Words of wisdom I’ve learnt from the management development programmes

By Michael Braidwood CCM

Words of wisdom I’ve learnt from the management development programmes. One liners that have resonated for years.

I have been very fortunate, I attended two MDPs as a delegate, MDP1 and MDP2, in 2011 / 12 but when I was Director of Education for CMAE I facilitated over 30 MDPs so got to listen to the great presenters for free! In fact, I was paid to do it… double bonus!

The tools I have learnt have held me in good stead now as I manage Education City Golf Club in Qatar.

On a daily basis I have to manage a multiple of different disciplines, problems, challenges, issues… call them what you like, but as a club GM a lot comes across your desk and your owners, board, members expect a lot from you.

So here are few one liners from MDP that have resonated with me over the years and I call upon almost on a daily basis!

1. 7 right ways – Bill Sanderson taught me this in MDP 2 when looking at Problem solving. What the 7 right ways does is that when ever faced with a challenge, a problem etc. work with your team to think of 7 right solutions. The first idea might be the right one, but if you develop 6 other solutions for sure you have drilled down on each potential one and will now have a choice as to the best one.

2. Change what you can, manage what you can’t – Susan Stevenson (of the book Polar Bears and Penguins fame) taught me this one when she presented for us in MDP 1 in Dubai. In life and in work you have certain authority and freedom to make change, great, go ahead, do it carefully, do it well and communicate throughout. But certain things are ‘institutionalized’ are done some ways because they are done that way! There are people working in your organisation just because! These are things if you try to change you may well be out of a job. So, this is when you need to manage these situations and have a strategy, tact and diplomacy to manoeuvre around them to get what you need or to get the job done.

3. It’s not what I want for the club, but is it a hill I am willing to die on – Kevin Fish CCM taught me this in MDP 2, it is in essence the club managers choice on what battles to choose and its best to use discretion on which ones to fight, some are not worth it, as it may be an issue you have a problem with, but fighting it will be futile, time consuming and might lose you your job ? Sometimes it’s worth just staying quiet!

4. What gets measured gets done – Helen Bennett in MDP 2 taught me this. Your team are made up of people who are instinctly competitive and proud of their performance. If you can put in place as many measurement tools as you can you will by default see results improve. Easy ones are guest / member satisfaction surveys, or if you want to go a little deeper engage a Mystery shopped. The results are golden.

5. You can’t bank a percentage – Steve Brown taught me this in MDP1 Food and beverage. Sometimes we are obsessed with percentages and margins, but remember the key is the cash contribution. You could have an item that costs £5, mark it up 100% and sell for £10, and you could have an item that costs £10 and mark it up 60% and sell it for £16. Well the first item percentage wise looks a better item to sell, but in reality you’ve made £1 more in cash from a 60% mark up.

Finally, and the most important message –

6. Cash is king! – Duncan Ritchie, MDP 1, Finance. Remember when your running a business to keep an eye on the cash. Cash is King, a lot of profitable businesses go out of business because of cash flow. So, remember, try and avoid offering members credit, make sure you negotiate longer payment terms i.e. 60 days and ensure your credit terms are a maximum 30 days then you should always have cash in the bank!

Michael Braidwood on the benefits of going to MDP, seminars, conferences. It goes with out saying that at these industry events you are meeting with very, very experienced operators who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Sometimes it can be just one line that resonates with you that can help you turn your business around.

Michael Braidwood CCM, is the General Manager of the new Education City Golf Club in Qatar. He was formerly the Director of Education for CMAE and has recently been appointed as the chair person of the CMAE’s Education Policy Board which is there to help shape club management education moving forward.Michael’s previous experience has seen him work for Braemar Golf Developments, Royal Golf Club, Bahrain and Gleneagles in Scotland.Michael still retains his PGA status and is a presenter on the CMAEs Management development programmes.