Good governance in sport is your single most critical issue to winning the game
Sport is at its best when done with the highest level of integrity, sportsmanship and fair play – inside and outside of arenas, courts, fields, rings, stadiums and tracks.
The sport leaders among your peers, who prioritize modernizing the governance standards of their organizations, realize that good governance is the foundation for good decision-making, nationally as well as internationally. They undergo tough and courageous changes to build a strong platform for prosperity, performance and growth into the future. By raising the governance standards of their organizations to a best in practice, leadership level, they build trust, forge strong community connections and enhance their participation base.
All your players expect you to be a coach with leadership qualities of character
Raising the governance standards of your organization to a best in practice, leadership level builds trust with at least six of your key stakeholders for the following reasons:
- Professional athletes : To sustain or increase interest and pride in practicing your particular sport(s) at a professional level and in competing at your events.
- Sponsors and media broadcasters, expecting a positive association with your organization, sport(s) and events through their investments: To sustain or increase your main source of revenue.
- Host governments and intergovernmental organizations : To preempt strict and inflexible regulatory oversight and to keep your privileges such as tax exemptions and eligibility for public funding.
- Law enforcement authorities : To proactively manage legal liability risks for your organization and individuals on your board and in your executive management.
- Civil society organizations, as the most trusted societal players: To preempt critical campaigns and negative media coverage of your organization, sport(s) and events and to increase your level of trust with all stakeholders.
- The general public : To sustain or increase general interest and pride in practicing your particular sport(s) at an amateur level and in attending your events or following them on TV and other media.
Change the tactics of the game: Move from being seen as part of the problem to being part of the solution
Only if you get the process right in raising the governance standards of your organization to a best in practice, leadership level, will you get full credit for the outcome and the time and money spent. Because of the sensibility of the issues, a common mistake is to try and devise sound governance standards in a purely internal and legal compliance-focused process. If you go down that road, you will miss the opportunity of placing good governance in a strategic and tactical context for winning the game. This particularly applies to building trust with your key stakeholders and motivating them to publicly recognize you as part of the solution to a problem.
The only way to build the trust of your players is by earning it
Critical questions to ask yourself are: who trusts you, and who stands up for you in a time of crisis? Trust is not about how you perceive yourself, but rather how your key stakeholders perceive your organization, your sport(s), your events and not least you personally. To earn trust, everyone in your organization, and you in particular, must behave with integrity – transparently and consistently.
Do you want to lead the change of the game or be forced to adapt?
Raising the governance standards of your organization to a best in practice, leadership level, requires high levels of leadership, especially in taking tough and courageous decisions. Either you disrupt the status quo and benefit from being an offensive first-mover or you stay put defensively and eventually get disrupted in a damaging way.