 35-year veteran in Customer Relations and Experience with Fortune 100 companies and brands such as Ritz Carlton, AmEx, Lexus, and Nordstroms, provides an interesting case study in how crisis can be powerful in creating transformational opportunities.
Here is an excerpt from the interview. “As has been well chronicled, the power of a positive experience, and engaging customers/members in solutions, rapidly creates an army of ambassadors. Imagine the even greater power if a less than positive experience is resolved personally and quickly. Most organizations feel they have a proven process for listening to their customers/members. Fact is, most lack an enterprise perspective and are consumed by reacting to the grumbles and complaints from the vocal minority.”
Stay tuned to find out more about enhancing the member experience through a proactive listening approach and driving your member’s engagement to levels never thought possible.
Our team has developed a short, simple, but strategic set of questions that will provide your leadership team with an understanding of member’s fears, needs, wants and attitudes as clubs emerge from this lockdown. As a service to the industry, we are offering this free of charge for a limited time. If you would like to learn more about this excellent “listening opportunity”, please contact Peter McCarty at [email protected].