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Club Turnaround: A Formula for Managing Change

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things” Niccolo Machiavelli.

Well, the last days of the season are upon us again and it’s a good time to take stock and get a feeling for where the club is now.

Many of you are in the thick of it with Club Survival and Turnaround projects on-going and this will be a worrying time for you as the obvious income diminishes now that the green is closing for winter and the members are heading off to their indoor clubs or other winter activities.

Trying to turn a club around isn’t easy, but it can be made a whole lot easier if you understand what is going on behind the scenes.

I know it can seem a bit like herding cats at times trying to get support and consensus, but there are distinct and identifiable components to the process of organisational change and if you know what they are and how they work together, life becomes a whole lot easier.

The implementation of change in well established organisations and clubs, even “at risk” clubs is a seemingly impossible task. Well meaning members might start a project only to be shot down in flames at every step along the way. Who can blame someone for giving up when faced with this kind of inactivity?

However, if you arm yourself with a bit of insider knowledge about the change process, it’s amazing what can be achieved. Simply by understanding a little more about what’s going on beneath the surface you can adapt your project to suit the requirements of your own situation.

There are 3 main factors at play in my experience and I have Read more

From the mouths of babes…the 5 whys (?)

Anyone who has young children or grand children will know the delight and discomfort of the 5 whys. 4 year olds have a knack of getting to the truth quickly, simply by repeatedly asking “why?”

Lets try it:

Why1. Why is our once thriving club struggling financially?

Ans. Because we are losing members.

Why2. Why are we losing members?

Ans. Because fewer people are taking up the game.

Why3. Why are fewer people taking up the game?

Ans. Because it has an image problem

Why4. Why does it have an image problem?

Ans. Because we insist on enforcing traditions from another era on the game.

Why5. Why do we insist on this?

Ans. Because we are nostalgic for the old days.

That sounds nice, so why (sorry that’s 6 whys!) is that a problem?

Nostalgia is the biggest known killer of innovation!

What does our bowls club look like Now?

Having a clear picture of your club’s current standing is essential before you can even start to thnk about the future.

Without this picture of the situation as it is Now, you can’t possibly decide where you are going in the future.

The winter months are a good time to be gathering this information, deciding on a vision for the future and developing plans for getting there.

When writing this up, think in terms of of finance, popularity, future costs and income, offers in the pipeline, projects coming up, green condition and maintenance requirements, clubhouse fabric condition and maintenance and upgrading requirements, rentals, rates, subscriptions, insurances, advertising and marketing, event hosting and event planning and membership growth and retention.

Once you have this snapshot its easy to move on to planning the future. Tomorrow we will look at that more closely.

Get the eBook here

How are we going to get there?

The last two articles have looked at the Now and the Where of planning for the future.

Now that we have created a vision for the club, How will we reach our goals?

This is where you need a plan and as detailed in Bowling Club Survival and turnaround and fleshed out further in Bowling Club Membership, retention and growth I advise clubs to adopt the One Page Planning model.

This makes sure that every project required to achieve your vision of the future for your club is broken down into appropriately sized actions and that these are achievable, time-bound and identify who is responsible for their completion.

This is the fastest and surest way to success for your club.

To get started on your vision for the future download my Manifesto for a Thriving Bowling Club TODAY!.

The Future of Lawn Bowls

Bowling Club Survival and TurnaroundThe future of the game of bowls as we know it has never been in a more precarious position; whether there are too many clubs or too few bowlers is immaterial and we need to avoid being sidetracked by these issues.

Instead, we should be looking at the long term future of the game and decide now what needs to be done to secure that future.

We also have to be brave and avoid being too nostalgic for the golden years gone by; the future will probably look a lot different from the past.

In my eBook Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround I lay out a detailed formula to help any bowling club turn around its fortunes.

You can find out more about this eBook here.

Where are we going as a bowls club?

Gathering the information to get a clear idea of how your club us doing now is the first step in this process and we looked at that yesterday.

Now that you are armed with that snapshot, how do you develop a vision for the future that everyone can contribute to and be happy with?

Again it comes down to taking the club apart on paper and defining how each piece will look when the new vision is realised. So for example you might want to focus on the game itself and decide that there needs to be a greater effort to move towards a performance bowling green; you might want to increase membership or widen your club’s customer base to boost the club’s finances and long term success prospects.

