A club board is the best tool that we as club professionals could ever have… but only if we develop a trusting relationship with the board that then filters into the general membership of our club.

Many times, the club management and board get off to the wrong start because we fail to properly prepare our board for success. Thus, our greatest asset and promoter transforms into an antagonistic group of members that spread negative energy like cancer throughout the club.   Trust in the membership is not possible in the absence of trust with the board. So, how do ensure that our board is ….well on board with our team?

Transition and Continuity:  Board personalities come and go and so do the opinions of the members who cycle on and off the board.  That is why it is so important for us to provide continuity to the group. The best way to accomplish this is to ensure that education precedes notions and opinions.  Every new board member should be treated to an education session prior to attending their first board meeting. This session should be conducted by club staff and at least one board member of tenure.   Let the staff and the tenured board member(s) prepare your new member(s) for the questions and requests that they can expect to receive from the membership.

Transparency and Facts:  Club management teams must ensure that all operations and decisions are made with complete transparency.  This is not to say that boards or members should be involved in day to day operations because that is not healthy.  However, any decision that could result in a member asking “why did we do this,” needs to be made in the open and with board understanding.   The two most dangerous words in any board meeting are: “I think” or “I believe”. This means that you are about to hear an opinion and we must always replace opinions with facts.  A good example is a new board member taking a strong stand that the club should make a profit on F&B. We all know that most clubs will struggle to make this happen. Not that it cannot be done, but it is hard and it is not a requirement for a healthy club.  We are in the membership (dues) business, not the F&B business. A good understanding of the facts helps the member avoid these type of notions.

Respect and Protect:  Club members are a coveted group of consumers because it is assumed that they have disposable income and financial health.  Allowing vendors or marketing groups access to club membership is not conducive to the trust relationship. There is nothing wrong with giving members access to group buying, but we must be careful not to cross the line from providing a member service to that of marketing and exploiting.  Member privacy and security should be closely monitored and guarded. Every club today uses a website to communicate and engage members, but unfortunately this also gives the bad actors a venue to violate our members’ privacy. Cyber security is not something that clubs have embraced but that needs to change.  We take it seriously at Clubessential and we encourage you do so as well. This will be one of the biggest challenges that we will face in the coming years. Ultimately, cyber security is the responsibility of the club management team and the club board. These two groups are being held to Duty of Care standards.  This is a topic that we will focus on in 2019.