How to intensify and speed up the change and innovation process at
your community sports organisation
Clue: Don’t expect things to go back to the way they were pre-pandemic
In the UK and certain other places of Europe, we are now seeing a gradual easing of the corona lockdown measures with organised outdoor sport being allowed in most places and gradually, indoor sport and physical activity opening up. So far, so good…
Many managers and volunteers are working hard to make sure their facilities comply with the regulations for sanitation and safe distancing, which can be demanding enough. But, how prepared are you for the way that people’s habits may have changed and what impact that could have on whether they are returning to your place/centre?
Many people have been running with their dogs, walking with neighbours, cycling for the first time, playing family football in the back garden or doing online fitness classes via Zoom, Peleton or Youtube. How are you going to get those people to (re)join your club/centre?
Can a football club run a family football festival? Could a leisure centre organise social cycling starting and finishing at your car park? Could a rugby club organise a charity dog walk in aid of a doggy charity using your clubhouse as a base? Could canoeing, swimming and cycling organisations, say, learn from Parkrun and set up casual social sessions?
The answer is, of course, you could! But we have to accept that there is a battle between the drive/need to step up change and the ‘way we do things around here’ brigade.
As we highlight below there are some key drivers for stepping up change and similarly some key barriers for change:
So, in short, the more the people who want to step up change have to battle with the barriers to change the more resources are wasted and the less likely the change makers are to succeed.
Get a really strong coalition behind the drive for change, and if you can, ignore the Negaholics, and most importantly don’t try and change them, because you can’t. No one can.
- Establish a vision and benchmarks
Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How much time do you anticipate it will take you to actualize your desired outcomes?
Keep in mind that it’s simply not possible to communicate too much. Each and every employee will be affected by the hospital culture change somehow. Be creative in your communication strategies, and know that if you want buy-in from direct care providers, they must understand “what’s in it for me.”
- Be transparent
Transparency is tough for organizations. It means owning up to what you’re currently doing. Sometimes that’s great and you’re simply trying to move to greater than great, but often it reveals that you have gaps; that you could be doing much better at some things.
- Reward positive behavior and successes — even the small ones!
People need to know when they’re doing a good job. As you achieve benchmarks — even small steps toward your ultimate goal — celebrate them.
Set up a fast-moving innovation project group
Ask them to learn, copy, steal and/or adapt other people’s great ideas, both from within and outside sport and physical activity. Bring together different worlds, such as music and walks, dance and football (no, I am not joking: Broughton Park FC in North Wales organised football floss for 50 your females, and some boys) and wild swimming and dogs.
Focus on innovation
Eight steps to successful change
- Increase urgency – inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant.
- Build the guiding team – get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.
- Get the vision right – get the team to establish a simple vision and strategy, focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency.
- Communicate for buy-in – Involve as many people as possible, communicate the essentials, simply, and to appeal and respond to people’s needs. De-clutter communications – make technology work for you rather than against.
- Empower action – Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders – reward and recognise progress and achievements.
- Create short-term wins – Set aims that are easy to achieve – in bite-size chunks. Manageable numbers of initiatives. Finish current stages before starting new ones.
- Don’t let up – Foster and encourage determination and persistence – ongoing change – encourage ongoing progress reporting – highlight achieved and future milestones.
- Make change stick – Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, new change leaders. Weave change into culture.