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 political-infighting before they can unjustifiably threaten golf course superintendents' jobs.
Recommended Approach To Establishing A Defensive Management Posture
Step One: Superintendents should update and maintain as current the following foundational elements (presented in priority order immediately below) and make sure that those up his chain of command are made aware of the status of each of these concepts via a maintenance program web site (see Oct 2nd post).
- A visible superintendent's presence. (See Oct. 9th blog.)
- A maintenance program web site. (See Oct. 2nd blog.)
- An annually updated superintendent's job description.
- An annually updated 1-3-5 year fiscal-formatted Plan Of Action.
- The minutes from the most recent post-season superintendent evaluation meeting.
- A status report relative to the most recently authorized operating and capital budgets.
With the above listed elements updated and circulated up the chain of command, the maintenance program has achieved "total transparency" through the initiative of the superintendent. This means that no one up the chain of command will have an excuse for not being informed, or for not seeking to remedy problem issues as perceived. Blaming the superintendent after the fact will become a lost practice.
Step Two: Next, superintendents should implement maintenance program policy professionally, on time and within budget -- always staying within line item authority so as not to negate the effective defensive management posture that has been previously established.
It is important that the concept of defensive management be proactively pursued (as profiled above) to ensure that everyone up the chain of command and the superintendent are on the same page re: team unity and program intent; otherwise -- doubt replaces trust and superintendents become job vulnerable.
Assuming a convincing pursuit, the commitment to a transparent defensive management-oriented program is a win-win scenario for golf course superintendents because there is no risk involved -- only the career advancing benefits of being perceived as an effective communicator and solid manager.
Before closing, one final thought: an effective defensive management philosophy can not only serve as the ultimate job-securing mechanism for golf course superintendents, but also...
. . . as a legitimate career-enhancing maneuver at the same time because what it takes to effectively secure one job can concurrently better prepare the superintendent for his next job application should he elect to do so.
Experienced search committee members are generally from the corporate/private sector who know and respect the concept of defensive management and those who practice it.