Episode 35: Beyond the Classroom

 Permanent link

In this episode designed specifically for our CMAA Student Members, we talk learning beyond the classroom and how students can take advantage of all that the club industry offers for personal growth including internships, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. Student Chapter Alumni Caroline Hollatz, a 2018 graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Tourism Management, who served as her Chapter’s President, and now works as the Student Liaison with the Ohio Valley Chapter, shares her passion. Our special correspondent for this episode is the charming and bubbly, Christina Krueger, Manager of Member Communities & Student Development.

Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode! 

Delegating to Your Environments

 Permanent link

One of the many things we do as coaches is to support people in setting and achieving goals. We find that many people have been encouraged to do this but have often been set up to fall short or not given all the information they need to succeed and then they become discouraged. There are many elements of goal achievement that people may be unware of. The result is that they approach their goals in the same way over and over with similar results. If they don’t achieve the kind of results they are looking for, they become discouraged and either stop setting goals or dread the process.

Here is one element of goal achievement that can dramatically increase the odds of achieving your goals.

Let me start by suggesting that when a lot of us learned to set goals we put a lot of weight on the fact that we would have the willpower or discipline to stay focused to achieve our goals. We may even have personal evidence that willpower has worked for us in achieving some of the goals we have been successful with in our lives. We may also have some evidence of times when it didn’t. Willpower works when you are strong and when it is on. If you don’t want to eat any cookies and your willpower is fully engaged for 23 hours and 45 minutes, you can eat a lot of cookies in 15 minutes.

Willpower is important but here is an idea that you can employ to increase the odds of achieving the goals you set.

You may have heard the concept that we are a product of our environment. That makes sense. We are clearly impacted positively and negatively by the environments that we are in. The awareness that can make a difference is that although we are a product of our environments, our environments are a product of us.

In the Extraordinary Leader Program we show people nine environments that will have an effect on our lives and the attainment of our goals. Our environments can work for us or work against us and we help people to see the opportunity to set them up in a way to support the outcomes they are looking for.

The nine environments that we talk about are memetic, physical, relationships, network, spiritual, body, nature and self.

We start with the Memetic Environment because how we see the other eight environments is impacted by this environment. This environment is made of the beliefs, ideas, knowledge, cultural norms, and frameworks that we have been exposed to. It is possible to change our memetic environment by exposing ourselves to ideas and knowledge that is different than what we have held on to or known to this point in our lives. When we read, when we join classes, when we get a mentor or coach, when we expose ourselves to new ideas and new perspective we can see the world and the environments that we experience in a new way. The ideas and knowledge you expose yourself to can move you toward your goal.

Physical Environment: Your home, your car, your office, your furnishings, your artwork, or your technology are all parts of your physical environment. Whether you know it or not these things can all be enhancing you or working against you. They can either give you energy and focus or take them away. Does your home, your neighborhood, your city energize you. If not how could it? Is your home, your car and your office organized and working for you or against you? If things like your technology are not set up to support you or working properly, how much is that impacting you negatively? Set up your physical environment to work for you.

Relationship Environment: Your family, your friends, your colleagues, and the people you choose to put into your life are all part of an environment that can be working for you or against you. Some people will support you in moving toward your goals and some people will work against you. You may not always have control of who is in your life but you can decide how you will let them impact you and how you will choose people who will enhance it.

Network Environment: Beyond the close personal relationships we experience it is possible to create a network of people who can impact your life. They can come from all over the world, they can come from different interests, they can be part of your organization, your industry, your community, your church, your sports affiliations. Wherever they come from, be conscious of how they are impacting you. Are they moving you toward or away from your goals?

Spiritual Environment: Being connected to a higher power of your choice or an environment that gives you peace and calm and one that restores you is an important environment.

Financial Environment: Our financial environment is one that has a big impact on what we can do and the freedom of our time. When we earn and manage our money well, when we have safety nets like savings, insurance, or investments, we have more freedom to focus on the achievement of our goals.

Body Environment: We all have a physical body. We can’t control the genetics that gave us the body, but

we can control how we treat it. The health, the strength, the energy, and the endurance of our body has an impact on the goals that we set for ourselves.

Nature Environment: The time we spend in nature has a way of calming, restoring and teaching us. The beauty of nature, the cycles of nature, the movement of water, the warmth of the sun and the miracle of watching plants, and animals seemingly effortlessly doing what they were meant to do, can support us in doing and being what we are meant to do and be. How can you design your nature environment to support you?

