From the archive: How The List ensures Wimbledon keeps serving

Following Ross Matheson's appearance on Location, Location, Location, we look back to National Conference in 2019 when The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club's club manager gave a keynote speech to delegates... Everything about Wimbledon is on such a massive scale. Whether it’s the 675 matches played during the early summer fortnight, the 39,000 spectators who can attend every day, or the staggering 320,000 glasses of Pimm’s that are consumed, the Championships really are at the pinnacle of British sport. Ensuring that The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, to give the club its full title, retains that pre-eminence is club manager Ross Matheson. The 49-year-old took delegates through his role and how the Championships and club are run when he was one of the keynote speakers at GCMA National Conference at De Vere Cotswold Water Park. But while what happens at the globe’s most prestigious major tournament might not seem comparable with events at your club, Matheson talked in detail about the meticulous processes that keep them on top. And whether that is managing Wimbledon’s finals, or staging our own club championship, there are plenty of things we can all learn from The List. It has been used at The All England Club for more than 15 years and it’s a catalogue of all the things they consider they could do better. “It goes right to the heart of not accepting second best” is how the club portrays it and when feedback – wherever that comes from – can’t be dealt with immediately it’s placed onto The List. It could be anything, from repairing chipped railings, to tidying foliage, reviewing signage, or even monitoring splashing, it is all recorded. Nothing is left to chance in the “pursuit of greatness”. Putting it there in such a fashion makes its actionable. Every single line contained on The List needs to have a comment by it by the time the Championships come around again the following summer. “The List is the living embodiment of our culture of never-ending improvement when it comes to the Championships,” Matheson told Conference delegates. “But it is completely related to everything else that occurs within the club. We get a day off after the Championships, and then you are brought in to a director and senior managers’ group and then you have two days where we have a hot debrief. “That hot debrief is downloading everything that is on the top of your mind. You run the Championships, you work on it thinking about the following year and what’s working well and considering the future too. “You then have two weeks to write the Championships report, there are 40 reports and they get fused with the hot debrief and we create a list that last year for 2019 had 1,750 items on it.  “They are categorised, prioritised and given out to senior managers. They are followed up with key quarterly review meetings with the Championships team, who make sure that you are handling your list....
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