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Systems for Success – Part Four

By James Cronk


A Five Part Series to help you improve your people,

your products and your profits!

By James Cronk, Principle, CRONK GROUP INC.

In this issue…. Part Four – Deliver Success!

In parts one and two of this series we identified the importance of defining our success, and then the importance of having a great plan. In part three we identified ways to attract the best staff. If our goal is to fly to the moon we better make sure we leave at night and have some pretty talented pilots, otherwise we might find ourselves getting burned!

In this issue we discuss how to keep our rocket (and our people) on course! First, we need process. The more structure and clarity that we provide our team the better they will perform. Second, we need to make sure that our communication process is designed so that everyone knows ‘what’ they need to know and ‘why’ they need to know it. And finally, and most important, we need to reward and recognize great employee’s so that we distinguish between a mediocre effort and one that is above and beyond.


Delivering great customer service is often a very misunderstood process. Too many times a manager thinks that if they just hire the right staff, everything will be fine or that service will be improved if we simply increase our training.  While both of these are needed and are incredibly important to service quality, they will not ensure great service happens each and every day and with every guest. The best way to ensure a consistent quality of service is to ensure that you have all the details covered. The best hotels, the great resorts, the successful retailers all use structure, process and repetition. The more process you have, the more the basics will get covered and the more the basics get covered, the more your staff will have the freedom to exceed guest expectations. If we are worried about answering the phone or finding supplies, we certainly don’t have the time needed to greet a member by name or ask about their experience.

To make sure that we have a solid foundation for success, make sure that you are using some of these ‘power-on’ tools that ensure that the basics of customer service will be covered;

Job Descriptions

Every position needs a well-written job description that clearly outlines what is expected of that role, including who they report to, what are the expected duties and mostly, how they can contribute to the overall success of the facility.

Code of Conduct

One of the best tools that will create consistency is a code of conduct for all employees. These are often core values that we expect from each and every employee, no matter what department they work in. These might include; greeting every guest, being positive, acting in a safe manner or promoting positive environmental practices. By communicating code of conduct standards that are expected of every employee we also create a sense of fairness and equality among all staff, no matter what their role.

Daily Checklists

Each and every position should have a daily checklist that is completed at the end of each shift. These can be submitted by the employee or if needed, reviewed by a supervisor to ensure all tasks have been done. Without checklists even the best employees will find ways to skip a task or two.

Goals & Objectives

Within each position it’s beneficial if you can establish annual goals and objectives for that person. These would be objectives that go above and beyond the minimum standards that are expected, and that will help the company achieve their annual goals. For example, if this year our goal is to improve our safety and security procedures, then every employee should be expected to know what steps they take in case of an emergency.

Once you have these mastered, considering adding these as well; Annual Performance Reviews, Designed Guest Experiences, Facility Facts Sheet, Facility Phraseology and regular Product Knowledge Sessions.


Studies show that if we hear something four times it will stick in our head, and this is no different when it comes to learning customer service skills. Too often we post a memo on the board and expect it to be followed, yet we are always surprised when a customer says “Sign! What sign?”. If we want our staff to be focused on the needs of our guests instead of their needs, then we better make sure we are excellent communicators. When employees know what’s up and what’s expected then they won’t spend time making up their own solutions.

To make sure our staff knows ‘who’s who in the zoo’, consider using some of these ‘power-on’ tools that will help you get your messages out there;

Employee Orientation Session

Each season should start with an annual orientation delivered by the big boss. This is our chance to tell EVERYONE what we are all about, who our customers are and what they want, how we did last year and what our plans and goals are for this year. It’s also the one time each year when we can get all staff into the same room where they can learn about the goals and objectives of each department and how it takes everyone working together to achieve success.

Communication Boards

Each department should have a behind the scenes employee bulletin board where the manager can post critical information such as; repairs and maintenance, key upcoming events, policy changes and other documents. A great way to make sure all staff read and understand the memo’s is to get them to initial the paper so that a manager can check to see if it’s been seen by all. It also eliminates the opportunity for that employee to say, “No one told me that!”.

