Great Governance – Building great clubs

Great Governance – Building great clubs

It’s very easy at club level to focus on rider development, track development, competitions, and solvency/funding issues, because these are the day to day management needs of the club.

This Spring, the Hutt Valley Thunderbolts were invited to send four Committee members on a Sport Wellington programme focusing on governance – and not just governance, but great governance.

Truthfully, this may not be as ‘sexy’ as building a new track, upgrading club facilities, or being able to provide financial assistance to excellent riders. But just occasionally, as clubs, as parents, as volunteers, as committees we need to step back and undertake a ‘panoramic’ view of The club. The Great Governance workshops gave us this opportunity. Over four sessions, each two and a half hours, we had the opportunity to think about, review, and try some new ways of working.

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Does your club have a purpose statement, a vision statement, and a values statement? No, neither did we on week one. We have one now though, and it is used.
Currently, this appears at the top of every agenda and minutes produced for our Committee meetings. Siting underneath this trio of statements is a set of strategic goals. It’s neatly packaged on a page.

It’s been circulated to club members, and was formally adopted at the December Committee meeting. We explored whether we were/are a management team, or a leadership team, what’s the difference, and why is the distinction necessary. As
a result, we try to divide our Committee meetings taking strategic issues first, and management issues second. We’ve moved to trying to keep Committee meetings to no more than one and a half hours in length. We’re not there yet, but we’re only running 30 minutes overtime. The agenda and papers are circulated seven days in advance, and minutes issued 48 hours after the meeting (well, that’s the goal). We’re working on giving every member on the Committee a role, which
in turn gives them a purpose and reason to remain Committee members.

We’ve got a volunteer plan in place covering what do we need volunteers to do, how can we recruit volunteers, develop them and keep them. Equally, we have an acceptance that we need to refresh our Committee regularly. And that walking away from the Committee after serving three consecutive years is not a sign of failure, or burn-out, but is necessary to keep the club and volunteers healthy. We have an operations plan, that combines, the who, what, why, how and when into manageable chunks. So are we great governors? Truthfully, we’re not bad – and we weren’t mis-managing the club. But, we’ve a number of Committee members who’ve hit the metaphorical wall, and deserve to have a well-earned and overdue break.

After four workshops (ten hours, plus a few hours of homework), what I can say is we are well on the way to be being Great Governors.

Our Purpose: To provide a fun, safe, family friendly cycling Environment and to strengthen the sport of BMX in our community

Our Vision: More people passionate about the sport of BMX

Our Values: Positive environment, Enjoyment, Development, Active membership, Learning and leading

Governance moving forward

We’ve got a series of reference points that are showing the areas where we’re doing well, the areas where there’s room for growth, and most importantly we have a plan.

We know what we need to do, what we need to find, and actually we have the confidence to put the plan into action. We are much more strategic as a group, we’re beginning to ask the right sort of questions, including does this need to be done immediately?

In the short-term, if there are any clubs out there that have one page role descriptions – especially for the jobs needed to run club days (i.e.registration role, call-up, start gate, marshalls, finish line), we’d love to hear from you. In return, we can share volunteers’ plans, operational plans, strategic directions, and how to develop value mnemonics.

Most of all at each session, we’re reminded and invited to have
fun, to give positive feedback to volunteers (including each other), and remember that thank you goes quite a long way.

So here’s the fun bit: our club mnemonic is PEDAL. Our President was really keen on THUNDERSTRUCK, which got discounted for being too long. HVTBMX didn’t work after I came up with Hurt Veins, Terrible Bruising, Must (have) X-ray.

I stand by this as it is a fair reflection of the injuries that our riders sometimes experience. But most importantly of all Together Everyone Achieves More = TEAM.

A huge thanks to the four volunteers:
Jade Badcock (Secretary), Mike McGovern (ICT advisor*), Mark Lillico (Vice-President), and Bob Burt (President), who are now putting their learning into practice, and to Sport Wellington and Upper Hutt Council’s Activation Team.

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