On a recent visit to a private club I belong to, I had some downtime between meetings and decided to sit at the bar with a latte to work on my pitch deck. Next to me were a couple who had just joined the club. They were discussing rules, the service, and the workings of the member benefit program with the head of membership.
The couple were asked if they had any food allergies or restrictions, and they said “Yes, we’re pescatarians.” I thought, “Oh, just like me,” and I almost walked over to introduce myself, but then a dish welcoming them emerged from the kitchen, so I stayed put and continued working.
After an odd silence, the new members asked, “Um… is this chicken?” The head of membership had left by then, and it was up to the bartender to tell them it was. Oh dear, this was painfully embarrassing for the club’s entire staff—as well as to me, as a member!

The Problem
The club has recently gone through a major staff restructuring, hiring kids with limited experience to run membership, operations, and the kitchen. Rumor has it that there weren’t any transitional training periods, where the “old” staff could train the new kids. It was clear to me from what I overheard that the head of membership had no clue what “pescatarian” meant!

The Fix
The club’s CEO made a fundamental mistake in letting the whole staff go and hiring a bunch of untrained youngsters to take over the entire operation of an elite private club. The obvious fix is to either train them yourself (@CEO) or make sure that you’re not pissing off your loyal staff and/or firing them on the spot. Make sure the old staff and new staff overlap and do everything you can to ensure a graceful transition so your operation doesn’t suffer. As one of my favorite architects once said, “God is in the details.”

What do you think?

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