Presents vs. Presence

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There are certain times of the year that we may associate with presents. We give presents to show love and appreciation. We give presents to celebrate and honor someone or something. We do it to show we care or to let someone know we are thinking of them.
Another meaning of the word present is about time. It refers to this moment! This slice of time that is now! The present is wonderful and powerful gift. Many of our clients could tell you that “The present is perfect!” What they mean is that in this moment it is not about regretting the past or worrying about the future, it is about the ability to use this moment in the way they choose to use it. It is about seeing whatever is happening in this moment as a gift, whether it seems good or bad. We don’t know how many moments we are going to have, but we know we have this one.
This article isn’t about presents, it is about presence.
People may love to receive your presents, but the more profound gift might be your presence.
Are you interested in living an Extraordinary Life?
You are more likely to live an Extraordinary Life if, you intend to do precisely that. Although it might seem out of reach or something that other people do, you have the opportunity to decide. It starts with this moment as you read this. It will be followed by the next moment and if we are lucky hundreds of thousands or millions of moments after that. The important thing is what do we decide to do in those moments?  How do we decide to think in those moments? What do we decide to see and focus on? Are we open to seeing, feeling and receiving Extraordinary? Are we present enough in any moment to do any or all of those things?
We recently interviewed Doug Smith author of the book Happiness. He gave us so many wonderful ideas about Happiness, Leadership and Building Culture. He said that two most important things you can do if you want to be happy is to have a purpose and build strong meaningful relationships. He gave us a gem about building relationships that speaks to being present in this moment.
He called it 140 Bits of Information! 
He said the mind can process 140 bits of information per second. In a casual conversation we use about 40 bits per second. Often when we are in conversation with someone we are watching TV, checking our cell phone, thinking about the meeting we have tomorrow, thinking about something that went wrong yesterday, we take the remaining 100 bits of information and send it in a whole bunch of different directions. But, if you take your 100 percent capability and devote it to one person you will make a friend for life. Then he said “because nobody is doing it.”
Similarly, what if you devoted your full attention to what you are doing in any moment? What if today you experimented with giving whatever you are doing, whoever you are with, whatever you are observing, learning or eating 100 percent of your focus in that moment? There is a chance you will be more productive, make others feel more important, see things in a way you have never seen them before, understand and retain things more powerfully and notice that your food tastes a little better. 
There are many things you can do to live an Extraordinary Life! Working on being present is one of them!
In the book The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino, there is a line that says “when you are in the market place don’t think about your family and when you are with your family don’t think about the marketplace.”
Your presence is not just a gift to give to others; it is a gift you can give to yourself. Where ever you are, be there! Be present!
We live in a world that can be very busy. We can find ourselves running around trying fit into the agenda that others have set up for us. We can fill our days so full and be going in so many directions that although the volume of what we are doing may seem impressive, some analyses of the quality or even the relevance of what we are doing may be in order. 
Perhaps in the quiet time, if and when you find some quiet time, you could be present with you long enough to consider what the real important things are for you. Think about how much time you spend with those things. Think about whether or not in some ways you have abandoned those things. Get extremely clear about what you will choose to give your moments to.
When you decide what the most important things are to give your moments to, decide to give them fully and watch what happens.
Perhaps it is time for a course correction!
We have created some coaching tools that may support you in deciding where to focus your presence. One is called the Reinvention of You! Whether you decide to make a little “r” reinvention or a BIG “R” Reinvention, taking a slightly different version or you to where you go and what you do can make a significant difference.
Another tool is called “Designing an Extraordinary Year!” This tool can help you decide what to get clarity on what is important. 
We also have a tool that helps you to keep the important things in focus. If you would like any of these tools, just e-mail us and they will be our present to you!
We truly hope the world and the people you love will receive the gift of your presence

Kevin McDonald Headshot

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin at or Shelley MacDougall at Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.

