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The right stuff

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The right stuff

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Finding a new director of golf, a general manager or a business manager can be a daunting enough task at the best of times, but when the trading environment is tough it takes on whole new levels of angst.

It may sound like an odd question, but it needs to be asked – have you identified clearly and dispassionately what it is that you are looking for in your new appointee?

This question resonates strongly with some of the myths around needing to have a CA running your operation when other skill sets may prove to be much more relevant and valuable.

Are your needs custodial, i.e. are the finances on an even keel, the membership full and the staff well settled? This would require someone with custodial skills to keep things moving forwards. Have you had high turnover in staff? In this case someone with more developed personal and human resources skills might be ideal.

Are decreasing revenues, a thinned out membership and lowered revenues from events and sponsorships the problem? If they are, this would suggest the need for someone who is innovative and with good promotional skills and entrepreneurial flair.

Let’s say that the three original criteria for management staff appointments are still in place, and these were:

  1. Does the person seem likely to fit in well with the existing team?
  2. Do they already have the skills or can they, with support, acquire them within a reasonable time frame?
  3. Would it be possible to find common ground in terms of appropriate remuneration?

Then the real task for you as the employer will be to have identified exactly what you need from the new incumbent and to choose someone who already has or can quickly acquire the requisite skills in order to execute the business vision.

Of course, it may be that you have identified the problem areas, but have not yet built or designed a solution, in
which case someone with strategic skills and a track record in building and delivering new business plans might be best. Alternatively, you could choose one candidate with most of the required skill sets and then set aside an allocation within the budget for a consultant to be contracted to assist in specific areas of the business plan.

So – outside of the specifics, what is the ‘right stuff’ that can make you confident that you have found a good general manager?

Along with any specific skill sets that you might have been looking for will also be the ability to manage within the broad themes that run through any management process. So if you are a ‘typical’ employer you will be looking for as much bang for your buck as you can get, i.e. someone who will be able to do six jobs for one salary!

The right stuff

FROM DISCUSSIONS THAT I HAVE HAD, THESE SKILLS WILL INCLUDE SOME IF NOT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • the ability to identify new business opportunities
  • a working understanding of business finances – I would remind you at this point that if you want a CA, then go and hire one!
  • the ability to design a new concept or strategic plan
  • the ability to budget
  • the ability to manage the logistics and deliver on budget
  • HR experience
  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to prepare and deliver presentations
  • bullet-proof people skills
  • a good grasp of F&B
  • a working understanding of the game of golf
  • the ability to firefight and crisis manage at an expert level.

If this looks like one of those starry-eyed, dream-type wish lists that you might see on a TV dating show and something that would be impossible to find in the real world, then you might be pleasantly surprised to find that it may not actually be as hard as you might think.

Any good event manager will display all of these skills and more on a day-to-day level in managing an event, whether as an employee or as a business owner.

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