Monday, April 30, 2012

#communitysport: Gordon Clark

Our latest blog in our Community Sport series comes from Sport Wales Officer, Gordon Clark. In these difficult times it might not be the biggest or best sports clubs that will thrive but rather those who are prepared to make the hard decisions and adapt to the situation.

In this blog - which is one of two - Gordon presents some thoughts on how sports clubs can overcome the apathy that can be detrimental to future survival and growth.

Supporting community sports clubs 

In a previous blog, I introduced three steps for sports clubs to think ahead, make small incremental steps and learn from others.

In this blog, I’d like to share three more steps to overcome complacency and introduce real urgency…

Step 4 – Stay determined and ambitious – Do NOT settle

There will be difficult times so you will need to be determined, you will need to be ambitious in terms of what you want to achieve but most of all do not settle for the status quo. That small first step talked about in the previous blog is crucial to building up the early momentum and shifting the culture of the club.

Who are the sceptics in your club who you need to reason with and convince through facts and arguments about the need and potential of change? Who are the NoNos with the ten reasons for why it would never work or that things are fine?

In sharing some of his experience Svend Elkjaer says:

“Left alone NoNos can kill or mortally wound your organisation and I have, sadly, experienced situations, particularly in voluntary organisations, where long-standing NoNos would rather see their club go down than change their mindset and behaviour.

Do NOT waste time trying to co-opt NoNos – but don’t ignore them. An ignored NoNo can create much mischief; you are after all, disturbing/ruining their disturbed view of the world.”
It is not easy to deal with NoNo’s but when it comes down to it you may need to force them out of the position they hold to bring in new skills, knowledge, experience and motivation.

Step 5 - Learn from your failures and successes

Make sure you and your colleagues understand why things might have worked or not. Gradually you will use this learned knowledge and understanding to become more successful. Remember you will have failures but learn from them don’t use them as an excuses to stop.

In the words of Wayne Gretzky - “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Step 6 – Make it fun

Try to have fun while you are moving forward; otherwise you will be too easily de-motivated and thrown off course when the sea becomes a bit choppy. I know – easier said than done, but that’s where continuous progress, however small and slow, becomes so important.

Make sure you enlist the help of the positive people in your club to help keep you and the club on track when things get hard.

Thanks to Svend Elkjaer, Sports Marketing Network, @Sportsmarketer who has given me approval to use some of his ideas.

Do you agree? How do you think sport clubs can ensure that they thrive and survive?

Follow Gordon on Twitter @ClarkSportwales

This blog was written in conjunction with the launch of a strategy for Community Sport in Wales.  If you’d like your say, get involved in the debate on twitter – using the hashtag #communitysport and you can mention us @sport_wales