More often than not we need to experience a crisis to modify our behavior (weight, smoking, relationships, money, etc). Without a bit of a crisis, in one or more of these areas of our life, we tend to simply muddle along doing the same thing and, for some odd reason, expecting things to get better. They seldom do anything but get worse. And then we hit bottom, the crisis has occurred, and we are forced to take action.

Clearly it is time for the private club industry to perform a bit of a self-evaluation. Private clubs of all size and all areas of the country are under extraordinary pressure at this time; Pressure for which they have never seen and for which they are struggling to deal. There are very few industry experts that would suggest that the private club industry is trending in the proper direction.   Actually, if we are honest with ourselves, the private club industry has “hit bottom” and is, clearly, in crisis mode.

If you are an advocate of the mantra “misery loves company” then you know there is plenty of “misery” and plenty of “company” going on right now in our beloved private club industry. The world we live in today (here and abroad) is having to make some difficult and painful decisions. Clearly, this is a time for private club leaders to begin making tough decisions as well.

The vast majority of private clubs have hit “crisis mode” or certainly see it on the horizon. The crisis for which these private clubs are enduring is not simply going to go away. Nor is it going to be solved by undisciplined actions. Quite frankly, the private club industry has been an active and rather willing participant in the creation, and to a certain extent, the perpetuation of this crisis.

And, believe it or not, throwing spaghetti against the wall hoping an “effective” strand or two will stick is not a viable strategy to deal with a crisis. Actually, the spaghetti is simply “staining the wall” and making the crisis that much worse.

My hope is that everyone that has the ability to influence the decision making process, at their given private club, (you, the reader!) will not waste this crisis.   It is, finally, time to realize that, like all successful organizations, fundamental business practices will be the ultimate strategic plan to the private club industry returning to the glory days that once proudly described the private club industry.

Clearly, this is not going to be done through a “business as usual” mindset. Nor are we going to get through this crisis making small “subtle” changes. Private club leaders must evaluate the changing demographics of consumer behavior and make adjustments to the way they conduct business. This does not mean lowering the standards and/or traditions of the private club industry. Being a private club member must mean something.   But, what defines “meaning something” has changed over the years and the private club industry must re-invent itself to become strong, once again!

There is no reason that all boats can’t rise with the tide. Unfortunately, while many private clubs have been trying to save their boat, during this time of crisis, their efforts have actually begun to sink the boat.