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So, you want to be a Certified Club Manager.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

In the club and hospitality industry, the terms efficiency and effectiveness are frequently used. Outside of the business and organisational world, these words are used in everyday language and are often interchangeable. For club managers, this can cause confusion and mismanagement as the terms have quite different and specific meanings and application.

For clubs, efficiency is the relationship between the resources the club has at its disposal and the delivery of club services and offerings. The more output (services delivered) a club can produce given the amount of input (resources available) the more efficient it is. For example, if a club’s kitchen can serve 100 Chicken Parmigiana, for the week, at a total resource cost of $500, it is more efficient than the competitor down the road that only serves 80 Parmas during the week for the same resource cost.

Efficiency is related to productivity and a key aspect of a club manager’s role is to improve the productivity of the club and the efficiency of delivering services. And because, it is a relationship between inputs and outputs, each of which has multiple elements, there are many ways that this can be achieved.

Effectiveness is about goal achievement. A club, or a team member of the club, that achieves their targets, objectives or goals is said to be effective. They have used their available resources (including time) to achieve an outcome. For example, the club’s marketing officer who has to include details of an upcoming event on the club’s website and completes the task, thus alerting members to the event, has been effective.

In considering efficiency and effectiveness and their interrelationship, and thinking about the two examples, the questions that arise are: -

  • Could the task have been completed more efficiently?

  • To what degree were they effective?


Think about a training program that a club manager wants to roll out. If they organise and deliver the training to everyone in the club, in a short amount of time at virtually no cost, they would be extremely efficient. They got the job done quickly and the inputs and resources were kept to a minimum. However, what if the delivered training did not relate to the goals and objectives of the club or if the vast majority of participants walked away citing “that was a waste of time”? In this case, the trade-off is that, whilst efficient, the training program, and therefore the club manager was ineffective.

On the other hand, if the delivered training program was really well done and helped in the achievement of the club’s mission, vision or goals it would definitely be effective. However, if it took years to roll out, at enormous resource cost and imposition, the question would be – “could the training have been delivered more efficiently?”

Referring back to the previous examples.

What if the Chicken Parmigiana the club served were sub-standard in quality? Whist the efficiency box may have been tick, having unsatisfied patrons is not an objective of the club and therefore, not effective.

What if the marketing officer spends their entire week posting the upcoming event details on the website and didn’t ‘have time’ to complete other important marketing activities? Whilst effective, in completing that one task, inefficiency has impacted on both individual and overall club productivity.

The quest for efficiency has been a long-time mandate for clubs and businesses, the world over. However, as our trade-off examples highlight, effectiveness is part of the equation and the correlation between the two concepts requires careful thought and consideration.

Clearly, the aim is to have both – “To use our available resources in the most efficient manner and to be effective in achieving the club’s goals and objectives.”

Recognising the Balance

Balancing efficiency and effectiveness can be extremely complex as it differs from task to task, project to project or context to context. In basic manufacturing businesses, measuring efficiency may be able to be distilled down to the pure mathematical relationship between inputs (raw materials) and outputs (products produced). However, in businesses like clubs, that are predominately service-based organisations, this relationship is not so clear.

Take, for example, the duty manager who fails to submit their weekly shift reports on time or with insufficient details. On the surface, the manager may appear to be inefficient. However, when you discover they have dealt with three high-level member complaints, filled in for a worker who just didn’t show up and spent time ringing suppliers to replace a delivery of inferior produce, the analysis is quite different.

There are many factors that influence and impact on the measures of efficiency or effectiveness. Where people and personalities are involved, being efficient is not always the best thing to focus on. In considering effectiveness, goals need validity and qualification, otherwise what appears to be an effective result may, in fact, be ‘missing the mark’.

Working with Efficiency

There are two main reasons for inefficiency when it comes to club team members and managers. Firstly, they simply don’t know or haven’t been shown how to do the task properly. The other thing that affects efficiency is inappropriate or substandard tools and equipment used in jobs. And the solution for both of these is communication and consultation – outlining skills and knowledge to improve task completion, asking for ways and ideas on how efficiency can be improved and seeking input to what is missing in the club’s workplace.

Working with Effectiveness

Culture is important when improving effectiveness. Clubs should take the initiative to explain that the club’s success relies on the effectiveness of every employee and the combined efforts of everyone. This key cultural message should be consistent and permeate through the club from its hiring and training practices through to team member performance reviews. To build a team of highly effective employees, clubs should recruit the best people and then provide them with the environment and developmental support for them to prosper and grow.

The Club Managers Association of Australia (CMAA) has been supporting and developing club managers to achieve high levels of leadership and management ability for many years. The training and development of knowledgeable and motivated leaders that are capable of achieving greatness on behalf of their clubs is a passion of the CMAA. To this end, they offer the professional certification - the Active Certified Club Managers Award (ACCM).

Individuals who hold the ACCM, have demonstrated that they possess the skills, have the range of knowledge and can model behaviours that drive premium results for their club.

The foundation stone of the ACCM is the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, an online, training course, delivered by elevateB (a specialist training company) and independently endorsed by Australis College (a Registered Training Organisation)

The Club Managers Leadership and Management program has been modelled on the Diploma of Leadership and Management, ensuring it covers a full gambit of management and leadership topics. Importantly, it has been tailored and contextualised for club environments and day to day club management situations. To successfully complete the program, participants are required to demonstrate required knowledge, skills and abilities through application and activity submissions.

For more information on the Club Managers Leadership and Management program, click here.


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