Hiring a Consultant is a big decision, but one that can move an organization forward by leaps and bounds. In this episode, Renata discusses how hiring a consultant can help your sports club, but also what you should be looking for in that relationship.
This is the Your Sports Resource Podcast, where each week you’ll learn actionable strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club, support your staff, and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership. Let’s get started.
Hello everyone, Renata here and thank you for joining me today on the Your Sports Resource podcast. I thought I would do a bit of a pivot and talk about why you should consider hiring a consultant.
This is a really big decision and one that should be entered into with both your eyes wide open and your courage mustered. Now, why would I say that?
First, consultants don’t always have the best reputation. I know, it’s probably something I shouldn’t say, but honestly, just like in any field, you have great people, and you have people who either won’t suit your needs doesn’t mean that they’re a bad consultant. It just doesn’t mean that they match your needs, or their work is, you know, really too high level to actually affect any change for your organization.
And what I have found with youth sports is that these clubs actually need the, I don’t want to say low level, but the point of consultation to where it’s more in the action and the doing in order to affect change versus that really high level because nine times out of 10, the work that we are helping people with, yes about, I would say about 50% of it is common sense and things that a lot of people do know how to do, and 50% of it is actually proven and earned and learned advice, but on the 50% of things that are common sense, well if people wanted to do it or had the time to do it then they would, so that’s why I say that you kind of need to have a consultant that works in the level of change.
Now, finding that right consultant means that you must understand where you need help. Often, when I talk to new clients, problems abound, so we end up sorting through the problems to get to the bottom of what the root cause actually is.
So, you may think the problem is, whatever the problem is A, but your real problem is actually Y, and maybe I should give an example. So, let’s say the communication between coaches is off. Some coaches feel left out and other coaches are getting that preferential treatment when it’s really not that case at all, right?
So, I’ll get asked, can you work with my head coach and help them communicate better. When often I start digging. And yeah, there’s a communication problem, but it’s more than likely that your head coach has a mountain of responsibilities where in any other normal organization wouldn’t be the case. The workload would be spread out so just as a simple example, a head coach may be responsible for 20 other coaches. Well, what manager do you know in any business that’s really, truly working on all cylinders when they have that many people to manage, right?
So really the problem is not communication, the structure or the lines of communication is actually the problem. OK, the head coach is overwhelmed by the amount of people that they’re responsible for.
The second part of finding the right consultant is that you must find someone who meets your style, your values, your work ethic. In my experience, clubs really don’t have the time to fluff and flutter about. They need to solve problems and move on, so you must find someone who is in that proactive and active state ready to get their hands dirty. Kind of what I alluded to earlier.
Now I’m going to come back to finding the right consultant for your organization in a minute, but I want to move on to you know why you need to find that consultant.
If you consider that most youth sports clubs are hanging on season to season, just like many startups or small businesses in this country. Yes, there are a few that are run like a large business, but many are doing the best they can while they’re serving their membership or their athletes from season to season.
So, you have either a coach-run team where he or she is trying to manage all of the operations themselves, as well as all the coaching. Or you have a parent-board-run team that is or has pretty consistent turnover. And it’s most likely that you have a mix of parents who actually have the right skills and those who don’t but have the capacity and the time and the compassion to actually be a volunteer, right?
A consultant can help you get structured and become efficient and effective. Quite honestly, the bulk of my work is focused in that area. One side is racing toward the trophy and the other side you know the wheels are falling off. So, a consultant should be able to help you ensure you have the right people in the right seats. Ensure that the roles and responsibilities are right.
A consultant can write or help you write procedures and plans, and policies and they can recommend areas for efficiencies. Whether it’s an application or a change, in application I mean an IT Tool. Or a change in process or combining of roles and responsibilities. You know, maybe you have certain roles that aren’t suited any longer so sometimes having someone on the outside looking in, they can go, well I don’t really think this person is running at full capacity, but you have this big gap of work over here that’s not being accomplished why don’t we look at combining those roles.
And a good consultant will walk with you while you’re trying to implement this change, meaning they will help you devise your communications so there is buy in and they will be by your side supporting you and helping you to correct the pitfalls as they arise.
A consultant can also help you navigate difficult conversations and help when you have groups or subgroups who are struggling to work with one another, we can call out or maybe I can call out the BS and put the ugly on the table, right?
And I can do that because I’m not emotionally involved and trying to protect a personal interest. We can also see things that most of you can because you’re too close to the situation, right?
It’s human nature to get hyper-focused on one thing when the problem is really a different situation, like the example I gave earlier. Also, the more clients we work with, the more success stories we can share. That means not that I’m going to be tooting my own horn or the consultants going to be tooting their own horn.
That means in a lot of areas I’ve got expertise and knowledge to share, so we’re not reinventing the wheel. We know it works, and we just need to adjust it a bit, so it is fit for purpose for your organization. So, you gain the benefits not only from the consultant’s knowledge but also their experience.
If you or your leadership team or your board struggle with accountability, a consultant also can help you stay on track. Follow the plan and not fall back into old habits that you already know don’t work, but it just seems easier to fall back, right?
A good consultant will really ensure that they hold you accountable instead of telling you what to do and just kind of walking away. My clients have unlimited access to me for a full year after we worked together, and I actually have a couple clients that it’s past a year just because I want to see them be successful.