Performance Reviews

The best time to give and get feedback is during an annual performance review that is conducted at the end of the year with every employee. This allows the manager and employee an opportunity to review goals and objectives that were achieved and to discuss any ideas that would help performance in the future. It also gives the employee a chance to tell us their suggestions on how we can be a better employer. The best way to handle reviews is to give the employee the form in advance and have them complete all the questions first. That’s right…. have them review themselves! It’s amazing how often employees are harder on themselves then we are.

Once you have these mastered, considering adding these other communication tools as well; Annual Employee Satisfaction Survey, Management Meeting Schedule, Member/Customer Satisfaction Survey and Department Log Books.


While it might be a sign of our cynical human nature, it’s unfortunate how often staff can de-value the ‘employee of the month’ award. We have likely all heard cries of “It’s his turn”, or “she is the bosses favourite”. One of the best ways to turn employee recognition programs into a motivator instead of negative chatter around the water cooler is to celebrate the ACT instead of the person. When we recognize the ACT that is performed by the employee, it clearly demonstrates real-life examples of what it means to go above and beyond for our customers and also our fellow employees.

Consider using two distinct forms of recognition to power-on your staff while celebrating their successes;

Random Employee Recognition Program

It’s great when we see an employee doing something right instead of doing something wrong. People (including ourselves) love to be recognized for a job well done. Fill your pockets with little tokens of thanks that you can give to an employee when you see something right. These could include $5 gift cards or mini-chocolates or a company pin. It’s not the value of the gift but the thought that counts.

Structured Employee Recognition Program

For celebrating acts of excellence it beneficial to have a structured recognition program that allows for customers and fellow employees to nominate those employees who perform a great act of service. By providing ballots on the counter and in the lunchroom you can gather a list of examples that can be celebrated at the end of each month. You can even put all the nominations into a hat and randomly draw a prize for one lucky employee. By posting the ACT as well as the name, we can strengthen the message that we are a sending our employees…”Here is what we are looking for”.

Once you have these mastered, considering adding these other recognition tools as well; Friends and Family Privileges,

Long-term Service Awards and Employee Education opportunities (such as free lessons to learn how to play golf!)


In this series of articles we present four systems for success. First, we identified the importance of defining what success looks like, including the need to define what game we are playing and what the rules are. The reason this is so important is because people inherently want to play on a championship team, and players want to know how they can contribute to the team’s success. Second, we need to hire the right people. No matter how great our plan is, if we have the wrong people using the wrong tools, or even using the right tools but in the wrong way, it is very unlikely that we will ever deliver on our plan and achieve our vision of success. Third, once we have a great plan and the right people, we need to create a work environment that lets them be their best each and everyday. Finally, we want to make sure we measure our results. It’s impossible to know if you are winning or losing if you don’t keep score.

In future blogs we will explore in more detail the four Systems for Success (Plan, Prepare, Deliver and Measure). In the next issue, how to Measure Success!

JAMES CRONK – Principle, Cronk Group

James Cronk is a highly regarded speaker and consultant and his work takes him around the globe, helping clubs and organizations improve their people, their products and their profits. His clients include private, resort and daily fee clubs of all sizes and also national and international organizations such as NGCOA, CMAA, CSCM, EGCOA, PGA and GOLF 2020. For more information visit www.cronkgroup.com or contact him at james@cronkgroup.com

To learn more visit WWW.CRONKGROUP.COM or email us at james@cronkgroup.com




Download and apply these 10 ‘POWER ON’ principles and see immediate improvements in the satisfaction of your staff, your guests and your bottom line!

James Cronk

For the past twenty-five years James Cronk has been helping business owners get themselves, their people and their customers powered on. He uses a unique blend of creativity, experience and proven systems to help golf clubs achieve their goals and increase their profits by improving their systems, their service and their people!
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