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Greg Patterson: Why—–“The Love Fest”???

POSTED ON March 29, 2021 @ 6:37 pm

greg patterson



Why are some managers in a long-term “love fest” with their Board of Directors and Presidents……

And others aren’t?

Why do some managers—year after year—sing the praises of their president……

And others don’t?

Why do some managers say theirs has been a decades long “love fest” with The Powers That Be, no bumps in the road, working together, shoulder-to-shoulder, building a decades long, unbreakable bond with the club……..

And others don’t?

Why is it that these Love Fest Managers listen—confused and wondering—to other managers who moan and groan about their micro-managing Presidents and their clueless boards and ask themselves……


“Why”, these Love Fest Managers ask themselves, “have I had such a cushy ride, such an embracing relationship, such a productive, pain free, gloriously upbeat “journey” with my Board of Directors—and others have not?”

Why indeed.

Here’s Why—Dumb Luck

Sometimes the stars are simply aligned—the right club, the right manager, in the right place at the right time.  And neither had a clue they’d be glory bound when the journey began.

Dumb luck.

Sometimes the manager got lucky and stumbled into a club only to discover he or she had the right skills and the right personality to do the right thing in that club for a very, very long time.  Without knowing why, their values and the club’s were absolutely RIGHT, perfectly paired, neither having to change a thing to be comfortable with each other.  One needed a job—and got it.  The other needed a manager—and got it.   And both discovered, long after the hiring, they had the same values—an enthusiasm for creativity, an appreciation for “outside the box” thinking, books, family, kids, swimming, golf, athletics, talking, whatever— and over time became “welded at the hip”, perfectly aligned without knowing why.

Dumb luck.

Sometimes both the manager and the Board started at “ground zero” in the “governance thing”, no fixed vision of what the other should be doing, then grew together, bonded by experience and reflection, creating a common understanding and acceptance of each other’s role in the governance process.  Like a young couple, married before knowing what marriage is about, still connected and happy after fifty years.   A love-fest.

Dumb luck turned into “good luck.”

And Love Fest happened.

Here’s Why—“Why” Alignment

Every club is driven by its “why”—the core reason for doing what it does as a club.  It may be relationships.  It may be community.  It may be status.   But “The Why” exists and everything that’s done—the stuff that’s built and the programs that are delivered—springs forth from those core principles, that philosophical foundation.

Managers who have a pre-existing “Why of Clubs” in alignment with “This Club’s Why,” who didn’t have to change their DNA in any way to align their “Why of Clubs” with the club’s, who have an authentic and genuine love of This Club’s Culture —culture being the tangible expression of “This Club’s Why”, and its vision of the good, have a far better chance of experiencing a love-fest than the manager who twists their “why” (say—“I’m all about golf and  the touchy-feelie stuff “don’t” matter at all. ”) to conform with the club’s (say—“This club is all about The Buzz, The Love and The Glow and golf is one of many opportunities here at this club to serve up The Warm Embrace.”) simply to get the job.

If the club’s “Why” is in the DNA of the manager, if the manager can preach and teach The Club’s Why, if they can translate their knowledge of The Why into action, then alignment and Love Fest will follow.

“Why Alignment” makes getting along with the board—for decades—easy.

And Love Fest happens.

Here’s Why—Things the Board Did Right

Boards that helped make Love Fest happen did lots of things right.

They didn’t let their egos get caught up in “driving the bus.”  Maybe the club was beneath their “ambition”—that is, it wasn’t a big time, big name “badge club” where Big Egos hungered for the opportunity to strut their stuff and Rule The Club— nobody thought it a big deal being a Board Member or President.  And because directors weren’t seeking status and dignity by “doing board”, they never felt the need to beat up the manager to prove that they’re in charge and “driving the bus”.

They knew—from their “other clubs” where clashing Type “A” egos led to chaos and turnover—that Board / Manager conflict “ain’t good” for the long term success of the club. Having witnessed manager-board conflict at their “other clubs” and having learned through experience that “peace” is far better than “war” when it comes to good governance, manager longevity and The Love Fest, they sought peace over war at This Club.

They weren’t micro-managers.   They didn’t worry themselves about the details, happy to give policy guidance while leaving the administrative details to The Manager Mechanic.

