Good Breeding

By | July 26th, 2018

Joe Barks, Editor, Club & Resort Business

The new language some club managers are using today shouldn’t detract from or diminish the real and lasting impact they are having on successfully positioning their clubs, and our industry, for future success.

If you’re spending a lot of time right now focusing on issues related to your club’s “culture,” I hate to break it to you, but that term is so 2017. It’s all about “ethos” now.

As our Special Report for this issue’s cover story shows, a lot of new language is associated with “the new breed” of club offerings that are coming on stream. In addition to “ethos,” there’s talk of “tribes,” “basecamps,” “energy” and “community,” to go along with descriptions of activities that can include making terrariums or tea-tasting.

It’s easy to be tempted to dismiss a lot of this as so much hipster nonsense. (By the way, for a hilarious read, pick up a copy of “Dads Are the Original Hipsters”—if you’re old enough to have any adult memories of the ‘70s and ‘80s, you’ll love the vintage print photos of the way we used to dress, act and wear our hair.)

But really, the new language that some club managers are starting to use today shouldn’t detract from or diminish the very real and lasting impact they are having on successfully positioning, or repositioning, their clubs (or whatever they want to call them), and our industry, for future success. It’s actually very exciting—and probably long overdue—to see the infusion of new concepts, activities, décor, amenities and—dare I say—energy that many of these “new breed” properties have brought to the business.

And actually—just as you can fi nd a serious takeaway from the “Dads as Hipsters” spoof, because it really shows there’s often nothing all that new about what may seem to be a strange or silly phenomenon—there’s good reason not to scoff at the idea of focusing on a club’s “ethos,’ either. After all, it’s a word that’s stood the test of time from the days of Alexander the Great.

But if you still think “ethos” sounds a little too out there, there are plenty of good substitutes that capture its meaning, including character and spirit. And those are certainly attributes that any good club manager has always strived to create and sustain, for both memberships and staffs. So when you hear something like “to make an apple pie, you have to first create the universe” (which is something one of the “new breed” managers actually said, to explain his club’s approach to developing the desired member experience), try to focus on the “ethos” with which it’s intended. That might help you see a way to start baking up some great new ideas for your members, too.

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