Tweaking the delivery
The world around your club is constantly changing, it’s easy to over-think what your club is and is not. It’s useful to regularly remind yourself of why your club actually exists, what the one passion is that everyone wants to get together for.
Yes, you may want to tweak how you deliver the experience, but don’t forget why you’re there in the first place.
Your member and supporters are also having the same disruptive experience in their world. Are you making it easier for them to connect with and take advantage of your offering?
Clubs and Associations are by their very definition a group of like minded people. Which I feel is part of the reason that people eliminate conflict wherever and whenever it appears, in meetings, on the field trip or at an event.
Obviously there is a time and place for everything, but provoking conflict will only provoke interest and engagement, it will cause people to describe what they really think, or perhaps kickstart thinking along a different tangent.
It is a very handy mechanism or tool in a good managers toolbox. Handling the conflict actively and professionally and is a whole other discussion.
Next time you’re in a committee meeting, put out some verbal rope out to play with, highlight a threat or a concern and give it a gentle rub. Sure it may be a little uncomfortable, but resolving these issues in the open will make for a stronger bond.
After all, if these things were never discussed and actioned wouldn’t that result in an even more uncomfortable position later on?
Advice from C.S.Lewis
Whilst you may not consider C.S.Lewis, the fantastic writer behind The Chronicles of Narnia could advise greatly on running a club, his comments regarding writing, written to a young fan in June of 1956, are completely relevant to clear and simple communication. A critical skill when it comes to management.
What really matters is:–
1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”
5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
Point 4 is rather interesting when relating back to club management, building a club in which the community will be proud of and will talk excitedly about without your marketing input is one well worth building!
The goal of winning.
Whilst attending a clubs conference recently we were asked a question about winning. A Gridiron football club was having trouble attracting players because they weren’t winning. In their mind the correlation between attracting and retaining players was directly impacted by the win, loss ratio of the season.
I won’t lie, there is a correlation between people wanting to be a part of winning sides, and clubs and more broadly in life. But lets for a moment looking merely at the maths.
There are 10 sides in your competition. Say only the top 5 will make finals. Meaning that you have a 50% failure rate. Of those that make finals only 1 will win the Grand Final. Meaning you have a 10% chance of being successful and retaining your playing group; provided that this is your focus.
Our argument is that as administrators you should be focusing on making your club successful regardless of the final scoreline. Leave scores and on-field success to the coaches. Your focus should be on creating a great environment to be around, a fun social scene, to provide the coaches and players with all the tools necessary to give them the best chance of winning.
Build your club for off-field success… on field success will soon follow.
Intangible advice is the advice that one can’t put a monetary value on. It can be incredibly poignant and handy to keep within the club, why not exploit previous experience rather than ignore it all together.
Form an advisory board, it could be made of ex-Presidents, Senior players, local community members, senior business types and alike. Discuss in an ad-hoc fashion several topics each month, you may not learn anything new, you may have heard it all before but at the end of each meeting decide on a few to-do items. You have now subscribed to a timeline that will be enforced by local leaders; people you respect.
In a month’s time, you will have to report back to them with what actions have taken place. A timeline is usually what is required to give the idealistic items a kick in the butt and get them into action.
Step back from the ledge
Take a step back, I know you don’t want to, I know that this makes up your weekend, and the success of the club depends on you being there, but set up and empower people, make them and the rest of your club understand each others roles, and then move away. They will stand up, they have no choice, or others around will tell you otherwise anyway, in which case you take alternative actions.
By having others stand up around you, and take off most of the burden from your shoulders, you are producing a stronger club that will be more inclined to be better, to come up with their own ideas, and it won’t all fall in a heap when you do eventually resign, which you will do one day.
Chart to Success
Running a club is not easy, be it sports or other recreational pursuits it all brings the same challenges, of chasing people up, formulating a strategy and getting the clubs name out there to attract sponsors, facilities or equipment.
This strategy is vital to the success fo the club (along with your mental health!). In order for a club to get successful on the field or trying to achieve a variety of things, more bodies need to be in action and more hands doing things.
Create an organisational chart. Separate roles and attach responsibilities. A good manager should oversee the success, and empower others to make the decisions that will mean the club will succeed not just in the short term but well into the long term as well.