They respected the manager for being their “intellectual equal,” a partner in the journey, an intellect who could talk with authority about governance, finances, people, books and ideas, someone who could look them in the eye and hold his or her ground while making or defending a controversial philosophy or operational position.

They welcomed the manager as their governance coach and mentor, their “Professor of Clubdom”.  They were appreciative of the “policy education” such a knowledgeable, experienced, reflective club professional could provide.

They solicited the manager’s thoughts before making policy decisions.  They respected the manager’s opinions and were receptive to his insights and recommendations.

They showed patience while the manager learned “the management game” and stood by him or her while they learned the business of clubs.

They showed patience while the manager learned about their club, about the movers and the shakers, the Alpha Males and the Queen Bees, the sacred cows and the hidden weaknesses of the operation.

They had expectations for the manager’s performance that were in line with what that manager was capable of producing.

They stood by the manager when the members grizzled about this or that, defended the manager’s decisions and “went to bat” for the Manager when a defender was needed “out there” in the member community.

They appreciated the manager’s willingness to listen to their “operational input” and not be overly protective of his or her “administrative turf”.

They accepted the manager’s routines—say, paper at home and people at the club—and accepted whatever schedule permitted the greatest productivity for him or her.

They accepted the manager’s passions—and endorsed his or her need to pursue those passions daily, weekly, monthly and annually.

They sought the manager’s advice in the selection of committee members, board members and the president—and welcomed the long term stability that such “institutional memory” provided.

They showed appreciation for the manager’s “good work”.

They rewarded him or her for the good work done—cash being king.

And because the Board did lots of stuff right, Love Fest happened.

More’s Needed

Dumb luck, alignment and boards doing “Board Right” are all part of The Love Fest Equation.

But dumb luck, alignment and Boards doing “Board Right”—although necessary—aren’t sufficient to make Love Fest Happen.

More’s needed.

And “The More” that’s needed to make Love Fest Happen—is a manager who’s doing “Manager Right”.

Part Two—Things the Manager Did Right

Sometimes managers and boards have a long-term Board-Manager “Love Fest”.  Sometimes they don’t.

Knowing “why” is a biggie for both boards and managers.

Part One of “Why—The Love Fest?” highlighted the need for Dumb Luck, “Why Alignment” and a Board that does governance right.

But Dumb Luck, “Why Alignment” and Right Board “ain’t enough” to make Love Fest happen.

More’s needed.

“Right Management’s” needed.

Here’s how “Right” gets done.

Operations—Done Right

Boards love managers who’ve done operations right.

The Love Fester made the operation hum.  Outstanding lieutenants.   Great staff.  Lots of great programs.  Super dining.  Clean pool.  Well maintained golf course.  They made sure The Numbers “worked.”  Members joined.  Members stayed.  Members used the club.  Goods, services and programs were delivered effectively and efficiently.   Competence was job one—and the Right Numbers are the foundation of “love fest”.

People—Done Right

Boards love managers who do people right—staff, members and board.

Love Festers are interesting people—well read, well-traveled, engaging, thoughtful and conversant.  Board members like being around interesting people because they add “heat” to every Board-Manager encounter.

Love Festers are happy people—positive, upbeat, filled with The Buzz.   And Board members like being around interesting, happy people because interesting, happy people make life better.

Because Love Festers do “people right,” because they “fit” with the Board’s personality, because they could be “friends” as much as “managers,” they’re a welcome addition to any meeting—board or committee.    Their enthusiasm and positive attitude make The Board Journey better—and Boards tend to keep around managers who make The Board Journey better.

Analysis—Done Right

Boards love managers who’ve done analysis right.

When the Board had a problem, the Love Fester did the analysis—they did the research, wrote the White Paper and guided the board through a deeper understanding of the issues.      Managers who analyze well are well on the way to becoming a Love-Fester.

Creativity—Done Right

Boards love managers who’ve done creativity right.

When the Board needs creative solutions to new challenges, they turn to The Love Fester to generate innovative ways of “skinning the cat.” Boards love managers who find creative ways of addressing problems and opportunities once the analyzing’s been done.

“Got It Done”—Done Right

Boards love managers who do the analysis, find creative solutions then make “getting-the-job-done” happen.   The Love Fest manager was the board’s “Do-er of Choice.”

When the Board needed action, they turned to The Love Fester and The Love Fester got it done right.  Effectively.  Efficiently.  On time.  Every time.

