June 8, 2020

Ken Kosak: Use an “Eyes Open-Mouth Shut” Approach When Coming to a New Facility

Ken Kosak is the PGA General Manager at the Belfair in Bluffton, SC.

Ken Kosak on the importance of using an “Eyes Open-Mouth Shut” approach when coming to a new facility:

I was 26 when I had the opportunity to manage my first club. I was a bit of a hard-charger and was managing a staff that was older and, in some instances, wiser than I was at the time. The clubs performed well, but the staff dynamic needed to improve and work better as a team. I met a gentleman that become a great friend and mentor who was a retired business executive. He gave me advice from time to time, and one day he mentioned that I needed to be a better listener and take it all in, instead of rushing to judgment or not understanding why certain things function the way they do. In other words, come in with your eyes open and your mouth shut…observing. Without a doubt, the best first impression I could have made was to be an active listener and take everything in first before formulating an opinion or wanting to enact change. In order to be a really great team you need to get buy-in from team members. They need to understand the “Why” first and foremost. Why we are here? Then we focus on the “What” and the “How”, ultimately beginning with the end in mind.

Ken Kosak on the business impact of using an “Eyes Open-Mouth Shut” approach when coming to a new facility:

Since I moved into Executive Management, I have implemented an Employee Round Table at every club. It’s a cross section of the various departments along with me and our Associate Experience Manager. During these sessions, we talk about a wide range of subjects pertaining not only to their department but the club. This allows me to get a better perspective of any shortfalls in communication or processes, or perhaps additional resources they may need to better deliver the experience we want to provide. Additionally, our team and I are very much focused on managing by being visible. Taken together, these moves have helped me/our facilities win the Troon Golf Turnaround Facility of the Year, Most Improved Facility of the Year, and General Manager of the Year awards. Our members at Belfair love how often they see us walking around and the interactions we have with them. We also take the opportunity to inspect both the product we are putting out and what is expected of each of us as teammates. This really makes us have our “eyes open” and become more detail focused in our operations. It’s nice to see this rubbing off our young assistants as well, with them looking for ways to improve the operations and continuing to refine the experience for our members and associates.

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