Creating The Governance/Management Partnership That Is Essential For Club Success

45755893 - team of paper doll people
45755893 - team of paper doll people

Does the Board at your club work together as a cohesive group? While lively debate and deliberation at board meetings are signs your Board members are seriously invested in their responsibility as governors of their club, do Board members speak with a single voice outside the boardroom once the Board has voted on a particular issue or ruling? Does the Board understand their role and responsibilities in club governance are to:

A) Set policy and direction through identifying their club’s mission for today and vision for the future?

B) Ensure sufficient financial resources are available to operate the club successfully and consistently deliver the sought-after member experience?

C) Hire a General Manager/COO capable of implementing the Board’s directives, achieving the club’s mission and vision, and then holding him/her accountable for achieving the daily operations successfully without Board interference?

D) Communicate effectively with both the executive management and entire membership regarding the strategic direction of the club?


Does the General Manager/COO:

A) Always feel respected and fully supported by the club’s Board?

B) Understand the traditions and core values the club was founded upon and feel willing to make changes that will preserve the past while ensuring relevance in the future?  

C) Consistently communicate his/her, or the club’s needs to the Board necessary to achieve success?

D) Have the right professionally certified Department Heads on their team which are capable of consistently delivering successful member experiences?

E) Understand the importance of consistently delivering a high-quality dining and hospitality experience?

F) Have member experience feedback mechanisms embedded into the day to day operating ethos of every department that provides management and the Board timely and accurate data on the club’s performance? 

G) Have a Human Resource department that ensures ‘right-fit’ employees are hired, onboarded, trained and professionally developed, with a focus of maximizing employee retention?

H) Understand the importance of the role effective member communications plays in achieving the highest levels of happiness and ease of use for all its members?


All of the questions above are some of the most important challenges facing Boards and managers today. When any of the answers are NO, these essential partnership areas stand in the way of achieving success and maximizing your club’s highest potential. 

The McMahon Group has developed a Governance/Management Partnership Audit. During this audit, the McMahon Group consultant will visit your club, interview to understand the Board, Management and key staff issues and concerns, learn of opportunities for the future and devise a strategic process the club should pursue to be successful. If you would like to learn more regarding McMahon’s Governance/Management Partnership or to schedule a First Impression visit, please e-mail Alison Duffy at 

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About Richard Lareau

Director of Member Experience

Richard has worked in private club management since 1992. His more than 24 years of experience as a Club Manager and Chief Operating Officer, achieving the highest levels of success in Board relations and as an operations specialist has garnered him well-earned acclaim in the industry. Successful management systems in team building, food and beverage, human resources, communications, marketing, golf, fitness, aquatics, and youth programming are all in the tool bag he carries with him when visiting clubs seeking help.

He has proven success in developing and implementing strategic plans along with master facility planning, kitchen and dining room design development, and construction management.

Richard is a Certified Club Manager (CCM) and Certified Chief Executive (CCE). He is the winner of the 2009 Mel Rex Award from the Excellence in Club Management® Awards (ECM); and, was awarded Club Manager of the Year by the Texas Lone Star Chapter in 2013 for his achievements and contributions to the private club industry. Richard is an active member of Les Amis des Escoffier, Chaine des Rotisserie, The International Wine Society and a lifetime honorary member of the Catering Executives Club of America.

More articles by Richard Lareau
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