Date: April 24, 2017
Author: Paul Vardy

Strategy to attract people to your committee

The Club Health Check Tool responses Australia wide in 2014 indicated that 72% of Golf Clubs don’t   have a strategy to attract people to the committee. This can have major implications for the successful governance of their clubs.

5 Consequences of failure to undertake Succession Planning to Attract People on to the Committee:

1. With limited spots, the wrong people stand for a Committee role, missing an opportunity to get the right people on board.

2. Candidates may stand on a limited platform or agenda, or to represent a particular group, unknowingly bypassing the basic requirements good governance.

3. The skills, values and behaviors of those standing may be out of alignment with the Club.

4. Suitable members, asked to stand at the last minute, face a lack of time to properly assess and prepare.  A suitable member is more likely to decline a nomination at short notice.

5. Long term committee members may get stuck in the job and go stale for ideas. Sometimes they recognise this and sometimes they don’t.

10 Key Points on Succession Planning:

1. It is a full board/committee responsibility.

2. It should commence 5 months prior to the club’s elections and AGM, especially if there is a Christmas break in that time.

3. Boards must clearly understand the requirements of election under the Club’s Constitution. Who is required for re-election and who is not?

4. Vacancies that will arise from the board members should be established 5 months in advance.

5. Roles and accountabilities of board positions need to be written and reviewed.

Candidates for a board position should know what would be expected of them and the legal responsibilities of a board position.

6. A review of your current board’s expertise should be undertaken to establish where gaps exist in terms of the requirements to achieve the Club’s strategy.

Note: Keep in mind the Board’s role is to govern, not to manage (unless it’s a management committee in a small club).  A highly detailed knowledge of the club’s business is not a requirement at the outset, but strong conceptual thinking skills are important.

If a person with a specific skill (such as marketing or hospitality) has no interest in governance or the time for full board work, don’t get them on your board.  These people may be more useful co-opted on a sub-committee or used in an advisory capacity. Often a club will have a Solicitor who may fill the role of Honorary Solicitor who doesn’t sit on the board.

7. Establish who in the membership has the attributes and skills we’re looking for?

Although the CEO/GM should not be involved in selection and should not be too closely involved with the Board’s recruitment process once underway, they often have knowledge of potential candidates who the board may like to approach.

8. Time should be spent preparing a list of member candidates to talk to.   Make sure it is a list of well qualified people and not just a list of close acquaintances. Approaching only close acquaintances may lead to questions from members of cronyism.  Look for diversity in gender and age to reflect the members.

9. Document a process that will be consistent with each candidate. The results of the discussions with the candidates will need to be relayed to the board.

10. Determine who will meet with the candidates, how they will record the meeting and when they will report back to the board.

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