News & Experiments

The COVID-19 Sports Executive Response Survey: The Results

Following the successful completion of several major leagues and other global sporting events in COVID-secure conditions, we decided to gauge the opinions of sports leaders as to how the pandemic has changed their organizations – and their own attitudes to the sports industry – in recent months.

Dragonfly-Eyed Decision Making

If intelligence isn’t the main reason why people are good at forecasting and decision making, how do ‘superforecasters’ set themselves apart from the rest? The answer – or at least part of it – is their ability to be ‘dragonfly-eyed’ in their thinking.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Risk

The key is first mapping out the scenarios that may pose a serious threat to the viability of the organization. Once that work is done, we will have created a safety net that affords us more freedom to explore the opportunities presented by an industry navigating change on an unprecedented scale.

Understanding the Value of Diversity

As the Black Lives Matter movement gathers global momentum, so too does the debate around the general lack of diversity in senior decision making roles throughout the economy and in the front offices of sports organizations. 

Introducing Culture DNA: A New Way to Measure Engagement

By helping to shape organizational change, we’ve witnessed first hand the importance of people, culture and engagement in driving those initiatives. That’s why we’re launching a new product to help our clients proactively monitor and respond to their organizational health.

Introducing Culture DNA: a new way to measure engagement.

The People-Focused Leader

One of the dangers of the Unicorn leader myth – particularly pervasive in sport – is that it prioritizes the cult of the individual over the wellbeing of the people being led. In doing so, it sidelines the importance of collaboration, communication and empathy to constructive leadership.

Team Unicorn

In a 2017 interview with The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, ghSMART management consultant Elena Lytkina Botelho pronounced the death of the Unicorn leader.

The Making of a Leader: Building Your Staff Team

In the final of three extracts we’re publishing from his new book, The Making of a Leader, Tom Young looks at how sports leaders can delicately balance the introduction of hand-picked backroom team with the legacy staff who are already in place

What Followers Want From Leaders

As we’ve discussed previously, the great leaders we might label as ‘Unicorns’ don’t operate in splendid isolation. Rather than being an omniscient force, they are often guided by a highly competent support team and benefit from effective organizational processes.

Fermi Thinking: Creating a framework for navigating uncertainty

As leaders in the sports industry, we’ve all been dealing with uncertainty in recent months as we navigate a range of unknowns related to the coronavirus pandemic. When faced with unprecedented scenarios for which we are relatively unprepared, a lack of prior experience and available reference points can make it difficult to understand potential risks and outcomes.

Challenging the Myth of the Unicorn Leader

In a 2013 TechCrunch article, the venture capital investor Aileen Lee used the term ‘Unicorn’ to describe the rarity of privately held startups with valuations of over $1 billion. Since then the term has been adopted to describe anything that proves to be rare and magical across a broad range of disciplines.

The Making of a Leader: Assessing Culture

In the second of three extracts we’re publishing from his new book, The Making of a Leader, Tom Young looks at how sports leaders assess and create culture while remaining mindful of the history of their organizations.

The Role of Empathy in the Return of Sports

As elite sports prepare to make a return, they do so not only against the backdrop of a global pandemic but also unprecedented social unrest. Despite the huge amount of planning that has gone into the safe return of competition, these exceptional circumstances have seen a number of athletes express understandable concerns over returning to play on medical and/or social grounds.

The Making of a Leader: Big-Picture Thinking

The concepts of legacy and purpose are important and admirable pursuits, but all of the leaders I interviewed were acutely aware of the need to balance the big picture with a more immediate focus on the unavoidable requirement of elite sport: achieving results.

How to Build Team Culture Despite the Challenges of Remote Working

The coronavirus pandemic has necessitated rapid behavioral and technological change on a previously unimaginable scale. From schools and retailers, to manufacturers and our very own sports organizations, the crisis has caused entire industries to reimagine themselves in a matter of weeks simply to survive in a predominantly digital environment

Scaling the Mountain: Confronting the pressures faced by new front office leaders

For many, securing a senior front office job with a sports organization is the result of decades of hard work and the realization of a long-held dream. However, it’s not uncommon for the pressures of the job to prove a significant challenge to those who take on such roles without a clear game plan for managing the intense scrutiny and expectation.