• Shayne Leslie

Nine Steps Forward | New Directions in Strategy


The path forward for small to medium clubs today may be very different for our colleagues 20 years ago.

It’s easy for competing CEOs and directors to eye the top 20 registered clubs with a degree of envy.

What we see with organisations that are successful today is a combination of good planning that began many years ago and delivers an innovative experience for their customers, often coupled with the benefits (or luck) of a great location - 19 of the top 20 registered clubs are in the Greater Sydney geographic bowl.

Furthermore, we see patience and skill in realising those plans.

What about the other 1000 clubs (who haven’t already amalgamated with one of the top clubs) who are considering their future? It’s realistic to admit that your strategic path heading into the next 10 years may be very different to these giants of the industry.

Broadly speaking, if you’re a club with less than 200 EGMs and not already looked after by a cashed-up parent, it’s a tough gig, especially if your business model has always been reliant on the cash-cow of gaming. If you’re in a regional area it possibly gets harder.

What strategies should you be considering? Does the Gaming, Food, and Beverage (GF&B) model still hold for clubs?

While it’s tempting to hand over a top ten of must-do strategies, that’s not entirely helpful. First, we need to consider what I have termed the Four Quadrants of Focus for your business. Every club I have worked with has a different set of inputs and opportunities.

Four Quadrants of Focus

Part of reviewing the Four Quadrants of Focus is assessing your strengths and weaknesses, and your performance and the importance of the performance. Often, your strategic firepower is found in the intersecting points of this research.

Undertaking this comprehensive research multiple times with many large and small clubs, a selection of the strategies I have considered include the following. It must be said, again, that it is dependent on your business’ unique circumstances, team, location, situation, and opportunities.

Strategic Focus Areas

Leadership and Governance

Top strategies;

  • Board development and succession program

  • Management leadership program

  • Recruitment of skilled managers

Why these strategies?

I see poor teams inhibit business growth and change. The teams range from the board, and the CEO, and management team. It's not necessarily the individuals; it's often how they work together and how they behave. This is the number one reason strategic plans fail across the world.

The single biggest issue I see in poor teams is strategic cognition; the ability and desire to think outside the group’s perspective and making new ideas come to life. This includes the CEO who keeps falling back on old ways of doing business rather than taking risks.

Every time an A-player has to cajole a B-or-C player into doing their job, you are unnecessarily taxing your top talent. One or two employees, especially if they are in senior positions, can influence the entire mood of your workplace. The cost to an organisation in which employees are unmotivated can be enormous; staff turnover, lost productivity, low morale.

Beyond technical skills, many boards and CEOs forget to recruit for leadership, technology competency, and learning agility. Boards and CEO forget to recruit for the future, and relying on previous job titles without considering their business' strategic direction.

Operational Profitability

Top strategies;

  • For clubs, the GF&B is still the key business model for the near future

  • Financial management training for all managers and supervisors

Why these strategies?

I have often heard it said that until you can run one business successfully, don’t try to open another business. In the future, breaking out of the GF&B business model will mean we are going to need new types of businesses, so the strategies here are around learning to run your current business well, and transferring those skills to new business. Especially financial management.

Community and Communication

Top strategies;

  • Marketing and digital marketing; training, execution, and competency

Why these strategies?

In small to medium sized clubs, marketing isn’t a department or a role. Marketing is every manager’s job. Every manager should help market their business unit through information, photography, using social media, creating events, and executing profitable ideas.

What we promise through our digital footprint, which is by far the most popular method our customers receive our message today, must be delivered… or the social media retribution is swift.

Facilities and Investment

Top strategies;

  • Return on assets

  • Infill development

  • Investments

Why these strategies?

RoA strategies here include liquidating obsolete inventory and using cash to boost marketing or acquire new equipment that improves productivity.

Infill developments is considering under-utilised land assets and creating new ways to earn money from spare or vacant land.

Investments may be in building or collaborating with businesses in the supply chain (farms, food production, delivery, expertise in marketing), or in new commercial ventures that are in-scope (drive through café or bottle shop), or new-scope (retail leases, commercial property, property development).

What strategy is right for you?

Deciding what strategy is right for you could begin with asking a powerful question; why am I raising money?

We’ve been busy building hospitality empires and forgetting the object of our fundraising. It’s like working in a job that might not be here in 5 years’ time – think taxi drivers and librarians. The money may be coming in right now, but what will the landscape be like in 2022?

Working through what your strategy may be starts with a conversation. Is the profitability of your GF&B model continually challenged?

There are no short-cuts to success. The success you have tomorrow begins with what you do today. And the success of one strategic action is heavily reliant on a balance of success in all areas of business, especially teams and leadership.

The CEO’s role is circular and not a straight line to success; set the direction, create the relationships, build the right team above and below, tweak daily performance, then re-check the direction, re-check the team’s ability, monitor the performance, and so on.

It starts with a conversation. Pick up the phone and let’s have a chat.

SHAYNE LESLIE | 0412 241 773 | shayne@integratedgovernance.com.au

#marketing #marketingstrategy #strategicplanning #strategy #team

Phone: 1300 76 22 38
ABN: 54114140251

Address: Head Office, Gosford, New South Wales, Australia

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