So, you want to be a Certified Club Manager.

Working with Organisational Plans



As a club manager, your success will be built on a combination of your knowledge, experience and skills along with the ability to control these in alignment with the club’s organisational plans.


There will be different organisational plans within your club; they have a hierarchy and should be accessed for various purposes.


1. The corporate strategy includes values, mission and vision statements that describe the club’s guiding principles and desired future direction.


2. Business and/or strategic plans set goals for achieving the club’s vision and mission over a set period.


3. Operational plans set specific objectives for different areas of the club and describe how they are to be achieved. Operational plans can be further broken down into workgroup plans and even personal plans for individuals within your club.


To be an effective club manager and lead those around you, understand the organisational plans within your club, and how they relate to one another in achieving the overarching goals and objectives of your club.


Start with the Big Picture


A club managers role in the planning process begins with an understanding of the big picture – your club’s values, mission and vision. A club’s vision is a product of its mission – what it exists to do and is articulated in a mission statement. It is the foundation stone of guidance, direction and focus for everyone in the club. Mission statements don’t need to be wordy and verbose. In fact, the more succinct they are, the more powerful they can become. The Walt Disney company started from a core ideology, encapsulated in a five-word mission statement – “To bring happiness to millions.”


Cascade your Planning


Without the support of organisational planning, big pictures are just pipe-dreams. A commitment to healthy and rigorous strategic and operational planning is needed to fulfil the club’s corporate strategy.


The mission is achieved when the strategies are accomplished. The strategies are met when the goals and objectives are defined and then achieved. It’s a cascade or top-down approach. From the mission comes the strategic plan. Then operational plan(s) and work-group or individuals plans, as required.


Regardless of your role or position in the club, you begin your organisational planning from the strategic planning done at the corporate level.


A Planning Process


As a club manager, organisational planning is one of your key roles and main priorities. Planning is an ongoing process that involves several steps.


1. SWOT analysis. Before setting goals, you and your team should consider your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) in light of your club’s mission and strategic plans.


2. Establish goals, objectives and targets. What are you trying to achieve? What can indicate you are succeeding?


3. List all the activities that need to take place, to achieve your target. Knowing your destination isn’t enough; you also need to know how to get there! By using the five ‘W’s and one ‘H’ triggers (What? Why? Who? Where? When? How?), you can determine what needs to be done, who will do it and all the other details.


4. Sequence the activities. In what order should they occur to achieve your objectives and targets and then assign dates to each activity.


5. Communicate your plan to those it involves or affects. Making people aware of your objectives and how you intend to achieve them means they are enabled and more likely to help you.


6. Implement your plan. Once you’re happy your plan is complete and that you have communicated it, put it into action.


7. Check your progress to satisfy yourself that your targets and timeframes are being achieved. This is your insurance – you want to find out in plenty of time if things are going off the rails so that you can take effective corrective action.


Planning Considerations


Goal setting is critical for effective planning and should be done in collaboration with your team and other relevant stakeholders. Thoughts about what is important to the club and your team may differ and, discussing and mutually agreeing on the goals, will help ensure the planning process is not a wasted effort.


Be careful of setting unrealistic goals. Stretch goals can be useful in getting the most out of the team; however they can be emotionally draining and even cause bitterness and resentment. If you recognise that the goals you are forming are a bit ambitious, take the time to discuss them at length with your team.


It is also imperative to consider your resources. Goal achievement will only be possible with adequate resources (people, equipment, information, time, money, etc.). If you haven’t got what you need you may need to reconsider your goals.


Beware of the human tendencies that can interfere and impact on your operational plans. Examples of this include:

  • Short-Termism – focusing on the immediate goals and not thinking about subsequent periods and the impact the short-term focus may have on them. This might be throwing a lot of money to achieve a goal and having nothing left for other projects.

  • Optimism – believing that things will ‘just happen’ to achieve a goal. Build it, and they will come!

  • Simplification – thinking that there are simple solutions for achieving goals that are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted.

  • Resistance to Change – if significant changes to your team or work environment are required for the operational plan, you may get opposition. This may be especially true if there is a perception of threatened job security.


Reviewing the Plan


Having considered your approach and completed a planning process, you should review your plan, in collaboration with your team and key stakeholders, by asking the following questions:

  • Is the plan clear and understandable to us and others who might read it?

  • Does the plan align with and help achieve the values, vision and mission of the club?

  • Does the plan leverage our strengths, eliminate our weaknesses and address the identified threats and opportunities?

  • Does the plan have measurable goals and objectives?

  • Does it have specific and scheduled activities and action?

  • Is the plan flexible, and do we have contingencies in place if the actions don’t work or the plan is not on track?

  • How will we know when the plan has succeeded?


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.

© 2019 by elevateB. 

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