Draw Members to Your Dining Room With an Updated Beverage Program

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For clubs, the dining room is a marquee amenity. The 2016-17 RSM Trends in Private Clubs Report phrased it this way: “Food and beverage is the most important amenity for club members. More people eat and drink than swing a golf club.” This point, that Food and Beverage (F&B) is important because all members and guests enjoy its offerings, is a call for F&B directors to seek out ways to improve and modernize their club’s dining room. Clubs are competing for member attention with every restaurant, movie and other form of entertainment available to their members. For club managers that are hearing this call to action, here are strategies to modernize your food and beverage program in order to draw members to your dining room, and increase revenue generated by food and beverage. 

Member Wine Locker Programs

Are you looking to draw members into the dining room on a regular basis? A wine locker program is a great way to create a personal connection and add an elevated dining experience. Wine lockers offer members a chance to stock a personal selection of wines by the bottle. They have a private list available only to them, and this reserved list is a wonderful way to drive members to into your dining room on a regular basis. You can create separate menus for listing individual member’s wine locker selection, or use digital wine menus with protected passcodes to allow members to access their personal menu. 

Local and Craft Beer on Tap

Local and craft beer deserves a place in the clubhouse. Whether run through a draft system or served in bottles, a rotating selection of local beer options can excite members who are looking for something new. There are a wide range of craft beers available on the market now, many of which are takes on traditional lager styles that many club members will be familiar with. Clubs should not fear “craft beer” as a euphemism for extreme flavors or niche. The craft market is comprised of a wide range of traditional and experimental styles. The local angle helps create a connection to the beers and breweries.

Cocktails with a Twist

A reinvigorated interest in cocktails has led to the creation of truly delicious and inspiring drinks at bars and restaurants across the country. But a modern cocktail program does not have to be difficult to execute. There are many ways to build a program that is accessible and easy to manage. One way that clubs are putting a spin on their cocktail list is to have drinks inspired by local history, landmarks, and club members themselves. Timesaving and consistency-ensuring strategies like pre-batching cocktails make serving craft cocktails as fast as pouring a glass of wine.

Wine Tastings and Education

Wine tastings are a chance to lift the curtain on your wine program for your guests and connect with them through education and enjoyment of wine. There are many resources available to clubs when it comes to wine tastings and wine based events. Whether in-house staff like a sommelier is leading the event, or a wine distributor or supplier has volunteered time to talk with your members, wine tastings can be fun and enlightening events. Another great opportunity to offer members is a trip to a winery or vineyard. If this is possible, get in touch with your one of your wine suppliers and book a trip.

Food and Wine Dinners

Launching a series of dinners is a great way to build interest and excitement in your membership. There are countless ideas and ways to run a dinner series. From seasonal dinners that celebrate season-specific ingredients to wine paired dinners where regional wines are paired with regional cuisines to explore the connection between place and flavors. The key: have fun. Make sure your chef and creative team to be adventurous. This will be contagious and your members will soon be excited, too. 

Key Points:

Food and Beverage is becoming a key amenity for members as club culture is changing Club dining rooms are competing with other restaurants and entertainment. It’s important to take note of trends and strategies in the wide world of food and beverage. Modern beverage trends don’t have to be difficult to execute, just take the time to understand what would work at your club. Food and beverage offers many opportunities to create great events and enhance social interaction in your club’s community.

Kyle Thacker is the Marketing Director for Uncorkd, Inc. Uncorkd is a CMAA Affiliate Company that designs digital beverage menus for both the private club and restaurant industry. With a background in hospitality and beverage service, Kyle now helps private clubs enhance their beverage programs. To learn more about Uncorkd, visit

Personal Foundation: Re-Orienting on Values

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Personal Foundation: Strengthen the Family

Once we have a clear understanding of our values, we can be very powerfully focused on the goals we set, which are clearly consistent with those values.

This is the tenth part of the ten part series that I have been submitting to help you understand the concept of building a strong personal foundation. If it is the first one you have discovered I hope you will go back and explore some or all of the other pieces of the puzzle. You can find my other posts here on Back of the House, or you can find them in the “articles” page of my website which is . Finding them and reading them is a start. I hope you feel compelled to take action to build your foundation or just strengthen one or two of the areas that might not be at the level you want to see them.

