Stagnant NSOs must transform or perish

Bri­an Lewis is the Pres­i­dent of the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC)

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The book "Sports Gov­er­nance" by Rus­sell Hoye and Gra­ham Cuskel­ly gave in-depth fo­cus on the gov­er­nance of non-prof­it sports or­gan­i­sa­tions and the prac­tices em­ployed by the boards/com­mit­tees to car­ry out their gov­er­nance role.

They made the point that books on cor­po­rate gov­er­nance are usu­al­ly writ­ten from a le­gal, fi­nan­cial ac­count­ing or or­gan­i­sa­tion­al be­hav­iour per­spec­tive.

Their book fur­ther high­light­ed the idea that the gov­er­nance in non-prof­it sports or­gan­i­sa­tions tra­di­tion­al­ly gov­erned by a vol­un­teer board may be best ex­am­ined from the lens of or­gan­i­sa­tion­al be­hav­iour.

How are the is­sues of struc­ture, cul­ture, strat­e­gy, lead­er­ship, change and per­for­mance are con­sid­ered by vol­un­teer boards and their paid staff in gov­ern­ing sports or­gan­i­sa­tions?

The boards of vol­un­teer non-prof­it sports or­gan­i­sa­tions must deal with a myr­i­ad of chal­lenges in car­ry­ing out their gov­er­nance re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Some of these chal­lenges in­clude the chang­ing reg­u­la­to­ry en­vi­ron­ment, the in­flu­ence of gov­ern­ment sports pol­i­cy, the im­pact of glob­al­i­sa­tion process­es and in­creased com­pe­ti­tion, the ex­pec­ta­tion of dif­fer­ent stake­hold­er groups.

Seek­ing ways to turn chal­lenges in­to op­por­tu­ni­ties re­quire the non-prof­its to re-ex­am­ine their gov­er­nance struc­tures and prac­tices in an ef­fort to meet in­creas­ing ex­pec­ta­tions and stan­dards of trans­paren­cy, ac­count­abil­i­ty and per­for­mance from a broad range of stake­hold­ers.

There is the view that na­tion­al sports or­gan­i­sa­tions (NSOs) aren't mov­ing with a sense of ur­gency in re­spect of the need for gov­er­nance and con­sti­tu­tion re­form.

What will it take to get na­tion­al sports or­gan­i­sa­tions to change? Who will take the nec­es­sary ac­tion? Whose re­spon­si­bil­i­ty is it to en­sure that change hap­pens? Who will in­sist that good sports gov­er­nance is un­der­stood? Who will be the cat­a­lyst for the change in val­ues that needs to oc­cur if there is to be im­proved sports gov­er­nance?

Good gov­er­nance is im­por­tant. Giv­en cur­rent trends, it is im­per­a­tive for the T&T sports sec­tor to de­vel­op strate­gies and tac­tics to not on­ly sur­vive but al­so thrive. The high qual­i­ty of sports gov­er­nance in this coun­try will en­sure that the sports sec­tor is re­silient de­spite the many chal­lenges.

Every so­ci­ety faces its own unique is­sues, in­clud­ing vi­o­lence, sex­u­al abuse, sex­ism, eco­nom­ic re­ces­sion, ho­mo­pho­bia, do­mes­tic abuse, bul­ly­ing and cor­rup­tion. These is­sues al­so ap­pear in all ar­eas of sport. Sport is a mir­ror, a mi­cro­cosm, or a re­flec­tion of so­ci­ety. So­ci­etal is­sues man­i­fest them­selves in a sport.

As the gov­er­nance of sport trans­forms from a hi­er­ar­chi­cal struc­ture to a more hor­i­zon­tal in­car­na­tion of stake­hold­er net­works, NSOs that aren't seek­ing to cre­ate their fu­ture now run the grave risk of ir­rel­e­vance.

It's ei­ther your sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion Trans­form or Per­ish.

Ed­i­tor's Note:

Bri­an Lewis is the Pres­i­dent of the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) and the views ex­pressed are not nec­es­sar­i­ly those of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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