Training your Staff for the Big Game

It’s finally fall, and football season is in full swing. Whether the team you root for plays on Saturday, Sunday, or at the local high school, there is no denying how much hard work the players put in day in and day out to help achieve their goal of victory each week. A very successful college football team’s mantra (and subject of a pretty motivating hype video--if you are into that sort of thing) on their drive to a history-making season was:

“They don’t put championship rings on smooth hands… Championships are earned when the stadium is empty, when the band ain’t playing, the cheerleaders ain’t cheering, and it’s just you and your brother right beside you. That’s when you win championships.”

Photo Credit: Clemson Football

While your staff is probably not hitting the weight room prior to their shifts, what sets the good clubs apart from the great clubs is the work that is put in when the lights are off, the last cocktail is poured, the course is slow, and the tennis courts are empty. Here are some training tips we can take from the motivational minds of football coaches and players:

“You are Never Going to Be a Great Program if You Lose a Game and Your Season is Over”

There is no such thing as a perfect day, or a perfect game. There are some days that feel like you can’t get the ball moving down the field or stop the hits from coming, but how you recover and learn from the days that feel like a loss rather than a win is what sets you and your staff apart. Failures or mistakes provide valuable learning and training opportunities. It's important that companies maintain a culture of accepting feedback in all forms, even if it is to uncover opportunities to improve or discuss mistakes.

"When you're GOOD at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're GREAT at something, they'll tell YOU.”

No one likes a blowhard on the field—if you are as good as you say you are, let your actions do the talking! A company that is highly-regarded doesn’t need to shout from the rooftops how great they are—their customers/members will do it for them and bring their friends to experience the greatness. Greatness starts at the top and works its way down. Managers should “walk the talk” and model the expected behavior of employees. The managers of great companies and clubs allow employees autonomy while focusing employees on the long-term goal. Managers of great clubs have employees who want to come to work because they feel valued, mentored and engaged .

“Do Common Things in an Uncommon Way”

What is your club doing to set itself apart? Some clubs focus on ensuring that they are investing in the top trending amenities to attract new members, but at RCS, we believe that investing in your employees is what truly sets a club apart. If employee culture is service-oriented, this will trickle down to the members who feel valued and that they are receiving a high level of care every time he or she steps foot into your club. Creating emotional connections is a simple way to elevate your level of service, and it begins the moment a member walks into the room and is greeted warmly by staff. From a training perspective, it’s critical that leadership equips their employees with the tools to create an emotional connection with members.

Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports

“Play like a Champion Today”

Nearly every football team has some sort of mantra that fires them up to play the best that they can when the game is on the line. The championship-winning football teams treat every game, even scrimmages or matchups against lesser opponents, like it is their biggest game. Your club operation should be no different, every day should be treated as your biggest day of the year rather than just another Tuesday. Consistency doesn’t only matter on the weekends or your busiest time – it matters every day at every moment of truth! Finding ways to motivate greatness on a daily basis can be challenging, but studies show that a motivated work environment results in respect amongst peers, management and customers, and people are having fun! There is a clear sense of team sprit and employees truly value their members, rather than viewing them as a nuisance.

Small details make a difference when it comes to both championship football performances, and award-winning service. How does your club work to equip its staff with the tools needed to deliver excellent member experiences day in and day out? What does your staff training program look like? Is it one that is administered during an onboarding process, or is it one that is more consistent? Like a football team that strives to put in just a little bit more into practice and sessions in the weight room, your staff will shine if they strive to put a little bit more effort into perfecting their craft.

Whitney Reid Pennell, president of the RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services) is a celebrated management consultant, educator and speaker. RCS, the creators of the Food and Beverage Boot Camp™, specialize in operations consulting, strategic planning, food and beverage management, and training programs.

For more information, phone (623) 322-0773; or visit the RCS website at www.consultingrcs.com.

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Whitney Reid Pennell
 Founder & President

Whitney Reid Pennell is the founder and president of the award-winning RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services). She is a published author and widely praised seminar leader, with over 20 years of club operations management and consulting experience. 

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