Leading Through Uncertain Times

superhero businessman looking at city skyline at sunset. the concept of success, leadership and victory in business.
superhero businessman looking at city skyline at sunset. the concept of success, leadership and victory in business.

During this time of crisis and uncertainty, one thing is clear: imminent change will herald in a “new normal.” Adapting to seemingly unpredictable and unprecedented circumstances is now a challenge that clubs must confront. In this moment, we ask ourselves: how do we move forward? How do we rethink our clubs so that our valued members feel as comfortable and as safe at their club as they do in their homes? With urgency, club managers must take the lead.

And yet, how does one lead in a time of such uncertainty? What are the traits of a true leader? Looking to history, there have been many remarkable leaders. This includes, but of course is not limited to, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. What did they have in common? Indeed, they all had conviction, humility, perseverance, and courage. But perhaps the most important trait these leaders had in common is vision. It takes a leader with vision to lead through a crisis. Your vision is the foundation for developing and refreshing your strategic plan. General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

A true leader must not be afraid to rethink, refresh and reset their plan amidst uncertainty.  A leader is not afraid to be surrounded by people who might be smarter than themselves while creating an environment of meritocracy where the best idea wins.

As we make strides in “flattening the curve,” and as we envision a post-pandemic world, how do you – as club leaders – refresh and reset your strategy to emerge in the “new normal?”  Contrary to popular narrative, now is not the time to stop planning and shelving your long-term strategy. Most likely, reality will warrant a reset, and you may need to implement a 1-6 month strategy in the interim.  Before you do, ask these four questions.

Is it in alignment with our vision?

How will it impact our members?

How will it impact the club?

How do we measure success?

In this heightened time of anxiety for our members, remind yourself what your members come to you for. They are looking for a sanctuary that presents sense of community, a sense of family, a casual environment, and engagement, whether that be through wellness or relaxation.

There is an opportunity in every crisis

Seize that opportunity through engaged leadership. Take the lead, challenge your board and your team, and think outside the box to create that home-away-from home for your members.

Whether you are looking to “Refresh and Reset”, (Click Here For Brochure) bounce ideas, or just would like to say hello, your friends at the McMahon Group are here.  Do not hesitate to reach out to any of our principals, Bill McMahon, Frank Vain, Chris Coulter or Denzil Palmer.


We are all in this together.


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About Christian W. Coulter, CCM, ECM

Chris joined The McMahon Group after 35 years in private club management, spanning 2 continents and 2 islands.  Chris provides consulting services for strategic planning, membership surveys, facility improvement programs, and general consulting expertise on club needs.  In addition, Chris also provides specialty consulting in operations, buyouts, capital fundraising, facility conditions and membership.

Prior to joining The McMahon Group, Chris served as the CEO of The Westmoor Club, Nantucket – a Platinum club. Prior, Chris served 20 seasons as the General Manager of Bald Peak Colony Club, a seasonal private club on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in the lakes region of New Hampshire.  Prior to that, he held senior management positions with St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco – the largest yacht club in the world, Boodles of London – one of the oldest and most established city clubs, and the Harvard Club of Boston – a Platinum alumni club.

Chris earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, earned his CCM designation in 1999, was awarded the ECM designation in 2001.   He is an active contributor and prominent leader in the industry having served on the CMAA New England Chapter Board and multiple CMAA National Committees.  Chris was selected as a CMAA Fellow in 2020.

Chris is married to his college sweetheart and best friend,  Jennifer, and together they have 3 daughters, Sarah, Hannah and Abby.  When not working, Chris enjoys the outdoors in New Hampshire and producing boutique maple syrup, as well as rooting on his beloved Red Sox and Patriots.

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