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About this blog

Industry consultant Jim McLoughlin addresses topics such as the job application process; career planning; and job security in a bad economy.

Entries in this blog

 

Maintenance Facility Order Secures Jobs

My Oct. 9th blog post advised that one of the more effective ways for a superintendent to create a visible presence is to schedule an Open House maintenance facility field day one Saturday afternoon each spring.  As a follow-up on this recommendation, this blog is going to focus on the pivotal issue of maintenance facility order versus disorder because -- through my years of visiting America's golf course maintenance facilities -- I have seen the good, the indifferent and the ugly in about equal

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

The Indispensable Role Of The Chapter Executive Director

The purpose of this blog message is to identify the appropriate role of the chapter Executive Director, which is concisely stated within the following model chapter Executive Director job description:   Chapter Executive Director: General Duties & Responsibilities   The Executive Director shall serve as the chapter COO . . . .   The Executive Director's fundamental responsibility is to act as a "steward" of his chapter's mission statement in the following ways: to ensure the chapter ha

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Why Workaholic Superintendents Are Job-Vulnerable

Myth: Golf course superintendents who consistently allow their personal work schedules to stretch to 60 and 70+ hour work-weeks are perceived as being dedicated to their jobs and are respected for this commitment profession-wide.   This is a dangerous myth that has cost more than a few superintendents their jobs through the years.   Why? Because the vast majority of those responsible for hiring superintendents are private-sector executives who require the managers they hire in their day jobs

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

How Superintendents Can Create A Level Negotiating Field

Back in the mid-1990s, I was invited to GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas to attend a series of meetings for the purpose of addressing superintendents' job security issues. No matter how the conversations went at these meetings, I was consistently told by GCSAA Board members, staff and chapter leaders (all acting in good faith) that . . .   "It would not be prudent for superintendents to take the initiative when negotiating job security issues because it would anger/offend their employers

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Visiting The Masters Elevates Superintendents' Work Standards - Admission Is Free

I firmly believe that every golf course superintendents should attend The Masters championship as early as possible in their careers because they'll see a standard of maintenance excellence that's not available anywhere else in the world and unless witnessed would not be believed possible.   Granted, no golf course superintendent will ever have Augusta National's budget to work with, but that is not the point.   The point is that every GCSAA member who visits Augusta National will be reachin

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Don’t Waste Your Cover Letter

Traditionally, golf course superintendents have used the cover letter when applying for jobs in a very perfunctory manner; i.e.- to make search committees aware of their candidacy and to ask for an interview - little more.   This superficial use of cover letters negates candidates' foremost opportunity to take the initiative throughout the application process...   ....which is what the job application process should be all about; i.e., taking the initiative throughout the entire job applicat

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Why Superintendents Are Denied Written Contracts

Two totally independent national surveys that mutually support each other's findings tell a frightful story about the careers/lives of golf course superintendents:   FIRST SURVEY:  Indicates that only about 20% of golf course superintendents enjoy the security of a written employment contract, while roughly 80% of PGA and CMAA members enjoy this privilege.   Few people in the world give thought to the devastation wrought upon families when a superintendent is summarily dismissed - which is n

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Why Most Superintendents Have Jobs, Not Careers And What To Do About It

While Jim McLoughlin's blog series was completed a short while ago, an additional thesis with an important message will be posted from time to time.   The following question relating to the career welfare of every golf course superintendent across the country has to be asked and should be addressed:   "Why have GCSAA Boards continuously failed to address the singular most important issue of their time? Namely, that it is time to liberate superintendents from the long-standing conundrum where

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Stress-Free Job Interviews... Guaranteed!

The interview process between a job-seeking candidate and a search committee can be one of the most inefficient communication exchanges known to man.   The reality is that qualified but interview-inexperienced candidates often do not present themselves well in this typically tense and highly structured sit-around-the-table interview format. Is there a better interview format that would benefit candidates? Fortunately, there is; for example:   A candidate would request a more informal (stress

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Best Communication Opportunity: A “Maintenance Program” Web Site

Yes, there is a second undiscovered web site opportunity that is potentially more valuable to a superintendent than the well-documented highly respected personal career web site. Properly prepared, managed and updated on regular basis, a "maintenance program" (MP) web site's attainable objectives are to promote the superintendents' "brand" in the following ways: To educate course officials/players to the basic elements of the maintenance program.   To educate re: the role and job descript

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Total Transparency: The Key To Defensive Management And Job Security

Several earlier posts in this series have focused on presenting better ways of securing jobs. This post combines all earlier comments on the subject with the master umbrella concept of "defensive management."   The concept of defensive management is the least understood and least practiced proven management concept throughout the world of the golf course superintendent and beyond.   By design, defensive management techniques are intended to defuse the impact of arbitrary decision-making and

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Procrastination Kills Careers...

