Why is Storytelling so Important?
Do you know your Club’s story? Can your Board and your staff confidently answer that question? If not, it’s time to put in some work.
Storytelling can captivate an audience, evoke emotions, and memorably convey your message. Storytelling is the most effective way to build brand identity, rally members around a capital project, and motivate employees. Why? Because stories elicit emotion.
Consider your most recent big purchase, “Did you feel good about it?” Notice the word, feel, that is an emotion. The right story will sway you, but you need to know what you are selling. Yes, selling because everybody is selling something, whether it’s a product, a Club membership, or an idea. Nike is selling you an attitude (Just Do It), Southwest Airlines is highlighting a passenger-first approach with low costs, and your favorite insurance company is selling you the peace of mind of knowing you are protected.
From browsing the websites of dozens of Clubs, most believe their story is their history. They list when they were founded, and the rest of the “About Us” page reads like a resume with dates and a quick blip of what they accomplished. This approach does not work because it reads like a middle school history exam. Off the top of your head, can you tell me when the Revolutionary War started? Probably not. However, you do know why it was necessary. The “Why” is the motivation for your story. How do your members feel about belonging to the Club? Describe the atmosphere, build a narrative of whatever it is, and then share the vision. Show me pictures of your members having fun, not empty dining rooms or a vacant swimming pool.
For stories to work, you need characters, people smiling, enjoying the company of others, and using the amenities. Solve a problem, explain why your lifestyle is the one for me, and back it up with visual words like “Imagine” and “Discover.” Those words transport us, create intrigue, and, most importantly for you, keep prospects reading about your Club.
Crafting your story takes time and expertise. Get a facilitator to help you brainstorm ideas, whiteboard the emotions, and establish your point of view. You then need to rework the mission and the vision statements to identify what was revealed. Then, teach the team the new messaging and share it so that it becomes memorable, builds community and loyalty. Post it on the menus in your restaurants, member bills at the bar, or the video screens throughout your clubhouse so that it becomes a part of your fabric.
You, too, are a brand. People choose to join your Club, so in this competitive marketplace, make their decision an easy one.
Club Leadership Alliance Establishes Partnership with BoardRoom Institute
Charlotte, NC, (April 2023) – Club Leadership Alliance (CLA) partners with BoardRoom Institute, an online education platform designed specifically for private club boards, their directors, committees, committee chairs, and others associated with private club governance.
Achieving alignment between a private club’s general manager/chief executive and volunteer leaders begins with a mutual understanding of the priorities and best practices that drive success. A collaborative, united, and accessible educational environment is foundational to providing private club leadership with the awareness and strategic thinking necessary to sustain a relevant and enduring private club.
“The owners and team members represented within the Club Leadership Alliance have the experience, credibility, and expertise that I was seeking in a partnership. I have known and respected Richard Kopplin, William McMahon, and Ray Cronin for over 27 years. They were the missing link to making BoardRoom Institute a true solution to the governance and leadership issues facing private clubs today and into the future,” shares John Fornaro, CEO and publisher of BoardRoom magazine, co-founder of Distinguished Clubs, and founder of BoardRoom Institute.
Knowledge is power and providing comprehensive information and protections will help assure that board and committee members are well-positioned for their roles and responsibilities. BoardRoom Institute makes annual orientations affordable, mitigates micro-managing, and ensures all stakeholders understand their duty of care, with an emphasis on legal and fiduciary obligations.
“The CLA partners are pleased to announce our exciting new partnership with BoardRoom Institute. We now have the opportunity to present current and future clients with what we believe is the most empowering educational platform we have experienced in our decades of serving the private club industry. We have worked for many years alongside McMahon Group and Club Benchmarking to rally private club leaders around best practices, and this advancement further enables our mission of generating widespread understanding and adoption of the best practices that lead to success,” celebrates Richard Kopplin, founding partner of KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE.
Club Leadership Alliance brings together three of the industry’s most highly respected consulting firms (KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE, McMahon Group, and Club Benchmarking) and this partnership will strengthen the value and resources extended to BoardRoom Institute subscribers. CLA founding partners represent expertise in the areas of operations, finance, human capital, governance, and strategic and facility planning.
“We are actively working on course updates and expect the new releases within this content-rich tool will be available by summer. This development will complement and enhance the many programs already offered to private clubs by the partners at the Club Leadership Alliance,” adds John Schultz, respected private club industry executive and CEO of Club Leadership Alliance.
John Schultz, CCM, CCE
Chief Executive Officer, Club Leadership Alliance
About BoardRoom Institute
Education within BoardRoom Institute is focused on helping private clubs operate efficiently by optimizing the relationship between the volunteers and the paid executives through collaborative governance. www.boardroominstitute.com
About Club Leadership Alliance
The three founding Alliance firms are independent entities working together for the common good of the industry, serving clubs in all aspects of strategic planning, operations, finances, human capital, and facilities. The CLA’s core values serve as a framework for the proven best practices that create relevant and enduring clubs: Informed Leadership, Strategic Stewardship, Empowered Management and Team, and Compelling Member Experience. www.clubleadershipalliance.com
About KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE
People Focused & Quality Driven. We are an experienced and award-winning search and consulting firm, specializing in the private club industry. We are committed to the success of our clients, the professionals that we place, and the industry as a whole. We improve the well-being of our clients, advance the careers of our candidates, and have fun every day. www.kkandw.com.
