Let’s Talk Club Management Episode 4: Back to Certification

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While everyone else is gearing up to head back to school, we turn our focus on CMAA's education and chat about our certification process. We are joined by our own Brian Watkins, Manager, Certification, and Amanda Day, CCM, of Charlotte Country Club. Brian answers some of our most frequently asked certification questions and gives his advice for a successful CCM exam and Amanda shares her journey from student member to Clubhouse Manager.

Alex Sarris, Director of Member Events & Front Desk Operations at Congressional Country Club, joins us as well, as she shares her winning Idea Fair entry: Team Walk Run Club.  

Let's Talk Club Management Episode 3: Governance Confidential, Part 2

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This month, we have a super-sized episode for you as we continue the conversation around club governance with two more interviews.

We are joined by retired member Harry Waddington, CCM, CCE, who reflects on some of the issues he experienced as a club manager in the Carolinas and Georgia and Robert Sereci, CCM, shares the successful use of white papers with his Board of Directors for our Idea Fair segment.

Finally, we hear from CMAA's Research Department – Amilcar Davy, Manager, Research, and Sarah Bal, Director, Virtual Education and Research, in Association News. They share with us what’s going on with research here at CMAA, what you need to be on the lookout for and what’s coming down the pike.

It is Time to Take Care of Yourself!

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In the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, John Candy gets turned around and enters on to the exit of the highway. He is driving down the Interstate on the wrong side. Steve Martin wakes up to the sound of people driving parallel to them on the other side of highway honking their horn. He is curious as to why and he rolls down the window. The people in the car are shouting “You are going the wrong way!” Steve Martin’s character passed this information on to John Candy’s character and he replies “How would they know where we are going?” The groggy Steve Martin says “Yeah, how would they know where we are going?”


This happens moments before they are narrowly missed by two transport trucks missing them head on, on either side of their car.


So MacDonald is saying “It’s time to take care of yourself!” “How would he know if it is that time for me?” “Is he not aware that it is my busy season?” “Does he not know that we are short staffed?” “Maybe he hasn’t heard that we have a big project coming up?”


If you have thought any of these things or if you feel compelled to argue why this is not time to take care of yourself, may I suggest that you keep a look out for large trucks?


And just so you know, they take on many forms!


Last month I talked about the joy and privilege of being in hospitality. We work in an industry of people who take pride in taking care of others. The problem is that many of us are so focused on taking care of others that we neglect taking care of ourselves. It is easy to admire selflessness vs. selfishness. We see many examples of people who live life in service and seem to have little concern for themselves, self-promotion or personal gain. We see others who think it is all about them and they have little concern for the needs or wants of others.


As a coach, I see people who pay a price for being at either end of that spectrum.


Shelley MacDougall and I work with people to help them understand what they need to perform at their best. When people get their needs met, they are attractive, dynamic, energized, productive, fun, caring, happy people. When they don’t get their needs met they can be ugly, miserable, lethargic, angry, defensive, unproductive, disengaged people. We encourage people to learn what their needs are and learn how to meet them.


But isn’t this a form of selfishness?


In this industry, Shelley and I observe, that instead of taking care of themselves at the expense of others, the people at the top of the game take care of themselves so they can be brilliant at taking care of others.


Is it possible to take care of others, without taking care of yourself? Absolutely! You probably will be able to do an adequate job but it will be hard to be brilliant.


Now here is where the timing comes in. It is obviously easier to take care of yourself when you are not at the busiest time of the year, but the time to take care of yourself is everyday throughout the year. The busiest part of your year may be the most critical time to take care of yourself. It is the time of the year when you are being seen and evaluated the most. It is the time of the year when your reputation is being built up or broken down. It is the time of year when you may need the preparation and grounding the most. The illusion is that if you give your all then you will be appreciated, admired, and rewarded and often times people find that instead they are criticized, compared and often times rewarded with the chance to look for another career opportunity.


This is your life! This is your job! This is your career! This is your legacy!


We work with people to change their focus from giving their all to giving their best. Taking care of yourself in a way to give your best is more powerful and sustainable than giving your all.


In our Extraordinary Leader Program we recently interviewed Chip Franks, the author of Life Lessons from Dad 101 Ways to Get More from Life (From Someone Who Loves You)


Chip was a successful and driven business man with a wife and three children when he had a stroke while attending a conference. While he was wondering if this might be the end of his life, he regretted that if it was, he hadn’t left his children with the messages he wanted them to hear. He was given the gift of living on and the chance to give his kids his ideas on how they could be their best.


He broke the book into four main things they could work on to live great lives. The same four areas are worthy of our focus in our goal of being our best in our lives, our families and our careers.

They are the Heart, the Mind, the Body, and the Soul.


