Creating a certified supervisor program – Part 2 -‘The Who’

By: Gregg Patterson, Founder & President “Tribal Magic!!!” May 2, 2018

This is the second part of the article of ‘Creating a certified supervisor program‘.

Doing “The Who”

“Doing supervisor certification right” requires knowing The What that’s needed and The How of delivering What’s Needed effectively and efficiently.   In Part One of this two-part article, a basic outline of The What of Supervisor Certification was provided.

In this, Part II of the Certification Journey, The How of teaching “what’s needed” will be provided.  Together these two articles will provide the foundation for an internally generated “loving hands at home”, personalized and customized Supervisor Certification Program that’ll develop the gifted, strengthen the club and add joy to the management journey.

Be warned –> Personalization & Customization Required!

No one program works for everyone.  No one set of standards and processes is universally applicable.  Therefore the following Supervisor Certification template needs to be Personalized and Customized to be appropriate for a specific club and its team and the needs, wants and expectations of the operation.

certified supervisor program

Reminder: Gotta Have “The Champions”

Every program needs Champions to succeed—people who are passionate about The Why, The What, The How and The Who of the program.  Creating and delivering a Supervisor Certification Program takes the commitment of The Big Cheese, the General Manager, and his or her executive team.

No enthusiasm from the top, no delivery from below.  Find Champions who’ll be the preachers, teachers, and facilitators for The Supervisor Certification program.

Issue a Warning—Certification Doesn’t Mean “You’re Now a Supervisor”

Applicants need to understand that “certification” means they’re QUALIFIED to be a novice supervisor but it doesn’t mean they will immediately BECOME a supervisor.  But when the opportunity arises, they WILL be ready!

Needing—The Faculty

The Certification program will require teachers who’ll specialize in delivering different parts of the curriculum in an interesting and engaging way.

The faculty will include The General Manager, The Lead Trainer, various already certified Supervisors and various members (!!!) with specialized knowledge in the law, finance, H.R. and the like.

Orienting—The Faculty

The faculty needs to know the program and their role in delivering Certification.  For those who are already Certified Supervisors, this will be a re-hash of what’s already known.

For others, it’ll be an orientation to the program and an explanation of their place in the certification journey.

Blue Superhero Man And Woman

Creating – The Workbook

The workbook is The Bible of the program and a detailed syllabus for both attendees and faculty.  It will be created by The Faculty and will include ALL of the “must know” thematic chapters outlined in Part I with each of these chapters broken down into detailed topics appropriate to that chapter.

Each detailed topic within the chapter will include:

  1. An explanation of the topic.
  2. Discussion questions.
  3. Test question “possibilities”.
  4. A “must watch shot by the staff of the staff”three-minute explanatory video for that specific topic.
  5. Articles of interest that must be read and discussed.

Publicizing the Opportunity—Getting the Word Out

Once the program’s been developed, management will need to spread the word that The Supervisor Certification program is open for business.   Write it up, hand it out and post it on the staff bulletin board.

Have the Manager speak to the staff.   Have current supervisors discuss the program with their teams.  Have a “Supervisor Certification” open house for the interested.

Pre-Application “Must Watch” Videos

Before an application is given to The Interested, he or she must watch a couple of loving-hands-at-home-done-by-the-staff  Pre-Application Videos to make sure they know what they’re getting into—“Every Supervisor’s Job” and “This Department’s Supervisor Job”.

Finding Candidates who “Fit”

Many want to wear The Supervisor Hat but the hat needs to fit.  Two ways of finding fit.

Way One.  Employees who satisfy the minimum qualifications—industry experience, club experience, department experience—can request an application for enrollment.

Way Two.  The Management Team—supervisors, Assistants, G.M.—can recommend someone for the program.  This can be based on factual stuff—length of service, etc.—as well as the gut instinct (having observed behavior it’s obvious they have Upside Potential).

Candidates are approved for participation by the Selection Committee—the G.M., faculty and Department Supervisors.

Organic Education

We learn randomly.  We use information randomly.  Random is interesting.  Most experience and most education take place randomly in no particular order.  AND…the random experience is usually more fun than the linear.

Other than the “How to Do Student” module, every other module in the workbook can be taught in any order since each module “stands alone”.   Teach modules appropriate to that week’s happenings—or have a raffle for This Week’s Raffle—or be conventional go “in order.”


Once a “semester” begins, classes should be held several times each week “to keep the buzz on.”  Classes should be brief—thirty to forty minutes—and should address a single topic or module.

Certified Supervisor Program 3 common career progression questions

What day & time

Classroom time should be during a typically “slow” day at a typically “slow” time.  Once the time has been chosen, CONSISTENCY is the key.


The program should be delivered in a “Sacred Space” to affirm and to dramatize the significance of the program—the Board Room, the Manager’s office, the main dining room during off hours.   Once the space is chosen, the key is CONSISTENCY of location.

The Classroom experience

Classes should not exceed 30 minutes—UNLESS the interactive conversation stimulates a longer discussion.

Each class should start with “warm-up” questions“What’s your question of the Day” and “What’s your story of the week” are two good examples—to get the group talking and interacting.   The Faculty then leads the attendees through the highlighted module focusing on “interactive learning.”

The Oral Examination – questions

Before “graduation”, a panel of faculty sits with the attendee and asks “test questions” including both “workbook” and hypothetical issues.

The Written Examination – questions

Before “graduation”, a written examination is given comprised of questions generated by the faculty and based on “Possible Questions” identified in each module of the workbook.

The Practicum Examination—observing the doing.

Before graduation, one of the faculty members will “shadow” the attendee for a day to observe their execution of routine Supervisor activities (upbrief, teaching, debrief, time card processing, reviews, etc.) and to ask questions that a supervisor might encounter during a normal day.

The Graduation Ceremony

The graduation is a BIG DEAL and should be a public affirmation of The Certification Journey.   The certification should be presented by the President and General Manager at an all-staff meeting.   The Newly Certified should be photographed, an article written and copies  e-mailed to the membership, published in the newsletter, posted in the staff dining room and sent to the graduate’s  home.

Certified Supervisor Program Unleash-Culture-to-Fuel-Growth

Rewarded………The Money and The Badge

The Certified will immediately receive a raise WHETHER OR NOT they’re actually assigned as a supervisor.  The Certified will be given a specially colored nametag to identify them as a Certified Supervisor.

Ongoing Stimulation and Re-Certification

A series of “post graduate stimulants” will be needed—graduates will be assigned a mentor and given a mentee and a structured mentor-mentee program will be developed; advanced management/leadership classes in the internal “university” will be offered; in-house “other department” teaching opportunities will be assigned; presentation at All-Staff meetings will be required; involvement in the development of new training videos will be provided; participation in the further development of the workbook and Certification program will be required; and periodic re-testing and “Re-Certification” will be given.

Debriefing The Program—Modifying and Revising

After every “semester” of the program, the faculty and graduates will meet and debrief and modify the Certification program.

Start Certifying

Creating a personalized, customized “Certified Supervisor Program” ain’t easy.  A champion’s needed. A committed faculty is needed.  Hungry “Upwardly Mobile” staff are needed.  Discipline’s needed both to teach and to learn.

But the rewards are HUGE.

Stimulating for the faculty.

Stimulating for The Upwardly Mobile.

Powerfully productive for the Club.

Lots of winners.

Start Certifying…………


And enjoy the journey!!!