Whatever your long term goals and vision for the club, the final part of the puzzle is to create a plan to help you achieve your goals and I look at that in more detail here.

Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround
In this ebook we take you through a groundbreaking, step by step blueprint to save your struggling bowling club and reveal the 7 key steps that you can start taking immediately to start making a serious go of your club. more details
Price: £9.97

What are the long term benefits of your club becoming a focal point for the local community?

Quite simply, the benefits are wide and far reaching. Just being the focus of community activities will bring your club an extraordinary amount of exposure from within and out-with your local area which all leads to free advertising for the facilities, products and services you sell to not just bowling members but a wide range of other people and groups.

Generous gestures such as offering free use of your clubhouse for a multitude of uses in the winter months bring financial and publicity benefits.

Imagine if every other week your club appeared in or was mentioned in an article in the local paper detailing a local event or group’s activities and every time it happens it ends with “and thank you to the bowling club for providing their facilities and support to our event”.

The FREE bowling club success Manifesto is still available here.

Bowling Club Membership retention and growth
Bowling Club Membership retention and growth
How do you increase club membership numbers in a time of economic turmoil? How do you retain members when there is a natural decline in bowling participation? This eBook sets out a plan for transforming any bowls club into the central hub of its community. FREE download for Academy Members more details
Price: £9.97

What can your club do for free for the local community?

This week I will again be looking at some club turnaround focussed issues.

I’m going to kick off with a look at what your club can do for the local community without charging!

The readers and members of this site represent the tip of a large pyramid of bowlers. By this I mean that if you are reading this you are among a minority of bowlers and parties interested in the health of the game of bowls that actively engages with others in the online environment and also that you are among the small number of people within the game that are actively looking for solutions to the difficulties the game is experiencing.

As an internet and world wide web user, you can’t have failed to notice the impact the technology has had on Read more

Bowling Club Turnaround- the 5 Actions you MUST Take now! FREE REPORT

Bowls TurnaroundFirst it was a double dip and now it seems that the UK is on for a Triple Dip recession! With all this doom and gloom around, its no wonder that many bowling clubs are like rabbits caught in the headlights.

It seems like there is nothing we can do to ensure the survival  of our bowling clubs never mind actually increasing revenue and building a successful, thriving club for the future.

Well, its easy to get caught up in the misery of it all, especially when you look out of the window and see grey skies and rain. Then the news comes on and its all flood warnings and danger triangles! Long summer evenings on the green seem like a universe away!

However, this is exactly the time when you have time on your hands to get your bowling club set up for a bright future.

Ignore the news and just take these 5 easy steps to turning your club around for the long term. I’ve written a new report detailing the 5 most important steps you Must take now to make sure your club is one of the lucky ones. There’s actually no luck involved, its just a matter of employing the right actions at the right time to set your club up for future success that many dismiss as impossible.

Download your FREE report NOW!

Pleasing Everybody when Saving Your Bowls Club

Not everyone will agree with your plan.

When trying to save your bowling club, it is easy to be put off or put down by people or comments from within the club.

The trouble is that you will never please everybody.

If you’ve read my Manifesto for a Successful Bowling Club you will know about the importance of making a club policy that locks in the direction you are going in at least until the consensus of opinion is changed.

If you’ve read my Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround eBook you will know about the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle. This is a rule that turns out true for so many different areas of business and life in general that it’s hard to ignore it; simply put this principle says that 80% of the effect will be gained from 20% of the effort. It is also true that 80% of the work will be done by 20% of the people and of course that 80% of the moans, groans and negativity will come from 20% of your members.

If you set out to try to please everybody, your project will stall early.

Make sure you communicate your intentions well, and that the ideas you want to progress with are group decisions; then get them locked in to policy early on.

Communicate regularly and consistently on how progress is being made.

Expect that only 20% of the members will actively take part in the process.

Don’t be put off by the negative comments from the 20% that don’t agree with anything.

Just do your work, communicate it well and make sure to report on measurable changes frequently to show the progress you are making.

Don’t allow a clique to form, keep trying to get fresh input regardless of how hard it seems to do.

Above all keep going, it will all be worth it.