Last week, I sat down with our four full-time employees who handle weekends. The goal was to come up with the best format for running weekends during the golf season. Before getting into the specifics of the meeting, I think it is important to give my thoughts on weekends.
There is a popular opinion among those who manage golf courses that weekends are no different than any other day- “the grass doesn’t know the difference”. In many ways, this is true. The putting surfaces grow just the same on Saturday and Sunday as they do on Monday and Tuesday. I’ve also heard many make the statement- “our members want to see us out there working.” The next member I meet who enjoys seeing, and hearing maintenance workers on the course during their round, will be the first. At least at the facilities I worked, I don’t know a member who would choose seeing and hearing maintenance activity, over not seeing or hearing maintenance activity.
While the grass may not know the difference, your people definitely do know the difference between a weekday and a weekend. Those who manage golf courses know that part of the job is working on the weekends. However, those employees are supported by a network of friends and family, for whom weekends are a time to rest and relax. True, the grass doesn’t know the difference, but with proper planning, I’ve never seen a reason why weekends can’t be a time of rest and relaxation for those of us who maintain golf courses for a living.
Back to the meeting we had-we are fortunate to have four individuals whose roles include managing the crew on weekends. In the past, we’ve typically operated with two, then part way through last year we moved to three. When two assistants were splitting the weekends, the assistant who was off on the weekend also got Friday off-a three day weekend, every time, no questions asked, no approval needed. When I first implemented this routine, I even said to them- “there will be times when I forget you are off Friday and I start talking about what I’d like to accomplish. This is only because I’m caught up in the moment, not because I’m thinking, or saying you can’t take the day off. When, not if this happens, just remind me you are not going to be here.” No questions asked, no approval needed.
The intent of our meeting last week was to come up with the best manner in which to deploy four people in managing weekends. I had my own opinion about what I thought we should do, but heading into the meeting I knew I was unlikely to ever offer this opinion.
The discussion between the four team members went on for at least an hour, with a number of ideas, and iterations being discussed. Ultimately a weekend format was determined, all without my input. I contributed to the conversation, but never with the intent of determining the final result. In the end a weekend format, using four people was picked, and decided upon completely by the four individuals who’ll be involved. My opinion was never given, and in fact, what I would have suggested was not the final outcome; but it doesn’t matter. The final outcome will be better than what I would have suggested-why? Because it was devised, will be implemented, adjusted and perfected by those who have the weekend responsibility.
This discussion and decision is another excellent example of Roles>Tasks. A decision made completely by those who’ll be carrying out the implementation. These four individuals have been assigned the role of managing the weekends. They have come up with the format, they’ll implement the format and because they are the owner/operators, they’ll continually develop and improve the format as the season goes on, all of this without my input.
Being a leader means making important decisions; decisions that will determine your success or failure. However, sometimes the best decision a leader can make is allowing yourself not to be the person making the decision.