If I Were King: 5 keys for new GMs

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(Over the next few posts, I will be presenting what I believe are some important highfives. I will be providing these in the framework of new property leadership. I am excited to hear what you think.)

Although it has been awhile since I was a property leader, lately I have been thinking a great deal about the role. The general manager is the key figure at the property because that person drives the story of the club. They teach, mentor, train, improve the team, sell, think through daily club concerns, direct time management, and possess the leadership position that will determine the overall direction and success of the property. Although there are department managers, the general manager takes on the responsibility of all day to day direction.

This post is presented as if I am the new general manager of the local golf club. It is a semi-private club, a club with members, public play, and lots of events: both golf and social. If I am coming into a property as the general manager, what are the critical pieces to know, what do I need to communicate, what should I do first?  Here are my first 5 thoughts (with a bonus) about club leadership. Because we do not know the club, these highfives may not be in the exact order of importance:

1) Communicate: meet and talk with every staff member. Have an all-in team meeting.  Meet face to face with every club member. Make open communication the theme

2) Spend time with the superintendent. The golf course is the product. Learn about course issues, things the superintendent needs. Establish a working schedule with the super

3) Understand club security. Bring in a local security expert to help assess the overall property. Meet also with the local police and get to know them.  As the general manager, we must protect the people, the assets, cash, and the surrounding community, as well as have emergency plans in place. Knowing when and how the money gets to the bank, to who is a key-holder are important pieces to the security of the property. Be ready to overhaul the entire security plan

4) Understand the condition of the property beyond the course. What is the state of capital expenditures? What has been approved? What needs to get repaired or replaced quickly?

5) I am my calendar. What matters is how the general manager spends their time. Every staff member is watching and learning about the new leader.  It is important to be out and about with people.  It is also vital to be on property all of the open hours and beyond, to truly understand the heartbeat of this property

6) *BONUS: By day 20, be ready to terminate the people who are dragging the property down, those who are not a team player, or just a poor fit for the culture.

 When a new leader takes over, there are hundreds of critical areas to review, to observe, and to talk about.  In my opinion: people, security, course conditions, and solid communications are important places to begin.  Over the next few posts, I will continue to list the thoughts I believe are important to a successful transition for the team, for the property. Thank you.

Jack Dillon is the author of the highfives series.  Jack has been in golf for more than 45 years.  He is a speaker, writer, and expert in operations, service, and merchandise.  Why not have Jack speak at your next club meeting or better yet, help you improve your property.  Call Jack at 407-973-6136.  Jack lives in Orlando.


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