Having a strong foundation will provide the support for the efforts you take to create an amazing life. Can you have an amazing life without building a personal foundation? Maybe! Having said that I must tell you that I truly believe that even ignoring or not addressing just one of the ten areas can put our success at risk. I hope you can see the importance of taking the time to build a personal foundation.

When you think of values you may be thinking of things that you would hear through the media like “family” or “American” or “cultural” values. You may be thinking it has to do with morality or living a certain lifestyle and for you that may be part of it but what I am talking about are the values that define you. I am talking about values that come from you, not from what others have told you ought to be valuing. Values make you uniquely you. Values are what you are naturally inclined or eager to do. An interesting exercise would be to think back to when you were three or four years old. The things you were doing then before you went to school to be told what you “should” be doing might give you some insights into what you value.

To help you understand this I will give you some examples of the values that some of the people that I have worked with have expressed. They may value opportunities to contribute, to be creative, to learn, to lead, to teach, to win, to have pleasure… and when the goals they have, the job they do or the way they live aligns with their values it can seem quite effortless.

For those of you who have been following this series you will know that there are many things that can get in the way of this alignment. Things like unresolved matters, needs, tolerations, people telling you what you “should” be doing, stress, adrenaline, addictions or obligations or duty can distract you from connecting your goals to your values.

When we start to look closely at the things we value we will begin to notice that these are not things we need to try to do, they are just part of us. If we are a person that values adventure we will tend to find adventure in what we do. If we are a person that values compassion or caring about others then we don’t have to try to be caring and compassionate we just are. If we value creativity then we will find ways to be creative in whatever we do. Some people may have jobs that don’t necessarily align with their values but they may have opportunities to do things outside of their job that align with their values.

When we have a clear understanding of our values it makes decision making in our professional and our personal life easier and less time consuming. I can think of times when I have supported people who are looking to make the next step in their career and the fact that they had taken the time to get very clear on their values made a very important career decision easier to make.

I had one club manager that spent time with me on many of these personal foundation issues prior to looking for a job. He had some very clear insights into his needs and his values. He was very clear on what he needed from his future employer to perform at his best. I remember clearly that he valued creativity and autonomy in leadership. He was being interviewed by a very prestigious private club. It was truly a job that was sought after, but after a few interviews it was very clear to my client that this club didn’t want too much creativity. From his interviews he understood that the Board didn’t want many changes and if there were any they wanted to be very involved in managing them.

He thanked them very much for the opportunity to speak to them but suggested he wasn’t the right person for the job. If his needs were driving the decision he might have considered it strongly, but it was clearly a values based decision for him. He is now in a position where he is responsible for many high end properties and his creativity and his ability to be autonomous are appreciated and called upon.

So where does all this leave you? I hope you see that it makes some sense to take some time to really discover what your values are. If you are a member of CMAA you can contact me to work with you on values, one of the other personal foundation concepts or any issue at all as a benefit of your membership. I truly hope you will. We can choose to make the game of our life or our career easier or more difficult. I hope you choose an easy one with a solid foundation!

Kevin McDonald HeadshotKevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin at or Shelley MacDougall at Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.

Personal Foundation: Strengthen the Family

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 Personal Foundation: Strengthen the Family

Part of a great foundation is about being part of a family, whether it is biological or chosen. Creating a structure where you can support others and benefit from their support when you need it strengthens the person you can be. 

What does your family look like? Perhaps you are married with children. Perhaps you are single or divorced with children. Perhaps you are the child of parents. Perhaps you are a sibling? Perhaps you have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. If you watched the television show “Friends” you could see and example of six friends who although only two of them were related biologically they became a family who was there for each other. When my wife and I were young parents we moved three thousand miles from our families to the West Coast. Two other couples that we knew from back home did the same and now twenty years later we have spent most family occasions together and our children have grown up together more like cousins than the relationships they have with their actual cousins.

