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I was reading an article in our local paper around a very well-known sports team in Adelaide.  The newly appointed coach had asked a previous one that he had once worked with (and that he held in high regard) to come in and review how the coaching structures, key messages and vision that he was looking to achieve in the club were landing across the entire organisation. Learnings from this highly experienced professional were to also be focussed around some of the key areas for improvement, as identified by the team.

When these types of review are undertaken in sporting organisations or businesses, there is often a focus on key systems, processes, personnel, structures or resources. These are understandably important and critical to long term success. The sporting organisation or business must be set up for success both in the short and long term.

However, in this article, the previous coach who did the review highlighted that the main thing he was focussed on was whether everyone in the club, from the CEO through to the guys on the ground, as well as the players, were buying in to the key messages and vision that the new coach had brought in since commencing the role.  He was going to ascertain this by interviewing a range of people from all areas of the club to ensure total alignment and buy in, and whether everyone was singing off of the same hymn sheet.  His rationale for this focus was that if everyone was not on the same page and were not totally committed to the new coaches practices, habits and vision that new tools and practices would mean very little.  This 100 per cent commitment to the cause was that important in his eyes for long term success.

It was a very enlightening article for me on a number of levels.  It highlights that total commitment and alignment of all personnel is critical to ensure buy in and commitment to a vision.  It also reinforced how important communication is across an entire organisation as well as taking everyone along for the journey towards success.  The other final point for me was how by the new coach welcoming someone independent coming in, he felt that this independence would bring insights and improvement that could be the difference between being good and being great – a critical part of improving when you are willing to receive frank and honest feedback focussed on getting the best out of everyone.

The review undertaken by the previous coach highlighted a very positive picture around how well the key messages were understood and committed to by all interviewed.  In his eyes, he believed that if this was in order, the rest around training, teaching the way and the ‘how’ would follow.

Is everyone in your organisation at all levels on the same page?  Is the same buy in to your key messages as a senior leader happening across the organisation?  It may be worth examining this and really asking some hard questions focussed on improvement around the level of commitment, buy in and consistency in messages. It would strike me that if this is in order, you have set strong foundations for success to follow.

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