“How am I supposed to grow as a manger and an individual, if I am told I will never have the opportunity to move forward?”
You may have received the same e-mail I did recently; I didn’t get the sense it was sent to me alone. The subject line read “Requesting Club Manager Advice,” and it was sent by someone who said he was the Director of Catering & Tournament Sales for a country club in Texas run by a management company (he didn’t specify which one).
The sender expressed his frustration that while his primary career goal was to become a club GM, his management company had told him he had peaked in his professional development and besides, he was proving to be too valuable in sales to ever be moved into a management role.
The sender said he had become very active in his state chapter of the Club Managers Association of America, even though he had to pay for the membership himself because his management firm didn’t “value CMAA or what they stand for.” He said he had found some good mentors through this association, but was writing to seek advice on “the questions or talking points I can discuss with them, to seek their assistance in helping me with my development.”
And he was also looking for an answer to this question: “How am I supposed to grow as a manager and an individual, if I am told that I will never have the opportunity to move forward?”
He then referred to an attachment showing the steps he had taken in his own personal “Manager in Development” program. They included:
• Auditing Turfgrass Science & Management, Golf Course Design & Construction, and Hospitality Industry Finance university courses.
• Completing an internship as a Pro Shop Assistant at another golf club in his area.
• Paying his own way to attend three-day CMAA Assistant Manager workshop seminars.
• Attending a month-long “Media Month” series offered by the Small Business Association in his area.
• Conducting his own series of personal one-on-one interviews with “more than a dozen private club managers” to “ask questions about what they look for in someone they are hiring for a senior position, and what they could change in their career if they had it to do over again?”
Serving on the Board of Advisors for a local college’s School of Hospitality Management.
Consulting to other clubs in the area, after being invited by them to help them improve their banquet operations.
If you didn’t also get this e-mail and are now absorbing all of this for the first time, you’re probably doing what I did when I first read it: shaking your head over the fact that while this guy is obsessed with making all the right steps and connections, he’s missing the most important ones, which are right in front of his face.
The profiles of Excellence in Club Management Award winners in this issue and last month (“Military Precision,” May 2010) make it clear that the most successful managers focus more than anything on their own clubs, their own staffs, and their own members and guests. Something is clearly amiss if this guy is this good and this ambitious, but going nowhere on the home front. I haven’t written him back yet but if I do, my answer will be simple: Don’t send this e-mail to me, send it to your boss. Or better yet, see if you can find time for one more club manager interview—this time, without leaving work.
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