A little-known adage called the Parkinson's Law first expressed by a British historian states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." This means that employees, if not properly supervised, will be less productive than they potentially could be. When managing your managers, you must provide them with clear and defined parameters for the tasks you assign them or they may not be effective leaders and representatives of your business, and, therefore, will not be successful.
Think about this concept when you walk into your club and begin to parse out the various duties for that day or week. I have always used a manager's production report (MPR). This worksheet is a measurement action plan that dictates the flow of work that managers perform weekly. Ideally, this management tool should be filled out by each department head and discussed one-on-one at the outset of each week with the club manager or director.
The MPR can be designed in a variety of ways to suit a club manager's particular needs or circumstances. However, the following sections should almost always be included in every MPR.
Top three goals for the week ahead. Most department managers will say that their days are constantly inundated with both large and small tasks to the point of barely having enough time for lunch. That is why they must identify and prioritize their top three goals for the week ahead. These goals should be projects that, regardless of all else that happens that week, get accomplished. And, not only should these goals be agreed upon by both the manager and the supervisor, but the manager should have a realistic roadmap for how these tasks will be successfully completed. A training manager whose goal is to add $5,000 in training for that week is not setting herself up for success. But if that same manager explains that she wants to promote a new training program to a certain demographic in the hopes that it will generate $5,000 in sales for that week, then she is putting in place a strategy to achieve her goal. That is a plan built for success.
Accomplishments from the previous week. Hold managers accountable for the goals that they say they will accomplish. The significance in following up on the top three goals that were specified from the previous week's MPR cannot be overstated. If employees do not feel that their goals are being evaluated, then they will have little incentive to do their jobs timely and well. This section allows for a thorough follow-up discussion and creates an environment where employees can feel as though they are being acknowledged for doing their job well.
Department benchmarks. For each department, inherent benchmarks should be established to gauge the success or failure of the programs being implemented. Department managers need to know what the expectations are financially and ideologically, and they must be guided toward achieving those marks. Having regular discussions with your staff keeps them (and their teams) focused and motivated toward reaching the overall objectives of the business. It also provides a coaching opportunity for executives to learn more about their managers' strengths and weaknesses and provide those managers with a game plan for success. And, when managers hit their goals, the pride and sense of accomplishment that they feel will further their devotion and dedication to helping the entire organization succeed.
Professional development. As a leader, one of your duties is to continually improve the talent that you have recruited. Your staff needs to know that you have a vested interest in seeing their specific skill set improve and flourish under your guidance. This section of the MPR will allow you to outline a path for growth for your manager, both within the business and as a professional colleague in future collaborations. Skill sets such as computer proficiency, industry certification, and local or online management classes are just a few areas where you can help increase the professional acumen of your staff.
Listen. It is all too easy to talk endlessly about what you want your managers to accomplish and how you want them to do it. However, sometimes it is best to ask an open-ended question, sit back and allow your team to speak. Give them the floor once in a while. If you know what to listen for, they just may tell you how to manage them for success.
Matthew Cicci is the general manager of The Mercedes Club, New York, which is on Manhattan's west side. With more than 15 years of experience in the health and fitness industry, Cicci has operated businesses in the not-for-profit, commercial, franchise and residential fitness environments, including a regional fitness consulting position and managing an 80-acre residential complex in New York. Cicci has held several industry-wide certifications, has a bachelor's of science degree in management and studied under the Master's Program for Exercise Science at Syracuse University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.