By November of last year, at a time when many other Florida developments, and their developer-owned clubs, were thrashing about frantically just to stay above water, The Country Club at Mirasol's General Manager, Matt Lambert, set into motion the timeline for the final stages of his club's turnover to member ownership.
The fact that Lambert served as chief orchestrator of the process is also highly significant.
Too often, a club's management staff is shunted to the sidelines as transitions to member ownership begin, able only to watch the action nervously and hope that after the outcome is decided, they'll still be asked to be part of the team.
In fact, as word circulated throughout the industry that Mirasol
was entering the final stages to member transition, Lambert
received several calls from colleagues (as well as from executive recruiters) who were sure that the history of turnovers meant he
was doomed and implored him to "get out of there, now."
Much of the credit for that, Lambert
says, goes to how the developer "spent the resources needed from day one to provide a top-notch club facility and keep the members happy.
This was critical, he
feels, to laying a solid foundation, from the time the first piling was driven, for the eventual turnover to member ownership.
"[Taylor Woodrow] never hid behind the fact that there eventually was going to be a turnover," says Lambert
GM since 2005.
"When we had engineering inspections conducted over the entire property as part of the due diligence for the turnover, they found virtually nothing," Lambert
"Everything was in great shape, attesting to how they've always given us what's needed to properly serve the membership.
And I have to believe that if they hadn't done all of that from the start, there would have been harder feelings among the membership that would have adversely affected the turnover negotiations."
The membership's satisfaction with the club facilities has been reflected in annual surveys that have consistently produced overall approval ratings above 95%.
Another factor earning equally high marks-satisfaction with the service and operational performance provided by Lambert
staff-should be given equal credit for the club's appeal and reputation, and is why both the developer, and the club's membership, felt comfortable in letting Lambert
take the leading role to direct the move to the next phase of The Country Club at Mirasol's
"Turnovers are emotional enough and complicated enough that I didn't want to give [the club staff] any other reasons to be concerned in a way that would affect their performance, and therefore the operation of the club and the satisfaction of the membership," Lambert
"I told them I was determined not to have the turnover process affect the daily operations of any department except mine.
I reminded them that from day one our attitude has always been that we work for the members, and that's what they needed to keep doing.
And the staff did an amazing job of staying focused and providing great service through it all."
Lambert then plunged himself into directing the many specific tasks involved with the turnover, with a huge assist from his Executive Assistant/Communications Manager, Meredith Emond, who facilitated all required communications to the membership through creation of a special Club Turnover section on the Mirasol website.
assembled a Selection Committee to direct the creation of a Nominating Committee
that would oversee the election process for the club's first Board of Directors.
At the same time, he
set into motion a series of communication events designed to ensure an open and candid process that would give all members ample opportunities to participate and have their specific questions and concerns addressed.