top of page

So, you want to be a Certified Club Manager.

Do It Right the First Time

In a club environment, one of the most effective tools, a club manager can use, is to focus on anything that is not done right the first time. The concept, that cuts down on waste and improves productivity, requires a diligent and consistent approach to ensuring all actions and activities are completed in the right way the first time and every time.

Some obvious examples for a club would be a meal not having to be taken back to the kitchen because the order wasn’t taken correctly or a promotional poster that has to be taken down and replaced because the incorrect date was displayed.

Doing it right the first time, every time is not easy to achieve (we’re all human!) but improvements in this area can produce significant savings and benefits for your club.


The starting point for improvements is to understand the current level of performance. As a club manager, your objective would be to measure the number of activities that are done right the first time and compare it to the total number of activities.

And remember that activities are not just the ones that are member-facing. Any process that relies on input from another internal process should be measured. As an example, if the kitchen is cooking set meals for a function and the wrong sauce is prepared to accompany the main, it will have to be re-done. Whilst the function guests may never know, the mistake will require a new batch of sauce to be made.

The purpose of measurement is to collate the data and facts that can then be analysed, discussed and considered. By approaching the problem in a systematic manner any root causes can be identified, the reasons for underperformance identified and solutions adopted. The measurement stage, also demonstrates to stakeholders a professional managerial approach, resulting in heightened attention and awareness and future buy-in. Instead of flying off the handle at the apprentice chef for getting the ingredients wrong for the sauce, treat it as an opportunity to determine how the error happened and if there are processes that can be put in place to lessen the chance of it happening again.

Measuring ‘first time right’ performance may be a new approach for many club managers. Traditionally, team member performance has primarily centred on time – how many shift hours worked or if activities have been completed within deadlines. Doing it right the first time is more quality-based. As an example, people in your team may reply to member enquiries in a timely manner, but if they are supplying them with insufficient, inaccurate or irrelevant information then this may result in the enquiry having to be addressed again. And the ultimate potential issue with this is dissatisfied members and member complaints.

Measurement assists in linking a team member’s performance and output to the effectiveness of completing things right the first time.


At the heart of improvement, and increasing the percentage of activities being done right the first time, is ensuring that the processes involved in completing tasks are clearly understood by the team members performing them. It’s common to discover, the reason behind mistakes and errors is there are no documented procedure or guideline and/or team members have not been adequately trained. An example, for a club, would be bar staff having access to the recipe and ingredient list for a cocktail, as well as showing them how to mix the drink. Some cocktails are only ordered occasionally, but getting it wrong and having to pour it down the sink can be a very costly exercise.

Putting in place simple tools or systems can also make a great difference. Providing checklists or organising the set-up and flow of service areas can be all it takes to improve things. For example, a club reorganised its tableware and utensils area which helped wait staff make sure they provided the right combinations of cutlery to members. Another club instigated a system for busy periods in their bistros where members waiting in-line filled out their meal requests on a form, reducing transaction time and avoiding incorrect orders.


The general term waste can be categorised into six areas, all of which can be considered and addressed by club managers as a way to do things right the first time and improve efficiency and effectiveness in the club.


The definition of a defect is any service provided to a member that is not right. A wrong order, incorrect data entry, error in delivery – all are defects. Like other service industries, clubs cannot afford to deliver defects. Corrected defects are not entirely resolved because members will remember the initial poor experience and not be completely satisfied with the rectified service. Rework that occurs prior to the provision or delivery of a service is not good (it wasn’t done right the first time) but it is not considered a defect because the member was not aware it. An undercooked steak served to a member will be remembered even after it has been rectified. However, if it is fixed before it leaves the kitchen and meets the member's satisfaction the rework has no residual impact.


Some clubs have a tendency to overproduce deliverables to cater for mistakes and make up for things that don’t go right the first time. Overproduction takes time that could be utilised in other activities and if the excess produced has to be discarded it is pure waste. The indirect effect of overproduction is that it can give a false sense of security to team members, possibly allowing them to think it’s OK to make mistakes – there are plenty of spares.

Over Processing

In order to prevent defects reaching members, it is natural for clubs to put checks and measures in place to identify them before ‘it’s too late’. An example may be a marketing flyer that has to be proofread by multiple executives before distribution. As well as lessening accountability of the team member responsible for the activity, it should be recognised that inspection and checking increase processing time whilst not adding any real value to service delivery. Reviewing outputs should only be done when absolutely necessary and not seen as a core part of the process.

Where checks, inspections and reviews become part of the process, they filter the inefficiencies and mistakes of the input and importantly move the focus away from determining the cause of the problems. Time spent checking may be better put to use on improving the inputs and working on getting it right the first time.


In our modern, faced-paced world people want quick turnaround times and hate to be kept waiting. Whether it’s a sad inditement on society or not, rework and not getting things done right the first time increases member wait times. A function room that’s not set up properly or an equipment adjustment that has to be made are examples in clubs, where ineffective processes or poor task completions can lead to waiting.


A club’s greatest asset is its team. And, therefore appropriately, a club’s greatest expense is the salary and wage costs incurred in maintaining and supporting the team. As a club manager, the aim is to have the smallest number of team members delivering the full suite of club services to an exceptionally high standard. Improvements in individual team member capacity helps achieve this aim and dedication to the ‘do it right the first time’ principle assists with better capacity across the team.

This doesn’t mean clubs would reduce their labour forces, rather it frees up personnel to work on new revenue-generating areas. If they’re not spending time re-working and re-doing tasks, what could they be utilised for?

Work Flow

Clubs are non-sedentary working environments with bodies in motion, handovers as part of the delivery of services, and transportation of supplies into and out of the club. Considering the flow of people and goods throughout the club is also helpful in preventing rework and perhaps double handling. Ensuring a delivery goes to the right person the first time can prevent rework. For example, compare a delivery of fish that goes through multiple hands before getting to the chef whose expert eye realises it is the wrong fish; against the chef being there when the fish first arrives at the club and telling the supplier to take it back immediately.

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.


bottom of page