EO’s report – CMAA Conference

Report by Jim Cail (Executive Officer, GMA)

During the first week of March, I was lucky enough to travel to San Francisco for the ‘Club Managers Association of America’ National Conference. With GMA running its first BMI Program in October this year, touching base with our American counterparts to ensure alignment between our programs was an important outcome of the trip.

Further to these discussions was the opportunity to experience firsthand the CMAA National Conference, as part of the planning process for the GMA National Conference to be held in Melbourne in October 2019. (I unfortunately hadn’t started in the role when the last GMA National Conference was held in Adelaide in 2017).

The CMAA National Conference involves over 2,000 Club Managers from the USA, with the large majority of these coming from private golf clubs. In addition to this, there are regularly 200 international delegates involved, with this year seven golf club General Managers from Australia also in attendance.

The conference itself is on a significant scale, as you could imagine, with plenary sessions and breakout sessions available on each of the five days, along with a large Golf Club Expo for corporate partners. If you are interested in seeing what the program was like, please click on the following link – https://www.cmaa.org/conference/

CMAA National Conference highlights included:

  • Isaac Lidsky – a former TV star turned $150m business owner, who has overcome adversity including turning blind at the age of 15. His key message was ‘what you see is based on your perception’. If your perception of an issue is negative, this may create fear. He said ‘fear will fill the void of uncertainty, and fear will create inaction”. Creating a positive perception of issues will assist with creating action and opportunity.
  • Steven Freund – a former GM of ‘The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation’ and now the General Manager of The Landings Club in Georgia. (This facility has six championship golf courses, 33 tennis courts, seven restaurants….you get the picture). Steven spoke about restructuring the culture of The Landings Club when he arrived. He achieved this by taking on the role of not only GM, but “Chief Cultural Officer”. His views included “the organisation will never be what the people are not” and “the gap between knowing and doing is significantly greater than the gap between ignorance and knowledge”.
  • Curt Cronin – a former Navy SEAL spoke about the strategy of leadership and maximising a teams’ effectiveness. He spoke about ensuring your team know you care about them as individuals with his key message around “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”. He also spoke about the energy within a group, and that “energy used in conflict is lost, but energy used in alignment is maintained”.

While the content of the conference no doubt provides many learnings, the ability to network with GMs from across the world and discuss challenges and opportunities is also

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