Helping sports organization solve integrity, growth, and development challenges


The Personal Attributes of Leaders

The athletics director is the head coach of a team – a master teacher and leader who has the ability to organize and inspire a group of people to achieve common goals.  The athletics department team will vary in size with regard to numbers of employees, size of budget and age of student-athletes (middle school, high school and college programs).  The goals of the team will vary according to the competitive level of the program and its related definition of success.  However, every effective athletics director is a highly organized person who is committed to bringing the best

Operating Principles for Athletics Organizations

Operating principles reflect the athletics director’s beliefs about the ways in which people and organizations achieve excellence – the keys to personal and organizational success.  Many times, these principles are the product of a manager’s past experience in leading teams, groups or organizations but they are always consistent with the stated values of the current organization and its leadership.  The essence of an operating principle is that it is an expectation about how everyone in an organization is expected to relate to each other, treat external publics and approach everyd

Transforming a Culture of Physical Abuse to One of Respect

The macho, tough-it-out culture of highly competitive sport encourages athletes to endure physical pain or abusive levels of exertion in silence.  It is also common for competitive sport environments to breed an expectation of student-athlete obedience to the demands of coaches, even if such demands are unreasonable.  Student-athlete acknowledgement of physical distress is often interpreted by teammates and coaches as a sign of weakness, generating peer pressure to maintain silence and play through injury and potentially dangerous levels of fatigue.   Often, misguided no

Sample Diversity Goal and Objectives

Setting goals and establishing measurable objectives is a key first step in achieving diversity outcomes.  In general, a goal should be a broad, narrative, and visionary expression of the athletics program’s diversity commitment while objectives are specific, measurable and may include a timeframe for achievement.  Typically, a diversity goal is one of many goals established by the athletics department and a part of the athletics program’s strategic plan.  Alternatively, or in addition, the athletics department may have a separate diversity plan with its own goals and objecti

Q: How Do You Get Stakeholders to Embrace Change?

Key to successfully influencing others is an understanding of the mechanisms of ‘change’.  What the athletics director is really trying to do when asking others to think in a certain way, take specific actions or provide resources is to change that other person’s thinking to support a new position.   An athletics director may not only have to deal with the challenge of all employees accepting the change, but possibly parents, student-athletes and donors too.  Think of what will go through the hearts and minds of student-athletes and donors who are asked to accept and sup

What It Takes to Be A Great Athletics Director

The success of the athletics director lies in five important dimensions:  (1) informed, ethical and fair decision-making, (2) hiring and retaining the most competent, passionate and committed employees, (3) fulfilling the educational, resource and inspirational needs of employees and student-athletes, (4) by example and action, inspiring excellence in the performance of employee and student-athlete duties and responsibilities and (5) creating policies and procedures that enable employees to work efficiently and effectively and mitigate the occurrence or repetition of problems.  Su

Q: What is a "best practice" or "model program"?

A 'best practice' refers to a process or program that is the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing a task. It is usually time and industry tested, in that it has been used by multiple institutions over an extended period of time, with most practitioners agreeing that the methodology and outcomes produced are effective. "Model programs" refers to a program that has demonstrated success, via quantifiable evidence, over time in a specific area.  It should be noted that even commonly accepted 'industry standards' can be improved upon.