Do You Have A Championship Organization?
Does your organization function at what you might call a championship level?
I’m not asking if your team has won a championship lately, I’m asking if you have a championship organization.
Let me explain.
When looking back at some of the great teams in sports, whether they were a passing lightning bolt or a multiyear (or generational) dynasty, they all hold the same traits. They are often described as resilient, adaptable, focused, cohesive, and great communicators. They are not afraid to fail as a team. Their leaders set the example and invest in the success of those around them; team captains get voted through this lens. They are innovative and tend to rewrite the rule books.
Now, could you say that your organization runs at such a championship level?
Agile and Athletics Organizations
Many athletics organizations run into the same problems that traditional companies do - regardless of industry. You don’t have a single product; you have many products. Some might call your team your product, but the sports business has become exponentially more complex. You have endless merchandise, mobile apps, content streaming, organized in-stadium experiences, and the list goes on.
Add to that the expectations of running a day-to-day business such as marketing, sales, current and future state operations, nuanced physical operations like stadium experience and field maintenance, hiring the right people to support long-term growth, creating plans for future spending that address both the future and the ongoing changes thrown at us.
Yes, an athletics organization has all the same challenges as any traditional business…and then some. The need for agility in operations, or the ability to make changes quickly based on faster decision-making, impediment removal, prioritization, and communication, doesn’t simply extend out onto the field. You could argue that this type of agility is in a championship organization's DNA and impacts its ability to deliver a real championship before anyone steps foot onto the field.
Examples of poor organizational agility in an athletics operation include:
- Internal prioritization silos and lack of communication between coaching, operations, scouting, and human resources that lead to the wrong or misplaced personnel
- Lack of iterative financial planning that leads to poorly managed cap situations, cap debt, and lack of ability to get the players or back-office personnel, you want when available
- Financial planning that keeps you from funding highly valuable changes in strategic direction, innovative ideas, or just staffing appropriately to keep the lights on day to day
- Poorly coordinated in-stadium experiences that create potential safety concerns or lower quality fan experiences which lead to decreased revenue
- Internal struggles spill out onto the field with unhappy and unmotivated players who don’t feel heard, feel it takes an act of congress to resolve their concerns, or feel the organization is too stagnant and stuck in its ways to be successful
Conversely, a well-oiled agile organization has open and transparent internal communication that scales appropriately around prioritized value areas. You’ve seen these teams and organizations; perhaps even admired them from afar.
Everyone seems to be on the same page with not just what we are trying to achieve but how we are getting there. The right environments for success have been invested in, everyone has the support they need to be successful in their roles and there is an inherent trust, from the back office to the front office to the team, that everyone is doing their championship best.
A Winning Culture is Not an Accident
A word you hear thrown around a lot in sports is that of culture. “So and so has created a new ‘culture’ for this organization”. It’s a championship or winning ‘culture’. Culture is hard to change because it is mostly mental. You must change the way people think, not just how they work. But make no mistake, structure, and ways of working often change behaviors and ways of thinking.
In the world of Agile Organizational Transformation, we’ve come to realize it takes the right leadership, willing to invest in hard changes with the right support to do so, that find themselves on the path to consistently winning on and off the field. They put their egos aside and realize they need strategic partners and trusted advisors who understand how those changes happen and can create a playbook for organizational agility they can execute and adapt as needed, sustainably.
A championship team on the field is supported by a championship organization. Exceptional communication, brutal prioritization, deliberate agility, mental toughness, and sustained resiliency are at their heart.
Is your organization ready to raise that trophy?