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Systems for Success – Part Three

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 Three – Prepare for 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. If your goal is to fly to the moon you better make sure you have an idea of how to come back to earth in one piece.

In this issue we discuss how you build the rocket! First, we need to have the right people with the right stuff. Second, we need to make sure that our team is trained for all possibilities. Third, and most important, we need to ensure that our pilots have the right tools so that they can successfully get from point A to point B.


We are not in the golf business or the club business…. we are in the people business. The satisfaction of our guests, the profits of our business and even our own sanity are a direct result of the quality of people that work for us. Choosing the right team is not an easy process, and sometimes the best person for hiring new staff is another front-line employee. Just because someone is a great manager of people doesn’t guarantee that they are a great evaluator of people. Our business is all about relationships, and in the people business we want to hire for attitude and then train for aptitude. We want passionate people who care about our goals and our success (and also our members and their guests), and if needed, we can then teach them the skills required to do the job.

The hiring process takes work. First step is to write a job advertisement that stands out and attracts the kind of passionate, fun and service oriented people we are looking for. Second step is the interview process, and this should include a job interview template with 15 to 20 questions, a written job description and if possible, a second interviewer to provide another opinion. A best practice for hiring is to establish a time every week when a manager is available to interview applicants. This way you and your staff can always be on the look out for good talent and you can tell people that your club interviews every Monday at 3pm. It also tells the current staff that you are serious about improving the quality of the team and it subtly lets them know that they should ensure that they are performing as expected.

Sometimes, no matter how thorough we have been or how good someone’s references are, we hire someone that doesn’t work out. Every new employee should have an established probation period of no more than one month, and at that time we want to sit down with them to discuss their performance as an employee and also our performance as an employer. It’s a great opportunity to learn from each other and to find out any questions they have or ideas they might have for improving our member/guest experience. Far too often we don’t ask the frontline staff for their feedback, and who best to hear first hand the comments from our customers. Of course, if they are not performing to task, we can let them know what they need to do to improve.


Can you imagine picking up a scalpel to perform surgery without first being trained in medicine? Of course not, because becoming a doctor requires years of studies, training and practice. Why is it then that we often expect our staff to be skilled in customer service without receiving any training? To be clear, saving lives is somewhat more complicated than serving drinks, but understanding and delivering excellent service is much more than having a smile and quick feet.  Successful clubs have lengthy and detailed training programs that often include key staff identified as trainers. By partnering up a new employee with a trainer it not only helps the new employee learn key skills, but it also empowers those longer-term employees as valuable members of the team.


In addition to having the right people, we also need to make sure we have the right tools. If you have ever been fortunate enough to stay at some of the world’s best hotels (Fairmont, Shangri-La, Westin), then you know that superior service isn’t the result of simply hiring good people that smile. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. These hotel chains and others have been able to create a service experience that is consistent and exceptional in any corner of the world, in any language and in any setting. They have achieved this not by letting managers be creative, but instead by requiring incredible structure and process. Every employee has clearly defined tasks, and every task has a purpose that supports the brand.  The best way to create structure is to implement tools that are designed to create consistency (see a list of 35 tools on page__). If our processes, our training systems, our communication, our minimum service standards and our policies and procedures are all clearly defined, then the only unknown factor will be the hiring of good people.

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YOUR HR TOOLBOX – Tools to get your staff powered on!

Here are some examples of tools, templates and programs that every club should have in their people toolbox;

Mission Statement

Vision Statement

People & Service Audit

Goals & Objectives Chart

Orientation Checklist

Team Member Handbook

Employee Orientation Session

Communication Boards

Job Descriptions

Performance Review Document

Staff Survey

Management Meeting Schedule

Unique Selling Proposition

Defined Guest Experience

Facility Facts Sheet

Internal Website

External Website

Customer Survey Program

Phraseology Terms

Hiring Process

Training Manual

Train the Trainer

Leadership Training

Communication Process

Product Knowledge Sessions

Log Books

Site Tour

Employee Recognition Plan

Staff Event Calendar

Staff Privileges Card

Staff Lesson Program

Friends and Family Privileges

Employee Benefits

Annual Service Awards

Random rewards program

To learn more contact us at info@cronkgroup.com


In the first article in this series 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. That said, 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. However, if we hire the right staff and train them well, and then make sure that everyone has the resources that they need to do their job to the best of their ability, we will most certainly increase our chances of reaching the moon…or whatever else our goals might be.

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 Deliver 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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