Self Environment: Self environment is made up of your personality, your gifts, strengths, talents, and your emotions. Taking some time to be aware of how these things can move you toward your goals is a worthy endeavor.

What do you think it would be like if you set up your nine environments in a way that would support whatever goal you are working on? What would it be like if you delegated much of your effort in goal achievement to your environments?


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. If you would like a copy of the poem “A Friend” that Hugh Alexander Campbell wrote, please e-mail kmacdonald@dccnet.com

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 34 – A Beer Garden in Massachusetts

 Permanent link

July is here and we’re joined by Ryan Kenny, CCM, CCE, General Manager/COO of Dedham Country and Polo Club in Dedham, MA. Ryan shares with us Dedham’s fun (and delicious!) response to social distancing safety requirements. The Club repurposed an area into an outdoor dining area that has become a popular spot for members to enjoy local brews and wood-fired pizza, showcasing the creativity and ingenuity that has come to the surface during the pandemic. Take a listen and see how your club could adapt this idea! Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Closer to the Heart

 Permanent link

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones to start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

The Blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart 

Philosophers and Ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

You can be the Captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart, yeah!

Many of you will know that this is a song by a Canadian Band called Rush. It came out just over a month after I stopped being a teenager. That was in 1977. Perhaps the message is still valuable 43 years later.

In January, Jeff Morgan and I had the chance to attend an event for Tee It Up for the Troops. We had been at an event all afternoon and when we got a chance to check our devices. At the moment that I could see that my phone had blown up with messages, Jeff let me know that Neil Peart from Rush had passed away. People were reaching out to me to give me comfort. My son Danny’s message was that Neil had passed and Alex might need some of my heart. It was all happening as we were at an event, where we could show our hearts, our compassion, our caring, and our support for some people who had given so much.

There is a message in this song that is profound for the world, for countries, for cities, for organizations, and for clubs. I would like to focus on what it could mean for you and me as individuals. It is easy to point at leaders and artists, thinkers, and doers, captains and navigators and hope that they will do something.

This is a song of hope, wisdom and wishful thinking!

Instead of wondering if we will see this way of thinking from others, this is our time to see all of these roles and this approach in us.

Maybe some people feel that “being closer to the heart” is a position of weakness. Maybe some think that counting on logic and strategy and not being distracted by caring and compassion makes us stronger and more powerful. That is one way of thinking.

What if being closer to the heart was seen as courage? What if closer to the heart was about heroism? What if closer to the heart meant passion? What if closer to the heart was about love and compassion? What if closer to the heart meant strength?

When we can see the fact that we are the ones in high places, we are blacksmith and the artist, we are the philosophers and the ploughmen, we are the captain and the navigator, we might create a new reality, closer to the heart.

If you would like to talk about being closer to the heart as an individual or a leader please give us a call.


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. If you would like a copy of the poem “A Friend” that Hugh Alexander Campbell wrote, please e-mail kmacdonald@dccnet.com

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 33: Onboarding New Employees

 Permanent link


The newest CMAA Master Club Manager (MCM), Boris Gradina, MCM, CCE, joins us this week to share his research on the importance of onboarding new employees. He takes us through how he arrived at this topic for the MCM Monograph, the difference between orientation and onboarding, and why timing of the onboarding process is so crucial in ensuring long-term employee retention. 

Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 32 – Total Transparency

 Permanent link

In this first episode of June, we sat down with Steve Buck, CCM, CCE, General Manager of the Stock Farm Club in Hamilton, MT. Steve’s club was hit by COVID-19, with eight of his golf course maintenance crew going down with the virus. He shares with us the experience of containing the virus, communicating with the local community and the state, and the biggest takeaways of the incident. From making sure his staff were cared for to navigating the politics of living and working in a small town, Steve’s story of crisis management is a must-hear for any club management professional. Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode! 


Let’s Talk Club Management Ep. 31 – Checking in with Our Student Chapters

 Permanent link

Joining us on the podcast this week are Josh Gay, a recent graduate of Florida State University and the outgoing President of the FSU Student Chapter as well as our colleague Christina Krueger, manager, Member Communities & Student Development. Josh shares with us a quick pulse check on how things are going down in Florida as well as his student chapter’s innovative efforts throughout the spring semester of social distancing. Relying on virtual meetings, the FSU chapter has been able to maintain regular check ins as well as experience virtual club tours. Even more exciting is the work the FSU Student Chapter and the FLCMAA Chapter have done to create a virtual summer internship program to help students fill the gaps left by employment and experience loss this summer.

