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FEATURE: Gregg Patterson: Where’s the Manager?

POSTED ON August 1, 2022 @ 10:07 am

By Gregg Patterson Founder and President “Tribal Magic!!!”


The invisible YOU wanders the club—looking and listening.

And you want to SCREAM!!!!!!!

The octogenarian nay-sayer arrives at 6:00 a.m. for a cup of free coffee and a moan-and-groan session with his retiree friends.

“Where’s the Manager?  Doesn’t he work anymore?”

Mrs. X rushes into the club at 7:00 a.m., all in a tizzy wanting to know the soup-of- the-day.  She races to the GM’s office for answers because she knows “she knows.”  But She, the GM, isn’t in the office.  Isn’t at the club.

“Doesn’t the GM EVER work?  She’s ALWAYS gone when members need-to-know!!!”

The Late-Night Yuk-Yuk crowd is downing another 11:00 p.m. Tequila Extravaganza.

“We’ve spent lots this evening and DESERVE some freebies!  Where’s the manager???  Not here!!! Does he ever work???”

The words HURT.  Absent.  Indifferent.  Distant.  Over-paid.

You listen and you SCREAM!!!

Needing to be SEEN

If you’re a likeable GM who makes things happen, members want to see you, talk to you, listen to you, feel your energy, experience your Warm Embrace and get some freebies.  WHENEVER they’re at the club.

But seeing and yakking with the GM ain’t always possible. Committees to meet, staff to debrief, “newbie” to orientation, FAMILY to experience and vacations to take make omnipresent “in-your-face” visibility tough.  And when members visit and don’t see you they’re miffed, they talk—and they remember.

Managers know there’s a “Visibility Imperative,” a need to show the flag—lots.  They appreciate the need to see and be seen, to dramatize they’re at the club, on the job, ready to respond, working 24 /7, family, friends, board meetings and paperwork be damned.

Every manager / supervisor / team leader handles The Visibility Imperative differently.  Professionals need to ponder visibility and figure out what works—and what doesn’t—for them and their club.

Creating High Impact Visibility

Members and staff need to see, feel, smell and touch the G.M.  They hunger for The Visual—in your face, look you in the eyeballs visibility.   And the G.M. hungers to know—Did they see me?  Did I spend enough time at the club?  Have I lost touch with the staff and members?  Did I hear the complaints, suggestions, insights?  Did I get enough “face time” today?

The collision between “presence” and “productivity” is a biggie in clubdom.  Managers need to identify their visibility opportunities and prime themselves for The Encounter.  Here are a few pointers worth considering.

Get Focused: Whenever you’re in the office or wandering about, be in the NOW and uber-focused.   Dump the cellphone.  Look ‘em in the eyes.  Make every meeting a deep engagement opportunity.

Create Two Offices: Every manager needs two offices—a “Productivity Office” that’s out of sight and out of mind where “paper focus” can happen and a “Visibility Office” positioned where members and staff can see you, access you and bother you while walking by.

Do The “Walk and Talk” Lots:  Exit the office often, prime yourself for conversation, wander about and deliver lots of Face Time to members and staff.  Be visible, approachable and engaging.  Position yourself in the lobby during busy times.  Eat in the staff dining room.  Step into EVERY department at least once a day.

Identify Impact Opportunities:  Be present and in the right “impact location” when presence is needed. When’s it busy—be there.  When there are big events—be there.  When there are board and committee meetings—be there.  Be seen, be approachable and be conversant

Every visibility moment is costly.  Know the ROI for each location and each opportunity.  Invest wisely.

Visible when Gone

To be visible when “you ain’t”, things need doing.

Broadcast Your Schedule, Your Routine and Your Why: Trumpet your need for “out of sight” time.  Let your staff know—in writing, during staff meetings, during the walk-and-talk.  Let the members know—publish your schedule in the newsletter, write an article discussing “visibility”, discuss your “goings” during your walk and talks.  Let your board know—when you’re going to be “there” and when you’re going to be GONE.  And WHY!

Make GM Visibility a Team Effort:  Accept that The Team represents YOU—and their presence is “you present”.  Trumpet your Visibility Philosophy.  Ensure that your values are theirs.  Get them out front and engaging with members and staff.   The right team with “right think” MAGNIFIES a manager’s visibility when they’re absent.

Write Lots: Remind members that you’re alive, well and “present” by handwriting birthday cards, sending thank-you notes, by offering written congratulations on births, engagements, weddings and the like.  Write articles for the newsletter that sound like YOU.  Send out lots of email messages. Let members “see” and “hear” you when they read what you’ve written.

Create Video Memories: Create videos that are expressive of YOU are YOU without YOU being there.  Discuss projects, great employees, governance, finances in such a way that YOU are seen, heard, understood and remembered.  Have the team release selected videos when you’re gone.

Managers need to be gone and when they gone, they need to be “visible.”

Newbies Beware

Newbies need to be cautious when gone because “withdrawals” from their Visibility Bank Account may put them into deficit spending.  Until the G.M. has had years of “face time”, written dozens of articles and sent out hundreds of notes, until he or she has woven their “presence” into the psyche of the employee team and the member community, have created a service culture and an administration team that trumpets them when they’re gone, patience is a must have and investments need to be made into their visibility bank account.

Visibility and “Visibility-When-Gone” take time.  Newbies need to be patient and methodical.

Get Visible—And Be Gone

Visibility is critical to the successful manager. And being GONE is equally critical to the manager’s long term productivity and well-being.

For managers who have been “in the trenches” for a couple of years; have written dozens of monthly newsletters; have greeted every member multiple times before, during and after the Friday evening seashore dinner; have argued their way through board and committee meetings; have personally mentored every supervisor in the operation; have cleansed the “bad apples” from their staff; are always approachable when visible; and have fought the good fight with members wanting more hors d’oeuvres, lower dues and better food; these managers have visibility far beyond their corporeal presence.

Managers need to understand visibility and “visible-when-invisible”, how to get it, how to leverage it, how to grow it and how—and WHEN—to use it.

Get visible—and enjoy the journey!!!

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