Families can take on many configurations but regardless of what they look like they can be an important part of our personal foundations. For most people the reality is that jobs, material objects, acquaintances will come and go but family will be there when all else fades away. 

I have coached over three thousand people and I have been trying to recall if I have coached anyone who has told me that their family is just not important to them. I can tell you with great certainty that I have coached hundreds who tell me that their family is the most important thing to them. This can be a challenge when you work in a career that demands that you sometimes spend many hours and days away from your family. Some would say that their chosen career is one where their family suffers, while others in the same career have found that it has provided brilliantly for their families and given them flexibility to be there at times when others would have found it difficult.

What I would like you to consider is not how a career affects the strength of a family but rather how the strength of a family impacts a career, your health, your happiness and your prosperity.

In the book “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” Og Mandino talks about being present in the moment when one of the characters says “I will think naught of my family when I am in the market place for this will cloud my thoughts. So too will the problems of the market place be left in the market place and I will think naught of my profession when I am in my home for this will dampen my love.”

This speaks to the challenge that I hear from many of my clients is that perhaps their family doesn’t get the best of them when they do come home. If you come home exhausted after taking care of hundreds of people, if you come home with little patience and some irritability, or if you come home still engaged in some of the issues you have been dealing with during the day, good luck in strengthening relationships in your life. If our families are the most important thing, they deserve the best of us. When we can be present with them, having fun, listening to them, learning with them and truly being with them the family gets stronger. 

When people leave a turbulent home to go to work they may have trouble leaving the family issues at home when as Og puts it they go back into the marketplace. When they are not as present in the market place their energy, performance and decision making suffers which may mean they have to stay later to get things done. They may be bringing guilt into the workplace as they think about what they have missed doing at home.

When we strengthen the family our relationship becomes easier, there is less drama and less energy wasted.

Those who have built strong families will tell you that you truly know what you have when times get tough. When someone in the family is ill or someone has lost a job or experienced the loss of a loved one then we start to see the depth of a family. I was recently talking to a twenty four year old young man whose father passed away suddenly at a family event. I couldn’t get over his strength. He told me that he had lost his best friend but he said that there were over one thousand people at his dad’s funeral, his friends had all come to visit him every night of the week since his dad’s death and people he didn’t even know were dropping food off at the house so his mom wouldn’t have to cook. 

Conversely I knew an angry man that had alienated himself from family. He had no contact with any of his ex-wives. His parents were gone. His siblings would have nothing to do with him. He was alone. When he was dying of cancer I went to see him. I am not sure if anyone else did. 

These are two very contrasting stories. One about a man who lived a wonderfully fulfilling life where he could accomplish a lot outside the home with a strong family foundation and one never felt supported and who never seemed fulfilled and would make people in his path pay for it.

It is my hope for you that you can see the importance of taking the effort to build those relationships in your family so that it is a wonderful foundation, a refuge from the storms and joyous place to be.

As I wrap up this article I would just like to express how thankful I am for my family. I have an amazing immediate family and as I write this, my wife and I have been married for 12,500 days. We have three wonderful children. My parents and eldest brother are gone, but I still have a brother and two sisters. I am thankful for all of those who have joined my family over the years and my CMAA family as well.

Kevin McDonald Headshot

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin at or Shelley MacDougall at Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.

What is Labor Trafficking?

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Labor Trafficking

Labor trafficking is a form of human trafficking that involves forcing individuals to perform labor or services against their will for little or no pay. Labor trafficking happens across many industries in the U.S. such as ag-riculture, food service and hospitality. It can also be called forced labor, involuntary child labor and debt bondage. 

Labor traffickers often present themselves as legitimate job recruiters or employers who lure victims with promises of an education, high for travelers to know what forced labor is, what it looks like and how to report it. Travelers are on the front lines of potentially observing labor trafficking at hospitality locations such as gas stations, travel centers, rest stops, hotels, motels and resorts. 

Victims of labor trafficking can be any age, race, gender or legal status. People most susceptible to becoming a victim of labor trafficking are those with undefined immigration statuses, large debts and those living in poverty. 

