The most successful club Presidents get us talking
We spend a lot of time watching, listening to and talking to successful club presidents. We spend a lot of time trying to uncover their secrets, so we can share them to ease the burden of all club presidents. Club Presidents all have something in common. They are passionate, work incredibly hard, they contribute many hours of their time selflessly and they generally have the best interest of the club at heart all the time.
So, what makes some people successful club Presidents, while others with many of the same attributes struggle in the role?
Understanding the concept of leadership
Much of the secret is in the definition of leadership adopted by Sports Community, developed by American leadership guru Kevin Kruse, which is:
“Leadership is the process of social influence, that maximises the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal.”
Take a minute to think about this definition of leadership. For most clubs, this is the exact opposite of the way their club operates. In most clubs, the committee does most of the work.
Good club presidents are constantly talking to us
As we started to identify a series of behavioural characteristics of successful club presidents we realised that good Presidents were continually talking and engaging their club stakeholders. They were constantly talking with coaches, members, players and athletes, supporters, parents, committee members, volunteers. Successful club presidents are constantly seeking to engage people, for many reasons, but ultimately so they can encourage and influence as many people as possible to work collectively towards the achievement of club goals.
It is not as easy as it sounds to be constantly talking to people
Presidents, especially new presidents, have an overwhelming urge to come into the role and do something! To make a difference straight away! To be seen by the club members and supporters as being the right person for the job.
New presidents get to work! The problem is when a person is doing the work they are not talking to people, they are not engaging them, and they are not “maximizing the efforts of towards the achievement of a goal”. This also often leads Presidents to become great workers and not leaders.
Successful club Presidents get us talking
While good club Presidents will be constantly engaging people, successful club Presidents have the ability to get us talking. They get us talking to our friends, our family and our work colleagues continually about our club. Successful club presidents have a very clear understanding of what needs to be done or achieved. They know how the greater club community can contribute to these tasks or goals.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say that a club has a mid-season black tie ball where they want/need to sell 100 tickets. Often, clubs will appoint a person or a subcommittee to arrange the event and coordinate the ticket sales. From a ticket sales perspective the posters will be created, Facebook posts scheduled and tickets will go on sale. In these circumstances, tickets are usually only sold to those close to or actively participating in regular club activities.
All club Presidents will communicate to the club members and supporters about the importance of everybody attending the club’s major fundraising event for the year. Successful club Presidents go a lot further than this. They use their “social influence to maximise the efforts of others towards the achievement of the goal”. In this case, the goal is to sell 100 tickets. Not only do they encourage as many players and members as possible to come to the ball, but they are influencing these same people to go into their networks to promote the event and sell tickets. They are creating an army of ticket sellers, passionately promoting the event.
Word of mouth is the most powerful form of social influence
Successful club presidents understand that word of mouth is the most powerful form of communication. They also understand that if they can get the majority of their members and supporters proactively talking about the event and inviting their friends then this is going to make it so much easier to sell the tickets.
If a person has decided to sell a couple of tickets to the event on behalf of the club, they will subconsciously select the people most likely to say yes from their network. They will make a personal invitation to the people they have subconsciously selected. In the old days, this invitation was either face to face or via the telephone. Today it could be via any number of online messaging platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Team APP. Regardless, everybody loves a personal invitation and most find it very difficult to decline.
The most powerful part of personal invitations is that when the invitee offers a barrier or reason for not coming they can discuss and easily overcome. One of the most common reasons for people initially not wanting to attend a club event is “I won’t know anybody”. This fear can be overcome by the inviting member listing the people they will know or promising to introduce them to a whole range of new people. Whatever the response, it can usually be pretty easy to fix.
Maximise the efforts of others
Successful club Presidents have a great ability to convince their club members, supporters and players to continually go into their networks and invite people to participate in club activities or club goals. Imagine if each player or athlete in your club undertook the following each year:
- Introduced a $100 sponsor to the club
- Brought a friend to the club registration day
- Sold four social memberships to their best friends
- Brought 4 people to the mid-season ball
- Sold a book of raffle tickets
- Brought one volunteer to the club
- Work in the canteen once a year
It is so much easier to run clubs when every player/athlete makes these small but collectively massive contributions to their club.
Successful club Presidents understand the power of creating a culture of volunteering. They understand how players, members and supports can contribute to club goals. Most amazingly, they understand how to get us talking about our club in a way that contributes to the achievement of club goals.
Successful club presidents just seem to able to get us talking!