Growth—Done Right

Boards love managers who’ve tried mightily, “screwed up,” admitted their mistakes, analyzed the reasons “why” and grew more clever in the process.

Boards accept that good managers stumble along the way.  Love Festers are able to “take it on the nose,” screw things up, laugh at their failures and grow from the experience.  Boards stick by managers who “do” and then “grow” from the doings they’ve done.

Education—Done Right

Boards love managers who give them an education about “The What” and “The Why” and “The How” of clubdom.

Boards are hungry for a club focused education delivered by a manager who has “teacher” in his or her bones, someone who can articulate complex issues clearly without condescending to or demeaning the listener.  The Love Fester is the ideal teacher—a “trench digger” who’s a philosopher, someone who knows the business, loves the business and starts preaching and teaching at the drop of a hat.

Boards love getting educated—because “clubs ain’t their business.”

And they love Love Festers who “do the educating.”

Communications—Done Right

Boards love managers who do communications right.  Love Festers speak well, write well and listen well.  And their body language gives emphasis to the spoken word

Love Festers have communicated the board’s decisions to the club community and are The Big Voice for the Board when discussions arise in the hallways and on the putting green.  Boards love managers who can articulate and defend board decisions effectively.

Boards want to know and understand “what’s happening.”  They want to hear about it, read about it, discuss it.   Managers who communicated effectively—lots, early, often, clearly—are beloved of the Board.

Governance Done Right

Boards love managers who’ve done governance right.

Love Festers know club politics—they understand the give-and-take needed to arrive at decisions. They avoid “too close alignment” with any given group and remain respectfully neutral, representing both sides equally when debates arise.  Club Festers help the board find a “middle ground”.

Governance requires “nudge” and Love Festers know how to “nudge” the board toward the right decision—without making it too obvious they’re doing the nudging.  Love Festers are great researchers who provide the board with the info they need to make The Right Decision—and they know how to lobby The Right Decision without being pushy or dictatorial.

Boards respect managers who have the ability to disagree with board members, to defend their position—strongly, clearly, logically and with “heat” when necessary—and to remain friends in spite of those disagreements.

Boards love managers who value Board input into operations—welcomed it, chewed on it, responded to it, incorporated it when needed.  And at the same time, Love Festers are able to keep the Board focused on policy and out of the trenches—leaving the operational details to the ones who know operations.

Managers who LOVE committees are beloved by the Board.  Committee love translates into “he likes being with bright members, she wants member input and he wants the opportunity to exchange ideas with US, the members and the board.”

And because of their long history with the governance process, The Love Fester becomes the club’s “institutional memory”—the critical historical resource giving “perspective” before decisions are made.

Governance “done right” is a critical building block of a Love Fester’s success.

Price and Privileges—Done Right

Boards love managers who are “priced right” and never take advantage of their success to “squeeze” for Bigger Bucks or extra privileges.

Boards want managers who are “good value,” who accept being paid a little bit less than they’re worth and who consistently give more than they’re paid to deliver.

Managers who deliver “value” are on the road to Love Fester.

Symbol—-Done Right

Lastly—and perhaps most importantly—Boards love managers who are a living, breathing, walking-and-talking Symbol of that club’s values.   Whatever the club culture, Love Festers “fit” perfectly and, with time, become The Symbol of The Good for members and guests.

Boards point to the G.M. with pride and tell all who’ll listen—“The Manager is Us.”

A Love Fester.

No Mystery—But “Love Fest” Ain’t Easy

Great relationships—filled with the joy—are good for the soul, for longevity, for success.  True in marriage.  At the club.  With your peers.   A Love Fest.

But Love Fest “ain’t easy.”

Sometimes it’s all about dumb luck—the right person in the right place at the right time able to do the right thing for that place and that community at that time.   The manager’s DNA was right for the Club’s DNA and love fest happened.

Sometimes it’s all about things the Board did right—often unconsciously, but “right.”

Sometimes it’s all about things the Manager did right—often unconsciously, but “right.”

But the best of worlds is when ALL the stars align—Right Timing, Right Club, Right Board, Right Manager, Right Values.  “Right” done consciously.

And when the stars are aligned, a multi-decade Love-Fest is born.

Know “you.”

Know the club.

Pursue Love Fest.

And enjoy the journey——————-

Articles by Gregg:

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