The Coast Guard Blue Dolphins is a level 3 USAS club located in the surrounding areas of Yorktown, Virginia. They have programs from Swim Lessons up to Masters Swimming with a very rich competitive swimming program. In 2020, CGBD and SEVA reached an agreement to merge, creating a club with over 300 swimmers.
Coast Guard Blue Dolphins was almost at a years passing of the merger with SEVA when Renata Porter, LLC was engaged. The club was experiencing normal residual issues that typically occur when combining two operations with differing ideas on leadership. As a result, they felt it was time to re-set themselves as “one” operation and to start looking forward by developing long-term goals to accomplish more successful feats in the coming years.
After a few zoom strategy sessions, Renata Porter, LLC recommended that we come together as a group so we could facilitate open and honest discussions. There was a need to have robust discussions and to put all thoughts and concerns out in the open, where all could speak and all could be heard. The point of these discussions from our perspective as consultants is to model how conversations should take place. Not only that, but it also highlights how to make and live with operational decisions that are best for the outcome of the members that even still, individually, you may not be happy with.
In these sessions, we started with board and leadership training where we discussed their duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience (Read Article). This laid the groundwork for open discussions as they are always centered in provoking the best outcomes for the membership. Then we spent two days creating and developing the outline for their strategic direction for the next few years. We created intents and discussed the following with each goal:
- How it makes an impact or why is it necessary
- How will you measure success
- What is the timeframe for completion
- What resources are needed (time, money, people, things)
- Who owns and or is accountable for the goal
After these sessions, Renata Porter LLC was able to create a robust and documented plan for each goal. These plans included more detail for understanding and direction, benefits and risks, action steps, and recommendations/considerations. The purpose of providing these detailed plans is to ease the burden on the club leaders who must take these plans and put them into action.
Coast Guard Blue Dolphins have been working diligently towards delivering their goals. One of those goals was the organization design and structure for the staff that will deliver the best results for the membership and swimmers. The plan has helped the coaches and staff to feel more aware and connected to their roles and responsibilities at the club. The plan has also assisted with boosting the culture surrounding the community and the club. The other goals are still actively being worked on methodically. As it is with most swim clubs, these are dependent on the board volunteers. Due to that fact it takes time because the organization has to be methodical about their approach and operate within the windows volunteers have available. The positive about these goals being written is that as the club off and onboards new volunteers, there is a structure to follow so these goals won’t get dropped and forgotten.
Coast Guard Blue Dolphins have since been working with confidence in how they are approaching the management of the organization. Understanding that they are now one and no longer approach any effort from a divided “us and them” perspective. This has greatly improved the operational culture and has provided the momentum to move forward.