As you remember, last week's blog message profiled the definitive steps superintendents can take to survive further downturns in the economy.   The only way superintendents can get hurt when the economy heads further south is by failing to act on the guidelines presented in last week's blog on a timely basis -- which should be implemented appropriately ahead of time but rarely are.   Unfortunately, career-planning procrastination appears to be in the DNA of most male golf course superintende

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Binding Arbitration Wins

It should be abundantly clear that engaging attorneys for counseling purposes, or to gain access to the courts of law essentially has been a futile exercise for golf course superintendents from Day One because superintendents will: Always have difficulty finding, engaging and affording qualified attorneys. Always be facing the likelihood of defeat in any serious legal entanglement because employer clubs will always be able to comfortably out-wait and out-spend them. Always have difficulty mov

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Accomplished Superintendents Have 'Fortune 500' CEO Talent

A long-standing axiom that is consistently noticed by knowledgeable sports fans and beyond states that established NFL coaches have the equivalent personal skill sets as Fortune 500 Company CEOs.   Accordingly, in this hypothetical world, it is believed that proven NFL coaches are equipped to successfully manage the worlds most dynamic companies given the same preparatory educational opportunity the CEOs have had.   Informed golf industry watchers familiar with the above premise consistentl

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Ground Rules For Starting Your Own Business

The content of this blog message is extensive. But this might be the only time a reader will have access to a concise presentation on the subject of "How To Start A Business"  - something superintendents should prepare for in case the desire/need arises later in their careers.   Superintendents should always be mentally prepared to start a business at an appropriate time in their careers for the following reasons: Course operators are hesitant to assure superintendents employment beyond thei

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Prototype Chapter Mission Statement: The Key To Members' Job Security

The purpose of this blog message is to demonstrate that a chapter without an effective mission statement is like an airplane flying without a navigation system. Nobody knows how to get to where they want to go; and missions fail accordingly.   What Is The Status Of Chapter Mission Statements? Appalling, because the reality is that about half of GCSAA chapters do not have a mission statement and the mission statements of the remaining half of the chapters are too vaguely worded and miss identi

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Qualified Chapter Executive Directors Are Key To Superintendents' Career Advancement

During the late 1970s GCSAA unexpectedly found itself floundering with its future in doubt because its trade show (now the GIS), magazine, dues revenues and member counseling programs were all suffering because the Association was conducting business within the high risk "not-for-profit" business world without the benefit of having a definitive mission statement to guide it through troubled waters.   There are over 40,000 n-f-p associations in the country with the golf industry housing about 3

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Focus Ahead – Not Behind – When Interviewing

Possibly, the two most consistent patterns I have noted through the years when participating in candidate interviews as a consultant to employing clubs have been: Candidates devote roughly 80% of their submitted documents and interview presentation times to focusing on their past job performances. Unfortunately, this leaves these same candidates only 20% of their interview time to effectively advise what they would do if selected for the vacant job; i.e.- the most vital information a search

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Outreach Programs: The Profession’s Vital Missing Link

Outreach programming is the most vital service an organization can provide its employees or members because it redirects careers, stabilizes families and ensures that there will always be "career hope" through the most difficult of times. Outreach programming permeates the corporate and military worlds of employment for a good reason.   DEFINING THE CONCEPT Outreach is a counseling program provided by employers, or their affiliates, where trained counselors support employees in the following

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

GCSAA Priorities: Upgrade The Nominating Process And Return To Transparent Governance

Coming out of the winter of 1980, several chapters asked GCSAA to survey all the chapters to inquire whether they wanted to be mailed (no e-mail then) the minutes of GCSAA Board meetings for distribution to their chapters board members and to any of their chapter members requesting a copy.   The chapters voted 95-0 to implement this policy that served the Association well as evidenced by the fact that every existing activity/program given attention at the time realized sizable growth because t

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

A Personal Student Website: Entre To A Quality Life Style For Your Children

This blog post is longer than most. Be patient with it; read it through several times to digest its contents because it holds the keys that can give your children a solid start in life.   You ask, "What need would a pre-college aged young man or woman have for a personal website?" The answer is not obvious until we start to take notice of the ultra-challenging world the young people of today face as they look to take their first steps into life's battlefield. For example:   Undergraduate tu

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Insights For The New Year Or Any Time

Superintendents No.1 Asset: Their Work Ethic Ask the average golfer, or the country's many superintendents themselves, "What is the golf course superintendents' Number One Asset?" The answers that come forth cover a wide variety of skills (communications skills, technical expertise, quality greens, etc.) all of which with the best of intentions miss the mark.   A consensus of industry-wide opinion suggests that what separates the core of golf course superintendents' performance from virtually

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Your Children Are Watching 24/7

Unfortunately, too few parents understand that their role model responsibilities to their children extend throughout every waking hour of every living day.   The imperative lesson to note here is that our children learn more from what they see their parents doing on a 24/7 basis than from being told by their parents what to do, or not do, in life.   The old cliché, "Do what I say and not what I do" has no place within a relationship between parents and their children.   Following is a list

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Step One Approach To Written Contracts: Create A Visible Presence

My Sept 25th blog post advised that the primary reason why the vast majority of golf course superintendents are denied written contracts is because search committees lack the confidence to judge the technical qualifications of job applicants accurately.   Therefore, logic suggests that the best approach for superintendents to overcome this shortcoming is:   To educate search committees to the point where they would feel comfortable granting written contracts to established and newly hired su

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

 

Never Assume Confidentiality

The issue of 'confidentiality' discourages many employed superintendents from seeking new jobs because they are fearful of putting their present jobs at risk any time they apply for a job despite submitting their applications on a 'confidential' basis. And rightfully so! Where does the problem originate?   The blame for disclosure does not generally lie within the various search committees because they are consistently made up of private sector business people used to routinely working with an

Jim McLoughlin

Jim McLoughlin

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