We all get to decide how or if we will work on any or all parts of us. It is a choice and hopefully a catastrophic health episode is not required for us to make the decision.


Being used to, or resigned to the belief that you have to give away yourself and your best to give your all, is sort of like driving in the wrong direction on the interstate and not being aware that isn’t the right path.


It is time to take care of yourself!

KevinKevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA and can be reached at 1-866-822-3481 toll free.

Let's Talk Club Management: Members, Meetings, Mulligans, and More Episode 2 – Governance Confidential

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Join Kyle Jennings, Manager, Communications & Student Development, and Melissa Low, Senior Director, Communications & Advocacy, for the second episode of CMAA's podcast: Let's Talk Club Management

In this installment, Kyle and Melissa speak with Mac Niven, MCM, CCE, to discuss some of the perennial challenges club managers face - namely board governance and the personalities that come with it. Mac was kind enough to share a powerpoint that he create on the subject. Check it outRead Mac’s Master Club Manager Monograph on the subject as well.

Our Idea Fair winner this month is Kaitlyn Allen, Events Coordinator at The Carriage Club in Kansas City, MO. Kaitlyn shares with us her winning entry in the Club Dining Room Promotions category. View her entry, and others, online.  

Also joining us this month are CMAA team members Kim Pasquale, Jason Koenigsfeld, and Chris Velo. They share with us information about the brand new  CMAA Fellows Program  as well as the technology upgrades going on behind the scenes to keep CMAA running smoothly. 



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Hos.pi.tal.i.ty  (noun)the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

I am on day 14 of my 14-day trip that has had me wandering around North America. I have been in different time zones, weather patterns, hotels, clubs, and homes. I have been by oceans, rivers, lakes, and a gulf. I have played golf on beautiful golf courses and flown on a number of flights.


When I reflect on all the places I have been, the things I have seen and the experiences that I have had the one word that stands out for me is “Hospitality”.


For the past two weeks I have been living a life that rivals Jeff Morgan’s Instagram and Facebook posts.

I studied Business Administration in University and the business I got into was the hospitality business. I visited my friend Jon Fisher at a resort he was working at one summer and as I watched him work, I felt immediately that this was the business I wanted to work in. It was fascinating to me that you could have a job where you work in a beautiful location, with first class facilities and connect with and serve Extraordinary people. Jon and I had worked in a very hot, very smelly factory with shifts from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. to earn money to pay for school. We worked with men who had been working at the factory for over 30 years and we knew that we didn’t want to do that.


The idea that there was a business that allowed us to work and serve in a playground was sort of mind blowing. I loved entertaining! I loved music! I loved parties! In my early 20’s I opened night clubs for a company. I would go to a city and have the best sound system in town, a newly designed facility that would be the coolest place in town and there would be a party at my place every night. The amazing part was they paid me to be that person. They paid me to find the next person and I would go off to open the next one in another city.


I will never forget the feeling I got from taking care of people and creating an environment that made them feel great. I will never forget the discovery that I got even more joy from taking care of the people who would serve those guests and inspiring the same feeling of joy in them.


That experience was almost 40 years ago.


I recently had the chance to visit Jon Fisher at the Country Club where he is the General Manager. I arrived at the club before he did and I was sitting at the top of the stairwell waiting for him. I could hear his voice from a lower level of the club and I could hear the people he was talking to laughing. I then heard the sound of him bounding up the stairs two or three steps at a time. When I saw him he had a big smile on his face. We didn’t bound into work at the factory in our late teens but here was a 60 year old bounding in to work like he was still at the resort at the beginning of his career.


This all takes me back to my journey of the past two weeks. I feel very fortunate that I have spent my last few weeks with people who are passionate about hospitality.


I have noticed that not only do they make sure that your basic needs are taken care of, but they consider what they can do to make your experience an Extraordinary one. They care about details. They want things to be special. They asked lots of questions to ensure they understand what would be special for me. They were authentic in their concern. They felt honored to honor me. They made it feel like what was theirs was mine. They accommodated me. They wined and dined me. They gave me the opportunity to play golf. They took me to listen to music. They included me in family events. They took me to the Presidential Suite to see the setting sun. They introduced me to Extraordinary people like I was the important one. They took me to Top Golf. They went out of their way to see me. The list goes on!


Here is an important consideration if you are a person of hospitality! They allowed me to be hospitable. They allowed me to host them and show them appreciation. They allowed me to express my gratitude. They allowed me bring my magic to what they created.


Some people in hospitality are more than willing to give, but they are reluctant to receive.


You can’t give without receiving and you can’t receive without giving.


Here is a challenge for hospitality professionals!