Stay well and remember, you can find us on iTunes! Please be sure to rate, review, and subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Thank You Worldwide Pandemic

 Permanent link

What we have been going through for the past few months has given us negative realities that range from boring, inconvenient and frustrating to devastating, painful and catastrophic. It is easy to find things to be frustrated, sad and angry about. I hope we can all find things to appreciate, celebrate and be grateful for.

This pandemic has allowed me to get closer to my Grandfather.

People in my family may be shocked to hear this because my maternal Grandfather died 50 years ago. I was alone with him in my family’s living room telling him stories of the school trip that I had arrived home from the night before. He was grilling me with questions and listening intently to hear about my adventures and learning when his breathing became loud and scary. He was rushed to the hospital and I never saw him again.

He died in June of 1970. In January of 1970 his book “The Life and Adventures or a Pioneer” was published. Last weekend within a few weeks of 50 years of our living room conversation I spent two days with the stories he left behind. When I was 12 or 13 I found them so boring that I couldn’t get through them. Now at a more advanced age and having life experiences that in some ways paralleled his I was enthralled.

In 1905 when he was still in his teens he learned that if he travelled to the new frontier to the north he could buy 150 acres of land for $75.00 if he would clear at least two acres to plant crops and have a house built on it within three years. He decided to take it on to make his fortune and the story of a pioneer kicked off.

There are many lessons that I learned from my Grandfather last weekend. Here are a few of them.

He lived in a time when transportation was a train or a horse drawn carriage. He lived in a time when not everyone had electricity or indoor plumbing. He lived in a time when there may or may not be a road to get to where you want to go. He lived in a time when if you were injured or sick you may get to see a doctor and he may or may not have been able to help you. He lived in a time without modern day safety nets like unemployment insurance or health insurance. He lived in a time when if everything you built was burned in a fire you started again. He lived in a time of a worldwide pandemic and he got the Spanish Flu. He lived in a time when World Wars changed or stopped everything. He lived in a time when communicating with someone that was not in your town meant writing a letter or sending a telegram. He lived in a time when your concern was not having a variety of food, it was simply having food. He told a poignant story of my Grandmother and their first child (my uncle) going to visit friends in a town where they used to live. A forest fire came through and wiped out most of the town they were visiting. Their friends’ home was spared. She asked the friend to go to the telegraph office to let her husband know they were ok. He went to the telegraph office and was told the town he wanted to send the message to doesn’t exist anymore and that he couldn’t send a message. Even if it did, the wires were burnt.

Last week a couple of times people froze up for a few seconds on one of our zoom calls. Perspective!

My Grandfather’s story was a series of successes and his words “reversals”. He would build something up and it would burn down. He would build something up and a pandemic would stall or reverse things. He would build something up and an economic depression would take it away. He would build something up and a World War would tear it down. He would build something up and a poor choice of a partner might bring it down. At 72 years of age he had a business and three other jobs. Maybe when you get knocked down a lot it is easier to deal with getting knocked down.

The Law of Attraction
There is a wonderful story of meeting a man on a train. He shared part of his vision with a man on the train. He had to build a house so he could marry my grandmother and have a place to start a life with her. He didn’t know how he was going to be able to it but he had the vision. A few weeks later the man showed up with a proposition for him to build his home. Within two weeks the man showed up with a crew of men and built a two story log cabin exterior and roof in 8 ½ hours. I look back on my own life to notice how many “man on the train” stories I have in my life.

Friends and Family
Without a doubt, the biggest lesson of the book is that through all the trials and tribulations, through all the successes and reversals of health and wealth, and through all the years of a life well lived and beyond all the gold he prospected and mined, the real gold comes in the form of family and friends. In 1939 my Grandfather had a poem published in the New York World’s Fair Anthology of Verse. The poem was entitled “A Friend”. Like my Grandfather, I have been blessed with three children, a wonderful wife and hundreds of dear friends and acquaintances.

Thank you worldwide pandemic!


Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. If you would like a copy of the poem “A Friend” that Hugh Alexander Campbell wrote, please e-mail kmacdonald@dccnet.com

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.