Why clubs need to change their structures?


Good corporate governance plays a vital role in underpinning the integrity and efficiency of a club.

The importance of good corporate governance is: -

  1. Essential for any business to act ethically and with integrity and with transparency
  2. That it guides the company
  3. Essential for the progress and prosperity of any company.
  4. Prevents fraud
  5. It protects the rights of members along with protecting the long-term objectives of the club.

Majority of committee members on clubs are volunteers who are often driven by:-

  • the passion of their sport or
  • are elected by their skill set or
  • want to make a difference or
  • have an invested interest such as playing the sport or
  • have a child participating.

One of the signs I saw over the weekend "please remember these are kids, this is a game, the coaches are volunteers, the referees are human, this is not the World Cup"
Parents and the community must realise that clubs are made up of volunteers and a lot a pressure is placed on them as well as committees just like kids. Work with them not against them.

Club structures start at the top. As a club committee, your responsibility is to adapt your key positions to best suit the capacity of the volunteer. If they don't have the specific skills or the time to complete all the tasks, adjust the position so it best reflects their capacity to be successful. Share the love.

Before you recruit your committee members it is critical that the organisation is clear on what positions are needed and what legal requirements are needed to deliver your organisations services. The most common mistakes, which expose organisations to physical, legal, financial and ethical risks, is the manner in which the organisation recruits its committee and what processes it has in place to manage recruitment procedure. By electing round pegs to fit into square holes the organisation and the individual are clearly exposed to failure. Club structures need to change as volunteers are becoming harder and harder to find.

Most people have had a negative experience when they have volunteered. Some negatives experienced by volunteers:

  • Costs dollars and personal time
  • It places stress on relationships with partners and children
  • Volunteers expected to be on duty 24/7
  • As individuals they can be disrespected and treated poorly by the members
  • They are often exposed to personal criticism especially on social media
  • They are over worked and often feel used and abused
  • They feel betrayed because there is no recognition, reward or support
  • They can be made to feel incompetent because they are thrown in the deep end
  • They worry about the money available to do what they have to do
  • They are concerned about their legal exposure

Warning Signs of Poor Committee Governance

  • Part-timers attitude
  • We have staff - let them do it, I'm a volunteer.
  • Always somebody else's responsibility such as the state body, local government etc.
  • Always somebody else's fault.
  • Don't implement and/or follow procedures. Do it my way - it's easier/quicker.
  • Rules change and are not linked to the long-term plan.
  • Confusion about what the purpose is - one thinks the plan is this, whilst others believe it's something else.
  • Continually shift the goal posts to suit a given situation.
  • The money isn't coming out of our pocket so let's do it anyway.
  • They are great people - they will do it for us - they always do.
  • Utilise the resources for something other than its purpose - nobody need know
  • The rules apply to others not us. I'm the president therefore it's okay.
Club structures need to change & these are the Steps to Success:-

Modernise the governance structure and constitution of the organisation.

  1. Board Chair/Committee President elected by the Board not the members
  2. Performance evaluation processes for boards/Committees
  3. Set up Corporate rather than association structures
  4. Establishment of key board committees including audit and risk
  5. Review Board diversity and skills mix
  6. Improve equity across all positions (share responsibility).
  7. Greatly improve the benefits and recognition for committee members.
  8. Clarify what is expected from the individuals i.e. Define roles and responsibilities
  9. Improve the level of support and training and induction provided.
  10. Improve the level of respect by members and by the organisation.

It is important that your club is structured in a way that best suits your needs now and in the future.
Clubs and committees need to embrace change to improve their club structures and accept they require training to improve business performance.

I will leave you with this quote from Jack Welch:

"Change before you have to"

For assistance improving your club get hold of acarter@carmalkconsulting.com.au or 0400 761 700

Adam Carter | Carmalk Consulting


M: 0400 761 700

W: (07) 3869 2573

E: info@carmalkconsulting.com.au

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