Focus on being brilliant at receiving hospitality! Arrive with your arms wide open, willing to receive Extraordinary hospitality. Be grateful in the moment. Be grateful later on with cards or notes. Be cautious about getting into the game of how you would have done it differently, but rather receive the brilliance and generosity of that person’s gift.


You can give someone the feeling you got early in your career when someone genuinely appreciated your efforts and saw your gift of hospitality.


It is also possible at times for the business of hospitality to get in the way of your spirit of hospitality. Maybe it is time to reconnect with what got you into this business in the first place. Maybe it is time for you to help someone you lead make this same reconnection!


Don’t you just love Hospitality?

KevinKevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA and can be reached at 1-866-822-3481 toll free. 

Privilege and Accountability

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Privilege and Accountability

This year my family is having a wonderful landmark vacation. Rose and I along with our three adult children and their significant others are going to Italy. We have been invited to a wedding at a castle near Florence. My niece and the man who is planning to spend the rest of his life with her have asked me to officiate the wedding. I am truly honored and excited to have been asked to play this role in their special day.


As you can imagine, I am taking this job seriously and I have been researching things about marriage that might help me say something that can make their wedding special. Yesterday a quote from Richard Needham showed up in front of me. It said;


When you marry someone you don’t marry one person, you marry three people.


1. The person you think they are.

2. The person they are.

3. And the person they are going to become as a result of being married to you.


Yesterday Rose and I celebrated 13,111 days of marriage and we talked about this quote as it related to us. I was 24 when I got married which is pretty young by today’s standards, but it was not uncommon then for people to get married after they graduated from high school. Regardless, it was young. I know we both had an idea of who the other was. I am not sure if we were very clear on who we were but never the less we walked into a new life together. We have truly become different people as a result of being married to each other. We both celebrate the people that the other has helped us to become.


The two words I want to focus on in this article are privilege and accountability.


It is a privilege to get married and it comes with accountability!


It is a privilege to live and design your life and it comes with accountability!


It is a privilege to lead others and it comes with accountability!


In marriage, in life, and in leadership, if we point our finger in the other direction and say they are the reason I was not successful, we are missing the key point that we are accountable. When we give up this responsibility then we can begin to look like a victim.


In a marriage we are accountable for who we choose to marry (an arranged marriage is an exception to this), we are accountable for the importance we give to the other person, we are accountable for the respect, appreciation, affection and caring we show the other person and we are accountable to help the other person know how we need to be treated.


Who has your spouse become as a result of being married to you?


I realize that people read this article from where they are. Some are single, some are about to get married, some are happily married, some are unhappily married, some haven’t really thought about it much, some have been married multiple times and some may be ending a marriage. There is no judgment about where you are as you read this it is just an opportunity to consider if where you are is a privilege and a place for accountability.


Most of the people reading this article are leaders. In our Extraordinary Leader Program we help leaders see the privilege and accountability of being a leader. The truth is that when you hire someone at any level of your organization you are really hiring three people.


1. The person you think they are.

2. The person they are.

3. And the person they are going to be as a result of being led by you.


How are you at choosing people?

After President and Mrs. Carter celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary President Carter was asked about the secret to a long happy marriage. He said “It is important to marry the right person.” In marriage and in leadership it is easy to look at others and judge them against the expectations we had for them. If we get to choose, choose wisely. If we are leading people who others chose, choose to make them successful.


How are you at setting people up for success?

On some reality television shows, and in life people often set others up for failure and then criticize and punish when the person fails. If your people are succeeding, flourishing and excited, there is a good chance they have been set up for success. Do they know what success looks like? Do they have a plan to succeed? Are they given the support and tools to succeed?


How are you at serving people?

If you think marriage and leadership is about being served by others, good luck with that! We are service professionals. You can’t give without receiving and you can’t receive without giving. It is a two way street.


How are you at celebrating people?

In a marriage and in organizations, celebration creates energy. Catching each other doing things that we appreciate, celebrating the big things, celebrating the little things, celebrating the effort and celebrating the fact that we are connected creates energy. You can create energy or you can suck energy! You have a choice!


How are you at caring about people?

In marriage and in leadership, do they know you care? Do you care about their happiness? Do you care about their health and safety? Do you care about their future? Do you care about their passions? Do you even know they exist? If they don’t think you care, there is a chance they won’t either.


How are your people as a result of being led by you?

When you look at the people you are privileged to be in life with, do you see Extraordinary? If you don’t you have the opportunity to consider your accountability in that result!


You are privileged and accountable!


KevinKevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA and can be reached at 1-866-822-3481 toll free. 

Let's Talk Club Management: Members, Meetings, Mulligans, and More

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Episode 1


Join Kyle Jennings, Manager, Communications & Student Development, and Melissa Low, Senior Director, Communications & Advocacy, for the inaugural episode of CMAA's podcast: Let's Talk Club Management.

