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The Many Ways to 'Kill' Employee Empowerment

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 14 October 2017
We have spoken before about the importance of creating a culture that promotes Employee Empowerment at your club. We quoted from John Tschohl, President of the Service Quality Institute, who said, “Without empowerment, an organization will never be a service leader.” Mr. Tschohl went on to say that, “Empowerment is the most critical skill an employee can master and a company can drive in order to lure and keep customers.”

Service Breakdown: A Failure of Leadership

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 3 October 2017
After thirty-five plus years in the hospitality business in both hotels and private clubs, I can state categorically that poor service comes from poor leadership. Show me an operation with poor, shoddy, inconsistent service, and I’ll show you an organization with a failure of leadership. This observation flows from the understanding that leaders who recognize service problems in their organization will take corrective action. They will establish a plan of action, set priorities, lead employees to execute the plan, and follow through to completion.
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Service-Based Leadership

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 23 September 2017
Service-Based Leadership is the foundation for Remarkable Service. With Service-Based Leadership, the attitude and primary motivation of the leader is service to others – to members, to employees, to shareholders. This approach to leadership naturally creates relationships – the deep and abiding bonds that sustain the efforts of the organization. This outward focus of the leader sets up a dynamic where...
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A Culture of Service

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 10 September 2017
We frequently talk about the importance of developing an organizational culture of service. What exactly do we mean by an organizational culture? The dictionary defines “culture” as the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another. With a slight modification of this definition we come up with the following working definition of organizational culture. The sum total ways of working and interacting built up by a group of people within an organization and transmitted from one generation of employees to another.

The Imperative of Manager Training

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 27 August 2017
Last week we talked a little about Employee Training and posed some questions about clubs’ training programs. This week we talk about an even more important topic – Manager Training. In many clubs the assumption is that if you hire good people as golf professionals, food and beverage managers, controllers, activity directors, golf course superintendents, membership directors, etc., they don’t need to be trained because they know what they’re doing. While this may be true of the job skills for their particular position, there is far more a manager must know and ignoring this fact can be dangerous to your operation.

Staff Training

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 21 August 2017
High quality and consistent service is something that our members not only expect, but demand. Yet in a detail-intensive business such as ours where so much has to be done just right in every service encounter, training employees is a gargantuan task, made even more challenging by a transient workforce and high turnover in critical service positions. Often our employees who have learned the most from our service culture are lost to the lure of the newest restaurant in town or the one with the highest tips. Given the importance of training and the reality of tight budgets, it seems the only solution to the club training challenge is to organize and format training materials to be easily-given with a minimum of time investment for both instructor (manager) and student (employee). One solution is to use “on-the-go” training materials where information and skills are provided in frequent, small and easily-digested doses.
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The Challenges of Standalone Club Operations

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 14 August 2017
My wife is a high school English teacher and I get to hear her periodic horror stories from the world of public education. Several years ago, growing interested in her comments on the state of our schools, I picked up a book called Crash Course by Chris Whittle. Whittle made his money in magazine publishing and with Channel One, the news program provided to public schools. He then turned his attention to public education and founded Edison Schools, a for-profit education management organization that would hopefully bring a solution to some of our worst-performing schools. While Edison Schools has not been as successful as originally envisioned, I found his review of public education insightful and full of interesting ideas.

Inspiring Your Work Teams

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 30 September 2016
You may direct and manage your operation, but it’s the line employees who deliver the quality and service you envision for your members and their guests. Without an effort to inspire extraordinary performance from this critical staff, they will respond like many other hourly employees in other industries – just going through the motions without dedication or passion, doing what they have to do to get by and collect their paychecks.

A Roadmap to Successful Club Benchmarking

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 28 June 2016
In late June of 2012 I participated in a panel discussion on benchmarking at the Hospitality Finance and Technology conference in Baltimore. My fellow panelist was Russ Conde of Club Benchmarking. Some weeks after the conference I received a sheet summarizing attendees’ reviews of the session. While mostly positive, one of the attendees said that the discussion covered a lot of benchmarking concepts, but was short on the specifics of how to benchmark. As I have written in Twelve Reasons I Benchmark, there are a number of reasons to benchmark your club’s operations. One important reason is to compare your club’s performance to that of the wider industry – and Mr. Conde’s Club Benchmarking service does just that in a simple, automated way via the Internet while providing standardized benchmarks industry-wide. The CB analysis tools and reports support strategic versus tactical thinking in the boardroom. A study of data from more than 1,200 clubs currently in the CB system has revealed a number of Key Performance Indicators with direct impact to the bottom line and confirmed the existence of a common private club business model now known as the “Available Cash Model.” I cannot commend Mr. Conde and his partner Ray Cronin enough for this invaluable service to the industry.