But I will only chase so much, so I will check in and I’ll check-in. This is that accountability thing, right? And you know, I’ll write you, and you know what? If you write me or call me, I’m there. But if I’m constantly checking in and chasing you and there’s silence on the other end your end. Then, you will usually get an email from me that says OK, I get the message loud and clear. I’m here if you need me and I’m just going to let this sit for a while, which usually garners an email immediately when I tell them like, alright guys, I’m tired of chasing you. I’m going to put you on the shelf unless you need me. It’s weird, human nature is kind of strange.
But I think, having that accountability with a consultant really, really keeps clubs on track. Now, in the end, I can’t really force people to do the work that they need to do, so we’re not always 100% successful there, but the effort on my end is always the intent to help implement and walk side by side with the clients that I have.
So, here’s the thing that clubs don’t typically want to hear. Yes, a consultant is your ally. They will build plans to the nth degree and stand next to you while you implement. But you must be the ones who implement, and this is where when I said earlier, you have to muster courage. This is where the courage comes into play. We can’t do the work for you.
So, a few years ago there was something on I’m sure some social media platform where the word “askhole” came up and that is still a term that I use a lot, right? So, don’t ask me for help and spend hard-earned money on bringing me in and me working on a plan and me helping you develop something and then do nothing about it, those are “askhole” in my in but.
But me personally, I love being a problem solver. I’m blessed that in my life right now, serving is much higher in my personal goals and earnings, and believe me, it’s reflective in my earnings. Probably shouldn’t be broadcasting that message, but my point is that even as much as I’m a partner with my clients and I walk with them day-to-day, and they have full access to me as much as they need me. I cannot do the work for them. Not all of it. There’s a lot I can do. There’s a lot of planning and writing, and things that I can do. But ultimately, the implementation must come from the club.
So, the first step is recognizing that you need help, but the real work starts after we’ve had our sessions, and we’ve built the best plan that we can visualize and contextualize today, and honestly, if you’re not committed to it that plan is just words on paper, right?
It’s all exciting and new, but the rubber really meets the road when you are committed and follow-through, no matter how tough it gets, and that’s where it is. It gets tough, right?
Because there’s always benefits on the other end, everybody understands that there’s always benefits on the other end, and I try to set expectations as best I can. Because it tends to be a bit of an uphill slog, it feels like an uphill slog when you’re trying to affect change, but if you commit to it and you push through it, there’s so much relief on the other end, right?
All right, I want to stop for a minute, and I want to take a moment to tell you about my consulting services. I’m a pretty straightforward individual who loves to see clubs be successful. If you’re looking for a consultant, go to www.yoursportsresource.com and book a call with me. It’s free and there’s no obligation, and I’m not going to pull out the rather lengthy sales pitch if I can help you. I will say I can. If I can’t, I will tell you that too. Again, that’s www.yoursportsresource.com, and go into the consulting tab to book a call with me.
All right, lastly, your consultant should really be a partner in your success, and I feel a lot of clubs could really use someone in their corner, and that’s usually where I get the most gratitude and the thanks, and the relief is that they have someone to be able to go.
I feel like this is the right direction, but I don’t have the experience there. What are other clubs doing, right? and they have someone in their corner that can really help solidify their thought process and help cheer them on, right? Really be a partner in their success.
So, when I open today’s podcast, I said you need to find someone who meets your style and work ethic and you need someone who will give you what you need, which is not the same thing as giving you what you want to hear, right?
I also said you needed to find someone who’s not going to deliver items at too high of a level, and what I mean by that is. Let’s say you use that example where you need it to change your structure right? High level would be. Yeah, yeah, yeah, just change your reporting and have a layer where others report into new managers to ease the burden of the head coach. That’s high level, right?
And that’s where some consultants will toss that over the fence and say see you later, right? And that might work depending on the type of club you might have a board, or you might have operational staff that can actually take that guidance and say, OK, that’s what we’ll do, right?
But it’s a little bit more than actually putting a chart on paper, right? You have to have the critical thinking to actually get there and understand how it’s all going to work, and that’s where a really good consultant comes into play.
So, it’s about who is responsible for what, and how each person will work off of each other, commit to each other, state of their responsibilities and respect each other’s boundaries but also held themselves in each other accountable, right? It’s actually a work ethic to ensure that the communication if that’s the output of the problem, is going to be resolved, right?
So just there you can see that a high-level viewer of a recommendation doesn’t really provide value to the customer, so me as a consultant or any other consultant that’s worth their salt will dig into what the real end goal should be. We understand that the structure should be changed, but why and how it’s actually going to work.
Again, a consultant should be a partner in your success, and I don’t use the word partner lightly. They can help you reach heights and solve problems that you most likely would have not have been able to do in your own, or at least not in a reasonable timeframe, right?
Remember, they are there to ease the burden and the pain, solve problems and help you through the change. If you’re overworked and struggling to make headway dealing with issues that you just can’t seem to resolve. Start looking for a consultant that can help.
Thank you for listening today. I hope that helped you as far as why clubs should be looking for a consultant and what you should be looking for.
And remember, you can always find more resources on www.yoursportsresource.com and if you need a consultant and you would like to talk to me, you can also find more information about me there as well alright?
Thanks for spending time with me today!