Action Item: Graceful exits

People who feel like they belong rarely leave a community. But with a strong relationship, if they do have to step away, you won't lose a supporter.

Action Item: Graceful exits
Photo by Ch_pski / Unsplash

Businesses have a way of exposing human nature in unique ways.  Your curling club is a business, probably one that has qualified to not pay taxes, but still a business. 

Your board is a collection of folks chosen to run this business.  How your board thinks, processes and perceives information will, in large part, determine the trajectory, vitality and success of your club.  

How our board members responded to the news of a local ski hill expanding their operation to accommodate an adult downhill ski league was a great example.  

One of our members, who is "all in'' for curling, voiced serious concern about the actions being taken by the ski hill.  His concern?  The promotion of and competition presented by downhill ski racing could mean we lose members.  He was upset with the ski hill and the possibility of losing members.  

Does this sound familiar?  Does your board feel like your club needs to "hang on" to members?  

People having other priorities is a reality in life. Letting folks wander away with dignity means we create a comfortable path to return. Acknowledge their decision as a leader.  Be sure you let them know they are welcome back as are any of their friends, because they would make great members too.

(This is assuming that you are authentic. If they aren't a club asset, just be kind, but still acknowledge their decision.) 

You want people to KNOW that you notice them, even when they dismiss themselves. Why is this important?

People will leave you.  For many reasons — kids, jobs, time, money, seasons of life. 

But if you have created relationships, even if they aren't "in" your club, they are connected to those who are. They still consider themselves "part" of the curling culture, if for no other reason than it sets them apart...we curlers are a rare commodity.  

The antidote is building relationships within your club! 

Is this happening in your club?  Are there relationships that have been built that meet outside of your club?  If so, you have  a healthy, resilient club.  If not, it's time to find out why not and start taking action.

Back to our upset member... and how we walked through this.  He was one of those board members that showed up to the meetings, did his role but was not "all in".  

He was a consumer of our club's offerings, full stop.  We chatted about who he thought might leave to go downhill racing.  No one he knew.  "Have you heard the rumblings of an exodus?"  He hadn't even discussed this with any members.  It was not his nature.  

Thankfully, that one person on our board stepped down and that was his way to disconnect.  But far too often, these folks need to be reassigned… which generally facilitates their departure. 

As a leader, your role is, in part, to protect the culture.  One dud can ruin a club… these must be dealt with without hesitation. Your board/leadership team/dedicated ice team needs those technical skills: financial, legal, engineering, etc. But more importantly they need people skills

If people have built a relationship as a member of the club, they may leave but they still have a connection beyond the member label. THIS IS HUGE!

✅ Action Item: Check in with your membership

As a board member, are you calling your members on occasion, asking them how things are going and if they have any input?  Are you inviting members to social engagements, parties, events that are not club related?  Are you building the relationships outside of your club that have begun inside your club?  Connecting these members with other groups you are engaged with?  Are we nurturing our member relationships?  Are we creating opportunities for growth away from the facility?  

This is really hard. The reality is the more folks you engage and develop authentic relationships with AND the more they can "feel" the vision your team has for a curling facility, THEN they can begin to participate with their unique talents and gifts. 

Board members are the leaders and set the tone for creating a community. 

People who feel like they BELONG rarely leave. 

And if they do, they still support the club. Being intentional about this process is HUGE in the eyes of future partners/investors/donors. 

If you need help with your team, or need to change directions, let me know. Been there! If I haven't already had a conversation with your team/board, feel free to reach out. I am happy to hear your story and help you get ON YOUR ICE FASTER!