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eSports

Exploring eSports opportunities for professional sports teams

The growth of eSports over the last decade has inevitably attracted the interest of professional sports teams that see the industry as a way to expand the reach of their brand,

Europe

Awaiting Change: Exploring the journey towards a European Super League

The establishment of a Super League is a when not an if situation and domestic leagues will need to adapt. As with any major change, it is far better to plan for it than to simply let it happen to you while you’re not paying attention.

Covid-19

The COVID-19 Sports Executives 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.

Talent

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: Stick or Twist – When to move on from talent 

I have spoken in recent weeks of the angst owners and boards go through when trying to identify whether to ‘stick or twist’ on their key people. In our experience across varied ownership-focused advisory projects, the problem is not going away.

Future

Learning from the Pandemic: The Future

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting selected insights from the Sportsology roundtables in article form so that others can learn from the experiences shared by those who participated in the sessions. In this article, we’re looking at the learnings about preparing for a post-pandemic future that emerged from the discussions.

Uncertainty

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: Navigating Uncertainty

As we continue to navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic, a number of sports are also embarking on their offseasons; a period that can bring its own share of uncertainty and change even at the best of times.

Communication

Learning from the Pandemic: Communication

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting selected insights from the Sportsology roundtables in article form so that others can learn from the experiences shared by those who participated in the sessions. In this article, we’re looking at the communication learnings that emerged from the discussions.

Puzzle

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: The Science of Building Management Teams

Through our work across multiple sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, one observation really stands out: team owners are more committed than ever to retaining their very best talent.

People

Learning from the Pandemic: People

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting selected insights from the Sportsology roundtables in article form so that others can learn from the experiences shared by those who participated in the sessions. In this article, we’re looking at the ‘people’ learnings that emerged from the discussions.

Building

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: Communicating Progress During a Franchise Rebuild

In presentations I’ve given on leading and inspiring talent, I often ask the audience a…

Business

Learning from the Pandemic: Business

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting selected insights from the Sportsology roundtables in article form so that others can learn from the experiences shared by those who participated in the sessions. In this article, we’re looking at the business learnings that emerged from the discussions.

Long View

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: Taking The Long View

What matters is the long term view. What’s your organization’s north star? What are your goals and what processes are you following to achieve them? If you can answer those questions, then short term missteps can be mitigated by knowing your overall direction of travel.

Finance

Learning from the Pandemic: Finance

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting selected insights from the Sportsology roundtables in article form so that others can learn from the experiences shared by those who participated in the sessions. In this article, we’re looking at the financial learnings that emerged from the discussions.

What It Takes To Win

What It Takes To Win: Collective Ownership of Success

By ensuring that the DNA of ‘winning’ is subject to collective rather than individual ownership, What It Takes To Win ensures that organizations aren’t reliant on unicorn figures without whom nothing of substance can be achieved.

Narrow Thinking

Avoiding the Dangers of Narrow Thinking

We owe it to ourselves and our organizations to ensure that diverse, even dissonant information is constantly being taken into account and used to challenge received wisdom wherever necessary.

What It Takes To Win

What It Takes To Win: Evaluating the Success of the Model

Once your organization has implemented the What It Takes To Win (WITTW) model, how should it be assessed? Naturally, winning is a good indicator but that can be transient.

Dragonfly Eye

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 It Takes To Win

What It Takes To Win: Principles for Success

These are the principles that can ensure that your organization is fully prepared to maximize the impact of the What It Takes To Win model.

Building Relationships

Relationship Building and the Creation of Successful Team Cultures

The deeper we dig into the cultural practices of teams that have achieved sustained success, the more apparent it becomes that they all prioritize the simple act of making people feel valued.

What It Takes To Win

What It Takes To Win: Identifying Success Factors

What It Takes To Win for team sports is a process aimed at blending evidence and experience, expertise and creativity, and accepting the role of data where it can illuminate the key WITTW factors and standards.

Empathetic Leadership

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: Empathetic Leadership

The modern athlete is more socially aware and empowered than any generation that has gone before, and they want leaders who understand their views, share their concerns, and are supportive of the action they take.

FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona and the Importance of Organizational Agility

FC Barcelona’s plight serves as a useful case study in the importance of agility in negotiating change and avoiding the need for drastic and sudden upheaval.

Diversity and Inclusion

Practical Steps for Driving Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Within Organizations

Once an organization has made a commitment to a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) agenda, there are a number of strategies that can be adopted to build diversity into its cultural structures and decision making processes.

Talent

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: The Portability of Talent

As we enter the offseason for the majority of teams in major leagues such as the NBA, NHL and European soccer, decision makers will be looking for ways to get better talent in the building to make the organization more competitive next season.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Business Case for Diversity

Irrespective of the clear ethical imperative to confront bias against minorities in the hiring process, the business case against discrimination is equally strong.

Sashi Brown

The Future Front Office: Sashi Brown, Monumental Basketball

Sashi Brown is the Chief Planning and Operations Officer for Monumental Basketball.

Silent Owner

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: The Silent Owner

In the age of ‘decision accountability’, front office leaders would be wise to be strategic in their approach to educating, affirming and encouraging their owners around the monitoring and measurement of their actions and decisions.

Incongruence

The Power of Incongruence

If our organizations are to become highly effective in terms of innovation and problem solving, then we need to ensure that our cultures are dynamic enough to balance accepted practice with divergent thought.

Addie Brady

Sportsology Research Academy: Supporting the Addie Brady Foundation

To raise funds for the Addie Brady Foundation, we are working on a new book about organizational culture in sport, the proceeds from which will be given to the charity.

