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"Knowing where you are going is the first step to getting there." - Goal Setting

One of the topics we will be addressing at the upcoming Club Managers Webinar on Work Priorities ( is goal setting which can be a daunting and difficult process for us all. As a club manager, you are asked or need to set targets for yourself, your team or the club in general. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and stressful. By recognising and following a process goal setting can become a powerful and re-usable management tool, that not only gets things done but engenders motivation and job satisfaction in your team.

A Good Starting Point

A simple and effective first step is to start with the big picture, the overarching objectives of the club and ask the question “How can we assist in meeting those objectives?” The answer to this question will form the basis for your goal setting.

It may be that the club’s high-level and stated objective is to have “happy and satisfied members”. This would be a ‘nice’, common and obvious objective of most clubs, however, unless the question of “how do we actually achieve that" is posed, it remains a wish – not a goal.

For example, from the big-picture objectives, you may consider ways to reduce service waiting times or enhance the proactive communication skills of your team members. These are the first steps to creating meaningful goals for your team and club.

Communicate and Collaborate

A trap that many club managers fall into at this point is to charge ahead and start establishing goals for the team. They may be well-thought through and relevant; however, without the support and buy-in of those around you, they can struggle to be implemented. Explaining the goal-setting process and what it sets out to achieve will help team members connect their contributions to the overall success of the club.

Importantly, get them involved and ask for their input into the process. This not only taps into the collective wisdom of the group, but it boosts their motivation and passion for their role. Culture is a cornerstone of a club’s success.


The S.M.A.R.T. acronym has stood the test of time as a method for ensuring the goals you set have the best chance of being achieved. In determining and documenting goals, follow this method and review the stated goals to make sure they address all five areas.


Ambiguous or undefined goals aren't going to provide the direction needed for success. Create a concrete goal, so you know what you're working toward. You know a goal is specific if it answers these questions:

WHO: Who will be involved in helping reach your goal (including yourself)?

WHAT: What exact goal do you want to accomplish? Be very specific. Rather than "improve member satisfaction" define those terms: "Achieve an overall score of above 90% on the member satisfaction survey," or "Request, receive and post on the website 10 positive member testimonials."

WHEN: When will you start and when will you reach your goal?

HOW: How will you make this happen? These are the action steps to get you toward your goal. To achieve a +90% member satisfaction score, the "how's" might look something like

  • Run monthly member discussion forums commencing in July; or

  • Run a half-day team member training workshop on enhanced customer service interactions in August.


Given you have the specifics of your goal nailed down, it's time to look at how you will gauge your progress. After all, if you don't have any way to measure your goal, how will you know when you've reached it? Your goal is measurable if you can find a way to quantify your success using real numbers. Achieving more than 90% on the member satisfaction survey is measurable. Other examples of measurable club goals might be the number of health and safety incidents recorded, a positive change in work numbers (meals served or bar sales) or the number of new members joined this month.


The next important area in goal setting is that they are achievable. A goal of 100%-member satisfaction isn't realistic – you can’t expect everyone is always totally satisfied in life. A goal of 15% improvement in member satisfaction may be better.

To determine whether your goal is achievable, ask yourself honestly if you believe you can achieve it and have all the resources (including time) available to make it happen. Do you have (or will you be able to obtain) all the support, equipment, knowledge and resources needed to put your goals into action? Does this goal fall in line with the other priorities of the club or your team? If not, how can you revise your goal to make it more realistic?


Goals have to have relevance and a connection to accomplishing the club’s vision/mission. If not, they should be discarded. This step is a good way to check that you haven’t become ‘lost’ in the process, wandered off track and are setting a goal that doesn’t exactly fit. A way to see if your goal is relevant is to check whether it will result in at least one of the following five being achieved.

  1. Cost Savings

  2. Quality Improvements

  3. Quantity Improvements

  4. Safety Improvements

  5. Time Savings


Put a deadline on your goals. If you don't put a deadline on your goal, it will be difficult to know how to pace yourself to reach it. Every goal should have a date, which will help you stay on track. In addition, set up a few benchmarks, or "mini-deadlines" to keep you on track to reaching your big-picture goal and keep yourself accountable. Deadlines are great for getting things done.

After you've set and implemented your SMART goals, one more important step is to revisit and revise. People and clubs change all the time, and your goal might not be serving a purpose for you weeks or months down the road. Be sure to check on your progress and priorities every few weeks to determine if your goal is still something that's worthy of your time and effort.

If you'd like to join us for the Club Managers Webinar - Work Priorities, where we will be discussing this and other areas on productivity, prioritising tasks and time management, click on to register.


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