Indicators of labor trafficking include, but are not wages or exciting travel opportunities. Traffickers use force and coercion to gain and keep control of their victims, often taking passports or identification documents. Victims often experience physical and mental abuse by the trafficker, threats of deportation and/or threats of violence towards themselves or their families. 

As domestic travel increases during the summer, it is especially important limited to, the following: 

  • Is the person not in control of his/her own money? 
  • Is the person not in possession of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport) or defer to someone else when asked for their identification documents? 
  • Does the person work excessively long and/or unusual hours? 
  • Is the person not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work? 
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? 
  • Is the person fearful, anxious or tense? 
  • Does the person avoid eye contact or seem afraid to speak? 
  • Has the child stopped attending school? 

To learn more about the indictors and how to report suspected human trafficking, please visit our website.

 Maria Odom

Maria M. Odom is the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman for the Department of Homeland Security and appointed Chair of the DHS Blue Campaign.

How to Look Comfortable When Speaking Even When You Feel Uncomfortable

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Public Speaking

During your next public speaking opportunity: interview, speech or presentation; follow these guidelines to help you look and sound more comfortable even if on the inside you feel terrified!

  • Move slower. The fastest indicator of nervousness will be your body language. Approximately 50 percent of your perceived confidence when speaking in public will be deduced from your hand gestures, posture, and facial expressions. When you walk, or gesture with fewer sporadic movements, you will be perceived as more in control of your energy.
  • Talk slower. The second fastest indicator of nervousness is the speed of your voice. Approximately 40 percent of your perceived confidence when speaking in public will be deduced from three vocal dynamics: Volume, Pausing and Speed. When you say your words slower, you will be perceived as more in control of your emotions.
  • Ask questions. Instead of feeling as if you have to carry all of the presentation, make it interactive. Ask questions, facilitate discussions and welcome immediate feedback. Answering questions and generating discussions can reduce your fear and increase the listener’s enjoyment of your presentation.

Being nervous makes you a human. Being prepared makes you a professional.

Vincent PhippsComms VP Logo

Vincent Ivan Phipps, is owner of Communication VIP Training and Coaching, He is an award winning trainer and speaker. His expertise is in the areas of: Communication, Motivation, Leadership and Customer Service.

Personal Foundation: Building a Strong Community

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Community Building - Group High Five

So how are you doing in the process of building a personal foundation? In this series of ten articles this is the eighth. If you haven’t been following the series, here is a quick overview of the ten topics:

Clearing Unresolved Matters
Restoring Integrity
Getting needs met
Extending Boundaries
Raising Standards
Stop Tolerating
Seeing the Positive Side
Strengthening the Family
Building a Strong Community
Reorienting around Values

If this is the eighth article I am submitting then it should be about Strengthening the Family, but as I sat down to write this, I felt compelled to do number nine in the series. It is not that it is more important than strengthening the family but due to current events it is very timely. Number nine is entitled “Building a Strong Community.”

Let’s start by defining what a Community is. A community is a group of people that we coexist with. A community is a group of people that we care about and that cares about us. The members of a community have a vested interest in supporting the members of that community.

So, are you part of a community? Well, most of us are members of many communities. We live in a community, a neighborhood, a city or town. We have a community at work made up of members and staff. Our clubs have communities that live around them; many may be members, many may not be. We may have an ethnic, cultural or spiritual community. We may have a community that we have built through participation in a sport, a hobby or a special interest. Of course CMAA is an obvious example of a community that is industry-based. Our state or country is a community and for that matter humanity is a community.

Why do people put effort into building and supporting a community? Well there are lots of reasons. Many do it to make a difference or to affect the lives of others. Some do it to show gratitude for all that the community has done for them. Some do it because something needs to be done. When you look at it from a foundational perspective the reality is that sometimes the challenges we face are bigger than something we can or would choose to handle by ourselves. Knowing that we have a community to hold us up when we are feeling vulnerable, hurt or powerless can make a significant difference in our rate of recovery or in some cases our survival.

