An integral component of excellence in club management is embracing the concept of wanting everyone who works for you to maximize their potential—even if it may get fully realized somewhere else.
This is the first time in the history of our co-sponsorship with the McMahon Group of the Excellence in Club Management (ECM) Awards that our profile of the “Rising Star” (in this case, Shawn Wilkes, featured in the May 2016 issue) includes coverage of the fact that our winner has already “risen” beyond the position for which he or she earned the recognition.
(Shawn’s award, which is designed to recognize excellence below the general manager level, was based on his accomplishments as Clubhouse Manager at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.; shortly after he was named as the 2015 Rising Star winner, Shawn accepted the position of General Manager/COO at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn.)
But while Shawn moved on more quickly than most after he was nominated and cited for his achievements, pretty much everyone who’s earned “Rising Star” accolades in the nearly 20-year history of the awards has eventually ascended to bigger roles in club management. And that’s how it should be, because that’s the point.
An integral component of excellence in club management, be it for a general manager, a department head, or anyone in a supervisory capacity, is embracing the concept of wanting everyone who works for you to maximize their potential—even if it may get fully realized somewhere else.
I’ve covered many industries and professions in my business-writing career, and club managers have clearly stood out as having the most sincere and genuine passion for mentoring, developing talent and encouraging career advancement. I don’t know if this stems from the “we’re all in this together [vs. our memberships]” nature of the business, or a “pay it forward” attitude, in gratitude for similar kindnesses that top managers have received on their own way up. It’s probably a little bit of both. But as I ask managers about their career paths and what led them to their current clubs and positions, it’s amazing how frequently I’ll hear that a former boss supported their pursuit of an opportunity to get a better job elsewhere, even if it stood to create temporary disruption for that boss in his or her own operation.
It’s actually pretty amazing, too, that we get as many nominations for the “Rising Star” award as we do. Managers in many other businesses would be much more reticent of promoting recognition for their top performers, for fear of “losing them” to others. It’s nice to be part of a business where so many see others’ success as a winning proposition for everyone, even if it might take something away from the home team.