Types of Tasks
All tasks are not equal. As a club manager, you will be involved in a wide array of tasks. Tasks that will range from:
quick and easy to long and painful
individual-based to team efforts
maintaining the status quo to progressing the club
There is no shortage of tips, tricks and advice you will receive on the best ways to tackle tasks and get them completed effectively and efficiently. Things like note-taking, managing your email inbox and chairing meetings etc.
While these techniques can be really useful, they need to be considered in context.
Context is critical. The context in which a task sits is always unique because of:
the environment – every club is different and every day is different
the people – your personality and communication style coupled with the personalities and communication styles of anyone else involved in the task
Analysing the context of a task may be one of the best things you can do. Taking an initial high-level overview of the task before diving in headfirst can save time, energy, confusion and conflict.
A good way to start to analyse your tasks is to categorise them into the following five task areas.
1. Reactionary Tasks
In the hospitality industry and clubs, a large portion of a manager’s day is taken up by reactionary work - phone calls, texts, emails, staff requests, attending to member needs, etc. Whilst you need to deal with most of these, there are others that you do just because they are there. And when you are continually reacting to what presents itself, you are not being proactive and therefore possibly not working on what matters most.
Planning tasks aren’t ‘doing’ tasks, they are time spent determining how you will tackle a task. How long you will allocate to the task, when you will do the task, who will be involved in the task and where it sits in the priority order of other tasks. It can also be about developing repeatable systems for running your club operations. When you are in planning mode you are taking the time to decide how your energy should be exerted and what is the most effective way to go about getting things done. It is usually time very well spent.
Planning time is important and should be related to the achievement of club goals.
3. Procedural Tasks
In all business and certainly in clubs, there are many tasks that are neither planning or reactionary. Administrative work has to be done to keep the club operational - invoices need to be paid, mail outs have to posted, accounts need to be maintained, stock has to be counted. These are the procedures that are the backbone of any club and are important. There are two things that you should always question and consider with procedural tasks.
Flexibility - do them on time but do them when it suits you
Necessity – do they still need to be done. A trap that many clubs fall into is doing tasks because they have always been done
These are the tasks that pander to our own insecurities. The things that we need to check on to reassure ourselves that everything is OK and we can get on with the tasks at hand. We may need to check the Club’s Facebook page regularly to see if there are any member comments or obsess over club function booking numbers. We are often unaware to the extent we are doing them, but nonetheless, they are not particularly productive.
5. Problem Solving
This is when our creativity is required. Full attention and focus are needed to find answers and come up with the solutions that will get us past a hurdle and propel the club forward. It may be writing an insightful article, redesigning the club layout or think-tanking the schedule for upcoming events.
Dealing with Different Task Types
Usually, your day will comprise at least two types of tasks and may cover all five. Being aware of the types of tasks can assist you to prioritise and schedule your workday to maximise your time and engagement.
Once categorised you can consider your approach to each of your tasks.
1. Reactionary Tasks
As noted, reactionary tasks often consume all the other tasks on your to-do list and unfortunately, we tend to give priority to these tasks. It is important to limit the time you expend on them. One way to control reactionary tasks is to schedule specific blocks of time designated to them. For example, only checking your email twice a day, not every time your computer beeps alerting you to another email. In modern society with the omnipresence of mobile technology, this is becoming more and more difficult. We are constantly available and contactable and it is an instinctive human behaviour to react to incoming stimuli.
Planning can help in scheduling and limiting the time spent on reactionary tasks. Establishing procedures can be the impetus for delegating reactionary tasks to others.
Organisation and being prepared is actually a competitive advantage. This is because most managers only undertake planning tasks when they are stuck or as part of a set annual strategic exercise – when they are asked to do it. For it to become a proactive and core part of your work routines you need to start by allocating time to do it. The time won’t present itself because all the other tasks are competing for your valuable time.
You should also have your own planning approach. Use existing systems and models but tailor them to suit you.
3. Procedural Tasks
Technology is a great asset when it comes to procedural tasks. Many procedures are repeatable and by automating them you minimise the time you spend on them whilst increasing overall efficiency. As a club manager, procedures backed by technology can also assist you in delegating tasks and maintaining accountability of task completion.
Again, planning can lead to scheduling and spending the time to establish procedural systems that make your tasks easier to complete or to pass them onto your team members to do.
Like reactionary tasks, those things that you need to do to maintain your sanity and give you the confidence to work on planning tasks and projects should be limited to set times. Allocating 20 minutes towards the end of each day may be sufficient to give you the information needed to satisfy your curiosities and clear your head.
5. Problem Solving
When problem-solving you need complete focus, no distractions and a deep commitment to the issue you need to resolve. This may mean locking the door, clearing the desk, turning off the phone or finding a completely new environment. When working on a problem with your team, make sure each person on the problem-solving group fully understands the issue and ideally has a genuine interest in the task. Without engagement, the task may be difficult to complete.
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.