I have personal experience in the CMAA community as a member, a chapter leader, and, for the past thirteen years, as a coach for its membership. The fact that coaching services were set up is another example of a community providing a service to enhance the professionalism and security of its members and provide support when one of its members is in need. One of the motivating reasons to have coaching services in the beginning was to create another level of support for club managers who have lost their jobs. If you have ever lost a job you will know that your community can play a huge role in your efforts to move on to your next opportunity. My observation, from all of the vantage points that I have seen this organization from, is that there is a direct correlation between the amount of support you receive from the community and the amount of effort and support you put into the community. In this community there is a lot of support that you have access to regardless of the amount that you have put in, but it is quite amazing to see the way people reach out to support those who have reached out to them, stayed in touch over the years or simply were open to building a relationship if even for a moment.

Think about the different possibilities for a club manager who is going through a transition alone versus a club manager who is going through the process with the support of many people from his or her CMAA community. Now think about that person being supported by four or five communities outside of CMAA.

About a year after I lost my job as a club manager I was asked to speak at a local chapter meeting. Before I spoke I saw the list of 25 club managers that would be in attendance. I made note that 24 of the 25 had reached out in some way to support me. The one who didn’t had only been in his new job for a week and we had never met. I was supported with notes, phone calls, invitations for lunch or golf, introductions, information on possible jobs, encouragement, recommendations and perhaps most importantly, interest in how I was doing. I had one CMAA member who called me and told me that he would be calling me once a week to see how he could help me and that he would continue calling me until I told him to stop.

I had one person from my CMAA community say, “I am about to say something to you and I do not want you to respond in any way. I would just like you to hear this. If you and your family find yourself in a situation where you need money all you have to do is send me a note with an amount of money written on it and a cheque will arrive.” I never needed to write that note, but knowing that I could gave me the realization that years earlier when I accepted the position as a club manager of a club in Canada, my community expanded well beyond the suburbs of Vancouver.

How are you doing at building the communities that you are part of? There are so many ways! It could be a big effort in the wake of a disaster like a Tsunami or a Hurricane. It could be by opening checkbook and helping financially. It could be staying in touch. It could be spending time with the elderly person who has lost a spouse or coaching a child’s team. There are so many ways to do it, but just know that building community is an integral part of building a personal foundation.

Kevin McDonald HeadshotKevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for the CMAA. You can reach Kevin or Shelley MacDougall Or call the Toll Free Coaches Line at 1(866)822-3481.

Growing the Game: Topgolf’s Secrets to Reaching Millennials, Women

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08.02.16 Top Golf

The golf industry has watched the meteoric growth of the golf entertainment company, Topgolf, with hopeful interest and excitement. With 27 venues worldwide including the new flagship venue in Las Vegas and more to open in 2016, Topgolf expects that more than 12 million guests will visit and play in 2016. Perhaps most exciting for the growth of golf is the fact that Topgolf has been able to attract two demographics that have been identified as primary growth areas for golf: millennials and women.

According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF) and its 2015 US Golf Participation Report, only 24 percent of the 24.1 million golfers are female and fewer than 30 percent are millennials. Onboarding more women and millennials to golf and keeping them engaged in the game would have a major impact on the current and future participation in golf. With 57 percent millennial and 32 percent female guests, Topgolf has clearly removed barriers that have kept these groups from traditional golf. Further, according to a recent study by the NGF, more than 50 percent of all Topgolf guests have expressed that interest in playing traditional golf has been positively influenced by their Topgolf experience, demonstrating the company is an ideal access point through which people are experiencing golf. However, to truly grow the game of golf, these casual visits and first swings need to convert to golfers who will develop their skills and potentially play traditional golf. Read more...

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The contents are presented with no warranty, either expressed or implied by the Club Managers Association of America. No legal responsibility is assumed for the outcome of decisions, commitments or obligations made on the basis of this information. If your club is faced with a question concerning legal issues, you should contact the club’s legal counsel for the specific application of the law to your situation.