Cognitive

The Performance Benefits of Cognitive Diversity

Research shows that there is a significant correlation between high cognitive diversity and outperformance. This doesn’t invalidate the value of age, gender and racial diversity, but it does elevate cognitive diversity to an equal level.

Leading

Mike Forde’s Fire Yourself Friday: Leading For The First Time

As franchises look at hiring freezes and potential 15-30% cuts in headcount as a result of the pandemic, the question becomes: who can step up internally to fill the void?

Risk

What We Talk About When We Talk About Risk

In an environment shaped by unpredictability and questions without clear answers, it can be difficult for organizations to properly evaluate risk and differentiate between opportunity and threat. Without previous experience of a crisis of this nature, finding useful waypoints or historical comparisons to help with its navigation can be extremely difficult. 

Diversity

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. 

Diversity

Research Paper: The Ethical and Performance Imperatives of Diversity for Front Offices

Quite correctly, the protest movement around systemic inequality focuses on the ethical dimensions of such ingrained bias. However, there is also a strong business case in favor of fighting discrimination within our institutions and organizations.

People-Focused Leader

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.

As the NBA and MLS play out their 2020 seasons in the Florida ‘bubble’, teams are busy trying to figure out how they overcome the challenges posed by such an alien environment

Embracing the Difference: Advice for Life in the Bubble

As the NBA and MLS play out their 2020 seasons in the Florida ‘bubble’, teams are busy trying to figure out how they overcome the challenges posed by such an alien environment

Team Unicorn

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.

Our Executive Search team has been analyzing average tenure and time to hire data for general manager/president and head coach roles across the five major leagues (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL) since 2015.

Sportsology Search: Analyzing the Latest Human Capital Trends in Pro Sports

Our Executive Search team has been analyzing average tenure and time to hire data for general manager/president and head coach roles across the five major leagues (MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL) since 2015.

Challenge Ideas

Lobanovskyi, Zelentsov, and the Importance of the Exchange of Ideas to Effective Leadership

The idea that ‘Unicorn’ leaders are able to lead effectively without the support of an effective team and strong processes is an illusion. There are many extremely talented leaders in the sports industry, but their skills are amplified by the skills of those around them.

Leader

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

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.

Unicorn Leader

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.

Unicorn Leader

Research Paper: The Dangerous Myth of the Unicorn Leader

As with the mythical beast, a Unicorn leader is considered to be so rare and to possess such magical powers that it becomes an iconic entity to be pursued at any cost. And therein lies the problem – at any cost. Magical leaders come at a price both financially and organizationally.

NASA Restructuring

Restructuring After a Crisis: Learning From NASA

As we all adjust to the current global crisis, it can be useful to learn how organizations throughout history have adapted to major organizational trauma.

Empathy

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.

Kill The Company

Kill the Company: The importance of external perspectives in restructuring

For many organizations, the only way to ensure survival in a sporting landscape shaped by the pandemic is to adapt. Those adaptations can only be brought about when the challenges of the moment are confronted with openness, honesty and realism.

Systems Analysis

The Power of Systems Analysis in Organizational Restructuring

Thorough systems analysis can help sports organizations to avoid long-term damage as they respond to the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Team Culture

How to Build Team Culture Despite the Challenges of Remote Working

During our conversations with sports industry leaders during the pandemic, we’ve heard that building – or even just maintaining – team culture has been one of the major challenges faced by teams who are adapting to a new pattern of remote work.

Viable System Theory

The Viable System Model: A blueprint for organizational change

Across the globe, professional sports organizations are beginning to recognize that restructuring in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will be a necessity. Although that process will require a lot of difficult decisions to be made, it is an opportunity to rethink organizational structures and build leaner, more efficient models for a new reality.

Functional Analysis

Research Paper: Back to the Future – How About a Beer?

The current pandemic provides an opportunity for a forensic application of a functional analysis to the entire organizational structure. To do so, it’s worth taking a look back in order to look forward more effectively.

Communication

Lessons in Crisis Communications from Senior Sports Executives

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, senior leaders in the sports industry have been attending Sportsology’s roundtable discussions to speak about their experiences of managing organizations through the pandemic, with communication being a frequent topic of conversation.

Transgenerational Response

Transgenerational Response: Breaking the Chain of Organizational Trauma

Scenario planning may not seem like an obvious priority for organizations that are facing a daily fight for survival, but new research in the area is demonstrating how the process can play an important role in recovery from such trauma.

Scaling the Mountain

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.

Fixed Mindset

Unforeseen Danger: The perils of a fixed mindset in scenario planning

Organizations that accept their own vulnerability, learn lessons from the past, and prepare for the uncertainty of the future will generate a competitive advantage for themselves when the next crisis hits.

Returning to Competition

Returning to Competition: Balancing short-Term Necessity with Long-Term Vision

In the context of returning to competition following the coronavirus lockdown, addressing the present and the future simultaneously should give front offices the confidence to change tactics in the short- and medium-term while understanding how those actions will recalibrate the vision.

Scenario Planning

The Importance of Diverse Perspectives in Scenario Planning

If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that the future is notoriously difficult to predict. As the medical, financial and competitive impacts of the crisis grip the sports industry, organizations are looking for ways to insulate themselves from further turbulence in the months and years ahead.

Covid-19

Research Paper: Scenario Planning in the Age of Covid-19

The current pandemic has seen a resurgence of interest in scenario planning as organizations struggle with an unpredictable future and seek ways to manage the present and prepare for the unknown.