About McMahon Group
McMahon Group provides strategic and facility planning services for private clubs. We conduct survey research for clubs as well as on issues important to the industry. Our publications provide club leaders with insight into member needs and desires and changes in the industry. We promote the well-being of the club industry and enhance the profession of club management. www.mcmahongroup.com
About Club Benchmarking
We deliver the fact-based, actionable insight you need to make informed decisions through a suite of tools and services built specifically for private clubs. Everything we do is grounded in data and research and we serve the full spectrum of club industry stakeholders – club staff, general managers, boards, committees, members, owners and industry constituents including associations. www.clubbenchmarking.com
Club Trends WEBINAR VIDEO: Creating Club Culture – It Begins with Orientations
In this webinar industry experts and insiders from McMahon Group, Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace and the National Club Association share with you insights from the latest issue of Club Trends, “Creating Club Culture—It Begins with Orientations.” Our team provided the highlights from this issue including best practices for board and committee orientations and strategies for onboarding new members and staff.
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A Commitment to Best Practices
A Commitment to Best Practices
One thing is always consistent with the strongest leaders and clubs: They are fiercely focused on understanding and implementing the industry’s best standards and practices.
As I travel the country, I have the opportunity to observe many extraordinary club leaders and see many great clubs. One thing is always consistent with the strongest leaders and clubs: They are fiercely focused on understanding and implementing the industry’s best standards and practices. It doesn’t matter if clubs are running at top speed or just coming out of the starter blocks, those who keep industry best practices as the guideposts always stay on track, even during challenging times.
These practices are important and must be understood for clubs to evolve and succeed. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.”
Evolution is hard but necessary for our great industry. It may seem as though we are beating people over the head with these best practices, but I’m going to keep reminding everyone about them because they aren’t as generally accepted as they should be.
Informed Leadership Best Practices
- Continuously educate stakeholders (boards, committees, members and staff ) on industry trends, best practices and important societal trends impacting the private club industry.
- Conduct mandatory and comprehensive orientations for all stakeholders.
- Adopt the fact-based private club business model and related financial best practices. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and use them to drive decision-making.
- Embrace data-driven leadership rooted in strong governance principals. Ensure transparent communication to all stakeholders.
Informed leadership creates the best possible stakeholders who fully understand their role and the role of others in the organization. Every club should strive to create a culture of constant learning from service to governance through education and training. Constant learning for every board member, committee member and the entire staff is the foundation for these best practices.
- Develop and maintain an effective strategic plan.
- Protect, preserve and grow the assets through comprehensive capital planning that addresses obligatory and aspirational improvements with a unified master plan.
- Enhance member value by creating innovative club experiences.
- Ensure seamless transitions of boards, committees and senior staff.
Keep stakeholders on target. The best way to do this is to use a strategic road map for where you are going and then constantly remind everyone to keep them on track.
Empowered Management and Team
- Create and maintain robust systems for talent acquisition, retention and professional development.
- Utilize proven performance management systems to set goals and measure outcomes.
- Perform regular team engagement surveys and compare them to benchmarks. Act on survey results.
Managers and management teams who are empowered and trusted to lead the club will do so nicely with pride and enthusiasm.
Compelling Member Experience
- Match member expectations to the club’s primary purpose. Evolve and adapt as necessary.
- Measure member needs, preferences and satisfaction on a regular basis.
- Provide a value proposition that cultivates highly engaged, loyal and satisfied members who think like owners.
- Present a relevant experience that easily attracts the next generation of members.
Creating a compelling member experience and a compelling team experience is a direct result of a club that functions on the best practices detailed above.
Additionally, there are two emerging practices that would benefit many clubs: 1) Managers and board presidents meeting quarterly with the club’s past presidents to keep them informed, provide education on the “issues of the day,” and use their counsel to guide in the decision-making process. 2) We are seeing local Presidents’ Councils form (with the help of regional club managers) as a way for club presidents to share ideas and data. This has been especially important during COVID-19 but also helpful for everything affecting clubs such as water issues, labor challenges, programming and amenities. The gathering and sharing of information continue to build on the culture of education and informed decision-making in which all these best practices are centered around.
Contributed by Thomas B. Wallace III, CCM, CCE, ECM
Partner, KOPPLIN, KUEBLER & WALLACE
Connect at email@example.com or 412-670-2021.
WEBINAR VIDEO: Club Trends Winter Outlook 2021 – The Member-Centric Club
The Winter Outlook Webinar was held on Thursday, February 18, 2021. Listen to this recording to hear from the Club Trends authors speak and answer questions about topics covered in this issue.
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WEBINAR VIDEO: City Clubs – Thriving Not Just Surviving
The City Club – Thriving Not Just Surviving webinar was live on January 14, 2021. Hosted by the Club Leadership Alliance (McMahon Group, Kopplin Kuebler & Wallace and Club Benchmarking) and Henry Wallmeyer, President & CEO of the National Club Association to share their experiences which address how the club world is changing and especially how city clubs must change with it.
A City Club Manager Roundtable from some of the most successful city club managers in the nation (Jeffrey McFadden, John Dorman and Matthew Allnatt) capped the webinar to show where the city club of the future is going and how to be sure your club is one of them.