Take a breath, and then kick-start your “climbing team plan” for 2017!

Here we are, November. (Exhale.) We are climbing up the mountain path (your choice: Rainier, Hood, Baker, Mt. Sentinel, Jumbo or Three-Fingered Jack) toward our “Summit of Success.” It’s been a steep path of late, filled with long days, and stress over the things we can control and those we can’t. In this month of November, we MUST take a deep breath and catch up like we would on a the trail heading up our favorite mountain. Hydrate, re-energize and connect on a personal level with our “climbing team.”

While catching our breath, we should also be reviewing the last portion of the trail with our “climbing team” focusing on the 2016 portion of the trail we just traversed.

What worked well?

  • Were there any programs or events where we saw more consumer engagement?
  • Were there any programs or events where we saw our customers promoting participation to their friends or families?
    • If yes, we did something well. What was it? How can we do more of it? How can we leverage it in 2017?
    • Why did this concept work? What was the “why” for the customers that clicked with this offering? How can we take this information on the why and use it in other programming?

What didn’t work well? Were there any pitfalls?

  • Where did you or some of our climbing team see some “injuries” because they were put in a place where they couldn’t succeed? Often, it’s not their choice to be in that place. A leader put them there and probably failed them. Do we need to give some attention to this “injury of trust?”
  • Was it because we missed recognizing their strengths or did we fail to delegate well to them (e.g. not give them the resources, or authority, or both to execute the job successfully.)
  • Where did we not keep our promises (to a teammate, a customer/member) that we now need to shore up? If we don’t, it’s likely there will be a lack of trust that will hurt us on the next leg of the trail; this will cost you and the whole team, so deal with it.

Now that we’ve considered our recent steps on the trail to the “Summit of Success,” it’s time to look ahead as well. With the questions (and answers) from the previous section in our mind, we need to see, then build a plan to deal with what is ahead. With our climbing team, we should be asking several other questions:

What opportunities did we get glimpses of, but couldn’t take advantage of?

  • On the path, we always see opportunities that we should be going after. Why do we not go after them? The sad truth is that other, less important, less customer engaging, less revenue driving activities are taking priority over them. These “count what we’re doing” activities keep us from “doing what counts.”
  • Based on our facility why, what activities are going on the STOP DOING LIST for 2017? (How are we going to engage our climbing team, our employer, our Board of Directors, etc. to help them support this re-prioritization of activities?)
    • If you don’t know your facility “why”: Let me help you define it.
  • What human, financial and time resources must be reallocated so we can all be aligned to drive more customer engagement and more revenue to our facility’s bottom line?

 Why are we on this path? Is it still the right one?

  • If we’re on the right path, we should be creating “followership”. Followership is not about the price! It’s about the customer/member receiving a “rich social experience” where our climbing team (our PGA professional staff) “creates emotional connections” for them. This is where it happens. Not on GolfNow, not in a Tour event on TV, not in our Club Championship. Followership takes someone to follow: An engaged, passionate PGA professional!
  • If our customers/members are not following us we must stop and think. Why have they stopped following? (Maybe we took a wrong turn and followed our own ego, looking for the comfortable route rather than what was best for them? Their “demand decision” is based on their enjoyment, not ours.)
  • We’re on the path with other “climbing teams.” If you’re a leader, are you following another team because you’re tired? Or lost, or feeling less-confident? If you are, ask your team for their input (without your ego involved, read: Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday) and maybe ask other “climbing team” leaders; with your team, set your team direction then go.
  • If we’re still on the right path, how should we proceed? Should we take the “baby-steps” route or should we blaze our own trail?

 Depending on the choice of the path, what do we need to leave behind?

  • See the Stop Doing List (Book recommendation: Good to Great by Jim Collins)
  • Is there a member of our climbing team that needs to step up in their “team leadership?” Is there a member of our team who needs to be re-positioned or helped to find a different team? If you’re a climbing team leader, ask yourself without your ego, di d you put them in a position where they were going to fail? If yes, own it. The whole team knows it. Own it, then reset. They’ll respect you more for it and you’ll all climb better next season!
  • What pet project really needs to be “sunsetted” or let go of? It used to be a best practice, but now it’s a “meh” practice. It could be this effort that’s draining your team so you can’t make the leap to the better practice or concept?

On our way to the Summit of Success, we will encounter steep portions. Some of them may require us to climb with our hands, struggling a lot to grasp new concepts, new, more effective “consumer-centric” practices to grow the business, create deeper customer/member engagement, etc. The steep parts are hard, they’re painful and they’re very challenging, but it’s these parts that get us to the summit we seek so much faster. “A Steep Learning Curve” is a good thing when we have a plan, when we’ve engaged our “climbing team” to support us (and we support them) and we’ve discarded the activities that weigh us down/slow us down.

As a reminder, I’m here as your “climbing coach” and business consultant for the PGA of America.  If a kick-start or some coaching is what you’re looking for, so you can start climbing up again, please reach out to me soon. I’d love to help you reach toward your “Summit of Success” in 2017.

Monte Koch, Certified PGA Professional/Player Development
Player Development Regional Mgr/Mentor**
PGA of America (Greater Seattle/PacNW PGA Section)
Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com  Cell: 206/335-5260