Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Progress versus Maintenance
The role of a club manager involves a wide variety of tasks. And in such a fast-paced and dynamic environment it is natural to ‘just do’ the next thing that comes up. Unfortunately, the next thing may not be the best use of your time, skills and talent. A way to help combat this is the concept of “Progress versus Maintenance.”
The basis of this concept is that tasks can be considered as either progress or maintenance.
Progress: You believe this task will move the club towards a position which is fundamentally better than the one it is in now. These are usually concepts, are rarely urgent, are generally new ideas, and are often uncertain.
Maintenance: These tasks do not move the club forward, although they may very well keep it from falling back. We do more of these because they are obvious and we’ve done them before. They are usually urgent (such as month-end reporting), we are comfortable with them, and they are easily justifiable. These tasks tend to be safe.
Both types of tasks have their place, however, if all of your tasks are maintenance, you will quickly become bogged down and bored, and possibly overwhelmed with how busy your job is. Dissatisfaction and frustration levels can rise because subconsciously you know you are not really accomplishing the things you’d like to.
Progress tasks, on the other hand, can energise you and those around you. Strategising with your team on new plans and ways to deliver club services brings with it a sense of purpose and achievement – a feeling that you have actually done something.
Maintenance is necessary. Progress is fulfilling.
How do you get the balance right? How do you spend more time on progress and less on maintenance?
The first step is to take a step back and determine if the task is maintenance or progress. If it’s about status quo and survival, then it’s maintenance. If it’s about achieving goals and reaching targets, it’s progress. Interestingly, the same task can be categorised as maintenance for one manager and progress for another. The month-end report may be considered maintenance by one person; however if you see it as a means to highlight some anomalies or opportunities for the club’s board to consider, then it would definitely be a progress task.
Given maintenance tasks usually must be done, the next consideration is how to deal with them efficiently. The following are three strategies or questions to ask yourself to assist in coping with maintenance.
Does it need to be done at all? Maybe not. An unfortunate reality, in many businesses, is that they continue to do things only because they have ‘always been done’. No one asks if the task is adding value or if the value it does provide is worth the time, energy and resources expended.
Should I do this? Don’t waste your time doing things that somebody else can do, especially if they can do them better than you. Save your time for those things which you are uniquely qualified to do. Sometimes balancing maintenance and progress tasks needs to be viewed as a team exercise. If someone can take care of the maintenance tasks of someone else, they are freeing up that person to focus on progress tasks.
How do I do it efficiently? The goal is to complete maintenance tasks quickly with the appropriate degree of quality. Over the top perfectionism can be extremely inefficient, and you may need to challenge yourself on this. Make sure the standards you are employing are aligned to what is necessary to get the task done. Creating a multi-page glossy report to pass on a simple message is just not worth it.
Focus on Progress
It’s important to keep your progress tasks ‘top of mind’. Strategies to help with this include.
Document them. Not only is it important to write down your immediate and longer-term goals, but you also need to put them where you can see them on a daily basis. Whether it be on a whiteboard or post-it notes on the wall having them in line of sight will give them more chance of being addressed.
Schedule regular times. By allocating, scheduling and devoting set times for progress tasks each day, you can avoid being consumed with the maintenance tasks that will arise. Without this, it is easy to get caught fighting fires and plodding through the routine tasks, justifying they need to be done.
Set aside a day. Every so often, it can be helpful to set aside a ‘progress day’ - a day where you will not do any maintenance tasks and just focus on progress. It can be worthwhile to change location or environment for this, to ensure your head is clear and maintenance distractions do not hamper your efforts to move your club in a positive direction.
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.