Onboarding Managers - An Often Overlooked Best Practice

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 30 May 2016
A long-recognized best practice is to develop an onboarding plan for your operation’s new hires. The purpose of such a plan is to ensure that new employees are welcomed to the enterprise, receive the appropriate orientation and introductions, and are indoctrinated into the organizational culture, as well as receiving a basic review of enterprise information, employee benefits, operating policies, and work rules. When the onboarding process is formalized and consistent, all employees have an appreciation for the story of the organization, an awareness of their job requirements, and a common understanding of expectations for their conduct and performance.

Q.E.D. Managerial Malpractice

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 23 May 2016
Fifty years ago this fall in my freshman year at college I was enrolled in my first course in calculus. Every day in class we were drilled in solving problems and were required to “recite” our solutions to assigned problems at the blackboard in front of the rest of the class. By drill and repetition our final step in every recitation was to write Q.E.D followed by the double underlined solution. This may seem like an arcane ritual, but as we were told Q.E.D. stood for the Latin phrase Quod erat Demonstratum, which as Wikipedia states, means “which is what had to be proven” — an abbreviated phrase traditionally placed at the end of a mathematical proof or philosophical argument indicating the completion of the proof.

Could It Be Any Easier?

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 16 May 2016
Well, yes it certainly could! It’s club management of which I speak – and we all know it’s a challenging and often difficult profession with a complex set of realities to negotiate on a day in, day out basis. In the interest of preserving your personal life and sanity, it’s important to search out and implement plans and programs to make your job easier and more fulfilling while at the same time providing your various constituencies – the Board, the club’s membership, management team, and employees – with the implied promise you made when accepting the position of General Manager.

A Compelling Case for a Food and Beverage Controller

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 10 May 2016
Food service is an enterprise awash in variables, yet the end product – quality food and service – is the result of consistency of ingredients, preparation, and service, as well as the consistent application of a wide variety of operational disciplines that result in meeting or exceeding expected performance. In manufacturing operations every effort is made to reduce the variability of materials and manufacturing processes to ensure the uniform quality of the finished product.

The Club Membership Director and Member Relationship Management Program

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 2 May 2016
A typical club Mission Statement says that the club must “exceed the expectations” of members. But how can employees exceed expectations if they don’t know what those expectations are? A more realistic Mission Statement would be to “understand and exceed the expectations” of members. This need to understand the changing expectations of members requires that management continually “take the pulse” of the membership by any means available. This includes intensive personal contacts, management calling programs, membership meetings, various member or advisory boards, surveys, comment cards, analysis of members’ club usage and spending habits, as well as ongoing feedback from employees about the receptivity of members to the club’s offerings and individual member preferences.

The Wisdom of Good to Great

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 25 April 2016
I have repeatedly advocated reading Jim Collins’ extraordinary book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, as a must read for hospitality managers, particularly those in standalone operations who suffer from limited resources and no economies of scale. The book is of special importance to such properties because they have neither the time nor resources to waste on the flavor-of-the-month business strategies to discover the driving formulas of success.

Controlling Your Beverage Cart Losses

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 18 April 2016
Quick fixes usually do not address the underlying causes of problems. By examining, improving, and documenting the process, you can establish underlying systems that will routinely handle situations. When the bulk of situations in a business are handled routinely, more time is available for customer service and paying attention to details. Attempt to follow the 80-20 rule. If you have established routine system procedures for your operation, you are able to devote 80% of your efforts to 20% of the operation – the most critical details. Look at how one recurring problem was solved with the development of an efficient system.

Empowerment - Providing Frequent Feedback

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 11 April 2016
When you turn your empowered employees loose to make their contribution to the team’s goals, you must continually monitor what they are doing and provide meaningful feedback so they know how they’re doing. Like a sailor continually monitoring the sea and wind while trimming his sails and adjusting the rudder to most efficiently sail a course, the leader must monitor the team’s efforts and tell them what they are doing right and how they might improve performance. This frequent feedback accomplishes two important things:

Post Mortems: An Essential Tool of Excellence

Hospitality Resources International | Ideas and Information - 4 April 2016
There are many disciplines related to excellence in club operations, but there is none so basic as learning from one’s mistakes. This shouldn’t be news to anyone. Jim Collins, in his bestselling book on wildly successful companies, distilled the formula for success to the following, “Much of the answer to the question of ‘good to great’ lies in the discipline to do whatever it takes to become the best within carefully selected arenas and then seek continual improvement (emphasis added) in these. It’s really just that simple.”

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