14 Sep

Time for a Mulligan?

Would Your Long Range Planning Effort Be Best Served by a Do-Over?

Side-lined private club planning

Club long range planning is unquestionably a complicated endeavor.  Even the strongest of boards find themselves struggling with when and how and, in some cases — what to do when it goes awry.  Indeed, sometimes it’s best to call a mulligan and start fresh. (You won’t be the first to invoke the do-over principle!)

There are any number of sand traps Boards can stray into during the planning process.  Most frequently, we see:

  1. Decisions became agenda or tactically driven versus goal-focused.  “I want a new fitness facility,” “We want childcare…” Worthwhile options, both, but planning should start with goal setting that is focused on the long-term interests of the club, not on immediate needs or wants.
  2. Oops, we forgot there was homework.  A planning effort that doesn’t look outside the club at industry trends and market needs is likely to overlook competitive opportunities to better the club.  Examples:  childcare (now a must), junior golf (becoming a cornerstone of new member marketing in many jurisdictions), dining (casual spaces, world class chefs and food selections, etc.).
  3. The inability to build consensus among fellow members.  Often left to the peripheral of the strategic planning process, rank and file members may fail to see the benefits of your proposed changes.  The solution isn’t to quit planning, it’s to better involve membership and promote the planning process and its outcomes.
  4. Lack of understanding of the cost of implementation.  If the right skills or due diligence aren’t brought to bear to develop accurate and realistic budgets during the planning process, Boards can lose credibility with membership.  Accurate and realistic financial projections are critical to ensuring buy-in and project success.

Planning process sidelined? It might be time to step back and evaluate the parameters that got you into a planning quagmire. It might also be time to call in a professional for your mulligan. No shame in that.

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