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The Club Paid for an Executive Search: It Didn’t Work Out, Now What?

It happens more often than you might think.

A blue-ribbon search committee is appointed by the Board to conduct a nationwide search for their new GM. After considering an in-house approach, the club decides to engage an outside search firm.


  1. Maybe the optics are better for ensuring an arms-length and neutral process.

  2. Perhaps the Committee and staff are not equipped to take on the workload.

  3. Some might think the search firm will bring candidates who might not otherwise apply.

Regardless, it seems like the right thing to do despite the inherent cost. Soon thereafter comes a dizzying array of slick advertisements, videos, social postings and more. The impressive pageantry is activated, yet the Club is unaware of how few truly-qualified candidates might be available.

For their part, the Club makes a heroic effort to do the right thing and spends months vetting candidates. Countless interviews, meetings, communications, and finally, the introductions are made to the members. Even with a search firm, it’s a grueling process.

And that’s just the beginning.

You now face the transition-phase. The search firm is long gone. The ‘real risk’ of your search becomes more apparent. How will the staff respond? Do members think you did the right thing? Do expectations meet reality? Of course they do! They call it a honeymoon for a reason.

It Was More Than Just the Search Cost

At some point, however, the dust begins to settle. Maybe it’s a year. Are the red-flags building? How are your most loyal and valuable staff members feeling? Turnover? How is the business doing? Are things improving for the members? Is this the person you really envisioned to lead your Club? The snarky ones might start to question how such an incongruous selection could have been made by such intelligent people.

In most businesses, the mantra is to hire slowly and fire quickly. In a Club, the firing part may take longer. This is because there was such an emotional and monetary investment made that it is difficult to turn back and admit there might have been a misstep. Nobody wants the political fallout that is sure to come.

Look, did anyone purposely do this to the Club? Of course not!

Hiring the wrong person is just as destructive to the new GM as it is to you. Perhaps they even moved cross-country to join you. Both the Club and GM had the best intentions. But here you are.

How to Get Back on Track and Move Forward

Going back to the same search firm just doesn’t feel right. They will insist it was always the Club’s sole decision to hire. And what if the outcome with them were to be the same? Meanwhile…

  1. The membership is looking to you for answers.

  2. Are members of your management team (or key employees) vulnerable to leaving?

  3. How are your operations covered in the lurch?

  4. What is the new strategy? What is the messaging?

  5. What is happening behind the scenes of the operation that you don’t even know about?

  6. How long will it take to recover?

  7. Do we start from scratch with another blue-ribbon committee and risk a potentially worse outcome?

  8. How do we handle the Annual Club Meeting?

This is exactly where CCA does its best. We’ve been there!

In each and every instance, we resolve every issue you face — and make you look good in the process. We instantly reduce your risk, buy you time, and restore confidence. This allows the Club to regroup, reset, and focus on the future.

Taking The Next Step

How do we help?

  1. Your operations are seamlessly covered. Top to bottom. Front and back. Public and private.

  2. The staff regroups and recovers. They become part of the solution. Not only do we engage their full talent, but we illustrate the Club’s deep commitment to their success.

  3. The Board/Committees return to their normal functions. Responsibility and accountability for operations are correctly restored to professional management. The Board focuses on their roles, which are now more important than ever.

  4. Financial control and staff oversight are reviewed and monitored daily.

  5. CCA’s presence reduces the risk of your club being ‘raided’ for staff, ongoing business, or other important resources.

Importantly, CCA becomes your trusted and independent advisor who has already walked in your path. Everyone can take a breath. Confidence is restored and the process of moving forward begins quickly. CCA already built the basic structure of a game-plan for recovery and has the expertise to execute it. And you may be surprised about the cost effectiveness of our services.

No matter how fraught or complicated things may seem to you, the answers are much simpler for us. The very first step is even easier: just contact David Shaw at Club Consulting Associates for answers.



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