Looking in the rear-view mirror

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(Author’s note: after more than ten years, this will be the last highfives blog post. Beginning soon, I will have a new blog titled In My Opinion. It will be about the property, the business, the golf shop, all wrapped around common-sense ideas. Because you manage in a three-click world today, we believe a shorter read, still adding value, will fit better into your busy schedule. All of us at Golf Inc. thank you very much for your readership and support. We hope the new direction will be something still worth your time.)

One day the pandemic, masks, and the politics surrounding all of it will be behind us, far behind us. No doubt, if it is permissible to say, Covid-19 has been good to the game and the business of golf. Since May of 2020 we have seen old golfers return, new golfers come and tee sheets of all makes and sizes become the hottest dance cards in town. Golf has been on fire and so many of you have had to redesign everything about the day, the experience, and your overall presentation. While the game was booming however, problems bubbled up that impacted your business, your staff, and the ability to offer the kind of service most golfers have come to expect.

There will be that time, once again when filling the tee sheet will be a challenge, member rosters will no longer have waiting lists, and walk-ons will be welcomed back. Before those days return why not do a deep dive on your recent success to record those ideas and strategies that made your golfers happy, made your team more cohesive, while making the day richer. Think beyond journaling and about writing your Covid-19 crisis-survival success story. While we may not see a pandemic the size of Covid-19 again in our lifetime, the business will have new challenges to battle. Recording the critical events of the past 16-18 months may help provide clarity down the road. Here are fivethoughts about this time from the observer on the laptop. These are my last highfives:

  1. Create A/B/C/D sets of plans: Things will happen and having several strategies will be a vital advantage when things go sideways. New employees will need to know, too.
  2. Rely on your team: In any crisis, there are hundreds of decisions to make, and you will never be able to make them all. Get people ready by delegating. Even better, take some time off and do not call in. You will discover in real time who theA players are.
  3. Practice: Make time each month to go through the steps in case of an emergency situation. The 1969 landing on the moon worked successfully because the astronauts knew the step-by-step process due to years of practice. In this world today, the team must be prepared for more than a day of golf.
  4. Ask for cooperation: Just as you must communicate with your team members, spend time too with your membership informing all that your property has a team trained in always looking out for their best interests. Whether it is to staff members or to your golfer, always be communicating.
  5. Create people that can take charge: We all know that an emergency can crop up at any time, without warning. If you create a leader or two in each department, and communicate a plan of action throughout the organization, there can be a better response, with speed and urgency. The saying goes: “never allow a crisis to go to waste.” That can be the lesson from Covid-19. My add-on is to have everyone ready to manage a crisis, no matter the day of the week or time of year.

Many new people have discovered the game, as others have returned to it. Tee times were as hard to grab as a cheap Super Bowl ticket. We love these days for the revenues provided and the opportunities created. At some point these days will go away, fading deep into the rear-view mirror. Before the memories wane, why not write your properties’ story about “the time of the pandemic.” Write out the story with as much detail as possible. Being prepared for the next crisis may help save injuries and much more. It all comes down to planning and on-going prep. I saw the moon landing in July of 1969. Now I can say I have also seen the greatest uptick in the game in my lifetime. Both were life-altering events. Both are essential to remember. This is a new day, a time to practice and for all to be prepared. Thank you.

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack is an author, speaker, expert merchant and leader in building service and great communications. His new book Jump the Line: 101 Lessons for Professional Success is available today. Now part of Career Dividends, Jack can help make your team and your shop better. Reach Jack at 407-973-6136 or at jackd@careerdividends.com. Jack lives in Orlando and on Zoom.

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