The Conference Contract

Gregg Patterson, President Tribal Magic

Creators of WOW—Builders of Community


The World Conference of Club Managers is the “drug of choice” for Managers and Wanna-Be-Managers needing a “Club Management Fix”.  This five day event is a gathering of the tribe, an energy boost, an “enlightener” and an “enlivener”, an all-consuming experience that, for the “converted”, needs no explanation or justification.  For those who’ve experienced World Conference and drunk the Conference Cool-aide, it’s that special.

But, for Boards who are funding the journey, or for members who hear about wine tasting seminars or for staff who remain at The Club, in the trenches, working twelve hour days delivering “club” to Bridge Players and Newly Weds, all this “conferencing stuff” sounds like a boondoggle, an all-expenses paid ten day vacation to exotic places where “good times” trump “class time” every time.

Managers who attend—or want to attend—The World Conference of Club Management need answers to questions that will be raised by the skeptical, the unenlightened and the down-right hostile.  Attendees need weapons to defend their “going” and their “spending”.  They need a document that explains The Why and The What, something they can wave in the faces of the sneering and the cynical and proudly declare that conference is a “Must Do” for serious professionals.

Managers need a document that’s legally binding between Attendees and The Givers of Conference, a written something that clearly states, in black and white, what conference will deliver and what attendees must do.

They need—The Conference Contract.


The Contract—Section I–Conference will Deliver

Managers need to identify what conference will deliver.  They need to show the Whining and The Judgmental the “Guaranteed Deliverables” from the conference experience.  Managers who “want to attend” and those who “did attend” need to beat their chests and tell The World that conference delivers The Goods for the dollars paid and the time invested.  Here’s the “conference givers” side of the Conference Contract.

Section I—Article 1—We Will Re-Affirm “Your Why” and “The Why of Clubdom”:  Clubs are about relationships and community and the stuff needed to deliver relationships and community in an efficient and cost effective way.  This Conference will identify and affirm The Why of clubs; will confirm, restore and amplify a manager’s reasons for being In the Biz; and will fortify and inspire club managers to go forth and do good in their pursuit of The Why.

Section I—Article 2—We Will Stimulate Your Curiosity:  This Conference will make you curious about new stuff, old stuff and other stuff in the world of clubdom.  We will provide interesting workshops, social experiences and classroom opportunities that will stimulate your curiosity about stuff you never thought you’d be interested in—and will accelerate your curiosity about stuff you already find interesting. We will make you curious about hardware and software, about The Poetry and The Machinery, about The Philosophical Why and The Practical How of clubdom.

Section I—Article 3—We Will Create Networking Opportunities:  This Conference will provide opportunities for “connecting and reflecting” with other industry professionals.  We will provide “meet and greet” opportunities, “bump into others” opportunities, interactive “round tabling” experiences and facilitated discussions of interesting topics.

Section I—Article 4—We Will Provide “Education”: This Conference will deliver “education” by providing insights into The Why (The Principles) and The How (The Practices) of The Club Business and will do so formally in the classroom, semi-formally during the trade show and informally during  hallway “debriefs”

Section I—Article 5—We Will Provoke Personal and Professional Reflection: This Conference will provide managers with the opportunity to “go deep” into their own personal and professional questions.  We will encourage those questions and provide opportunities—both formal and informal—for managers to ask their peers and industry experts about The Big Issues that they’re confronting at the club and in the home.

Section I—Article 6—We Will Deliver The Buzz for The Business:  This Conference will energize, stimulate and invigorate attendees.  We will provide speakers and role models and inspirational videos that’ll recharge their batteries,  buck up their spirits and give managers the lift they’ll need to attack the issues—both petty and profound—that threaten to beat ‘em up and beat ‘em down in the coming twelve months.


Gregg Speaking at the EGCOA 2015 Conference

The Contract—Section II—Attendees Must Do

Managers need to explain that they “ain’t passive” when Doing Conference.  They’ve “signed” the contract and they’ve got responsibilities.  They accept that they have to “do the reach”, grab the food and consume the meal that’s there to be eaten.  Here’s the Attendee’s side of the Conference Contract.

Section II—Article 1—I Will Be Curious:  I will curious about everything I see, hear and experience at Conference and will actively seek exposure to people, places, things and ideas within and outside of my “comfort zone”.  I will stimulate my “curiosity” by asking questions about The What, The Why, The How and The When of the people, places, things and ideas I’m exposed to.

Section II—Article 2—I Will Attend Workshops, Seminars and Lecture Sessions: I will have a listing of all workshops, seminars and lectures available each day and will fill my day completely with educational and informational offerings.

Section II—Article 3—I Will Take Notes: Knowing that I can’t recall most of what I see and hear, I will take notes on every meeting I have with other professionals, on every encounter I experience with places and things and on every workshop, seminar and lecture I attend.  

Section II—Article 4—I Will Identify Interesting People: I will consciously and actively search for “interesting people”—attendees, speakers, administrators, exhibitors and random personalities—who I believe will “enlarge my personal and professional life” through great conversation about interesting and important issues, ideas or things.

Section II—Article 6—I Will Reach Out to and Engage Interesting People in Substantive Conversation: I will approach and initiate conversations with the interesting people I’ve identified.  I will facilitate these conversations with questions, artful listening, personal comments and follow up questions that probe deeper into the substantive issues raised during the discussion.

Section II—Article 7—I Will Debrief Educational Insights, Personal Encounters and Experiences and will Record those Insights and Ideas: I will review the notes I’ve taken on people, places and ideas encountered, will digest those ideas and will record the distillate in my Idea Bank for future reference, review and use.

Section II—Article 8—I Will Act Once I’m Back: I will identify and prioritize those “ideas with utility” identified during the conference, will establish tactics needed to implement those ideas, will establish a schedule for making those ideas happen and will act to translate those ideas into action.


Gotta Do Conference

The World Conference “enlarges the journey.”  It stimulates the curiosity “to seek”, the eyes “to see”, the tools “to do” and The Buzz to “make stuff happen.”

Serious club professionals “do” conference.

They push National to deliver The Goods.

They accept their responsibilities as Attendees.

They trumpet The Virtues of conference to the cynical, the sceptical and the dismissive.


Do conference.  Know why.  Tell the world.

And enjoy the journey………..

The EGCOA Golf Business Conference 2016 is between the 2 – 4 November. For further information click here.

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