In this installment, Kyle and Melissa speak with Jeff Morgan about his recent anniversary with CMAA, what he's learned in the past three and half years, the challenges he's faced along the way, and what he sees for the future of CMAA.

Each episode will also feature an Idea Fair winner - and this month's showcases the winner of the Chairman's Award from the 2018 Idea Fair. Elisha Cicerone, Director of Food & Beverage at Chevy Chase Club joins the podcast to discuss her team's winning entry.

Tune in:

While we're only available on Soundcloud currently, we will be moving to iTunes and Stitcher soon - so be sure to subscribe when we make that announcement!

We look forward to your feedback!

What Are You Afraid Of?

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If you asked that question to one hundred people you would get a variety of answers that might range from everything to nothing. The truth is we all probably have some things that we fear. For some their fears get constant attention and for others they are running in the background. The truth is that we have been taught to fear by some brilliant teachers. They may have been parents, friends, teachers, religious leaders, newscasters, advertisers, politicians… you get the idea. There is no shortage of people who will tell you who or what to be afraid of.

Like a seed, when fear gets planted it tends to grow.

Fear can protect us, but it can also stifle us.

Fears that keep us small can make us feel comfortable and safe, but they can also keep us from reaching our potential.  

As coaches, it is interesting for us to notice how fear plays a role in the success of our clients. Some clients fear failing. In some cases this motivates them to do all they can to be successful and avoid failure.  In other cases the fear of failure seems to paralyze people or in some cases makes them so tight and tense that they are lucky to operate at a competent level. In a time when they need to thrive and show their talent, they fall short.

Some clients fear success. With success there are often higher expectations, demands on your time and less freedom. Some may want to avoid all of the hard work and sacrifice that success may require.

We have had a lot of sessions with students recently who seem to fear the change that given a choice of jobs, they might choose the wrong one.

Some people are afraid of spiders. Some people are afraid of snakes. Some people are afraid of clowns. Some people are afraid of heights. Some people are afraid of speaking to a large group of people. Some people are afraid of taking that first step. Some people are afraid to finish what they started.

It really doesn’t matter what people fear or if it makes any sense to us that they do. What matters is whether or not they are willing to put up with the cost of the fear.

People are motivated to move toward pleasure or away from pain. Of course the avoidance or possible pain can limit us from a lot of the pleasure that makes life amazing.

A wise person once said “Whenever I have made decisions in life that were motivated by fear I almost always paid a price. Whenever I made decisions based on my values I always seem to win.” 

 Life is full of decisions. Some are small and some are big. Often we get to discuss decisions with people before they make them and often we get to talk to people after the fact but we tend to see that a lot of the decisions that people regret were motivated by fear and not values.

We work with people who made the decision to take the wrong job because they were afraid if they didn’t take it they may not get another chance. Perhaps they were afraid that the money would run out. Maybe they were afraid of what people might think if they were out of work too long. Maybe they were afraid that they were too old or too young or too something. What they often find is that fear and desperation make them decide things they wouldn’t normally decide. The warnings signs might be ignored, the due diligence might be skipped because fear is driving them to get the job.

On many occasions these kinds of poor decisions don’t work out and then they find themselves doing the same thing again because their old friend fear is driving again. If it continues to happen a pattern is formed that is hard to get out of and diminishes the reputation, credibility and the value of the candidate.

A client we worked with recently was getting worried as weeks became months in the transition period. He considered taking a job that was very similar to the one that just ended poorly. It would have meant getting income again but it didn’t satisfy what he and his family needed and wanted. He made the decision to not take the job even though there was nothing solid on the horizon. Within a month he landed a job that utilized his skills, excited him and was in alignment with what he and his family wanted. We recently celebrated his decision to align with his values vs. succumb to his fear.

Whether you are in transition between jobs or just in life making daily decisions there are two things we would love to do to support you.

The first is an exercise to help you to determine your needs. When your needs are met you are attractive, dynamic, energized, productive, inspiring, fun and easy to be around. You are in a positon to make powerful decisions. When you don’t get your needs met you can be ugly, short tempered, loud, quiet, isolated, lethargic, tired and not fun to be around. As human beings we have both ends of this spectrum. When we are not getting our needs met, fear has power. Fear can take over and often does. Let us help you learn what your needs are and help you get them met almost all of the time.

The second exercise is to determine your values. Your club may have identified values for people to live by but this is your chance to do it or re-examine your values. When you are living life in alignment with your values life is easier. Decisions are easier.

If you are interested you can live life with less fear! 

Let’s do it! If not, what are you afraid of?

KevinKevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA and can be reached at 1-866-822-3481 toll free. 

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.