Episode 26 – Flexibility Through Change

Your Sports Resource

Flexibility through change is an interesting approach to getting through trials successfully.

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Introduction 00:00:00

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 coaching staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in Youth Sports Leadership. Let’s get started.


Hello everyone and welcome to the Your Sports Resource Podcast.


My name is Renata Porter, founder of Your Sports Resource, and today I’m really excited to talk about a topic that can be a bit tricky for people.


I find the subject of flexibility through change to be interesting. People always say they’re flexible, right? They’re adaptable, willing to change or maneuver to head in the right direction.


However, what I’ve found is that their actions don’t always match up with how they believe they act.


And this includes me too, which I’m really good to navigate change. I feel like I’m really good at navigating change whether it’s big or small. That comes my way, but I’m not so great at pulling the trigger to create change.


If that makes sense, so I guess what I mean by that is that I think being flexible happens in two directions, right? Coming in and going out.


What happens to us so that external change and what we need to make happen, that purposeful change?


I seem to talk about being able to navigate, and change on what happens to us quite often and I’ll touch on that again today too.


But I really want to talk more about how we get out of our own way. How do we take that step to move into change on our own terms?


So, a big benefit of being organized and structured and your operations is the ability to navigate change that happens to you, right?


Now, this can be from how you run the dry side of the organization to how you lead and manage staff on the website.


So, let’s use something as simple as roles and responsibilities, right? Something that swim clubs like to pretend doesn’t exist, right?


I’m being smart, but only slightly so Coaches know they exist, but they don’t, really.


I don’t, I don’t know if it’s that they don’t like them. They just don’t feel like they really hold any purpose from a coaching perspective, right? But stay with me.


During the season, coaches can work a tremendous amount of hours, right? It’s crazy.


They give up a lot of personal time with their families to serve the member’s families and even through all of that, sometimes all families can focus on is how they’ve been, I don’t know, inconvenience in some fashion.


Because they didn’t get timely notification of a practice change or group changes, or even just communications about what’s upcoming. Right.


So, do they have the right to be irritated? Yes, absolutely.


You know, they’re paying good money for their kids to swim.


So, you know, I understand it. Is it an easy fix? Absolutely.


Purposely working through how communications work within the coaches who is responsible for what communication?


The ball is rarely ever dropped because you’ve got a structure, you’ve got a formula there on who’s going to discuss what?


Well, unless you have someone who just doesn’t want to communicate, you know? And then I think that’s more of an accountability issue, not a responsibility issue.


But anyhow my point is that when you have this structure in place when something does come up or you need to pivot or change or be flexible, you have structures that support you.


It’s just like understanding your finances, right?


So, when you have a full grasp of your finances, whether it’s the board or it’s the head coach and a coach-run team when something unexpected arises, you know your current state of play, so you can make a decision on how to navigate that problem.


You know, I like to use COVID as an example.


As you know, a lot of clubs shut down through Covid and I’m sure there are many more reasons for them doing so than just financial.


But for this example, sake, those clubs who really understood their finances.


And now, you know, they can project how many months they had available to them to pay staff without dues coming in meant they were in a far better place to be flexible in their approach to navigate what was happening, right so and those that didn’t understand their finances.


Either went into complete panic mode, which I think kind of everybody had that panic mode, but you know, it’s a different level when you understand what you’re facing versus not understanding what you’re facing.


But either way, you know, they’ll either go, they either went into panic mode or they buried their head in the sand, and either way they’re just really hoping for the best, right?


OK, so I want to move more into how we are flexible with change that is, under our control, so that purposeful change.


But first I want to share something new that I’m offering.


It’s the Swim Coaches Mastermind Group. This is a closed and well-curated group of swim coaches that will come together monthly for six months to learn, grow, be mentors to each other and really work through your goals and what you want to achieve.


We will have guest speakers, but I think what is the most amazing about being part of a mastermind group is that you will learn from the experiences of each other you know through the other coaches in the group.


I’ve run a women mastermind group and it was tremendous. So many learnings in there and I wholeheartedly believe that the same is going to be true for the swim coach’s mastermind.


We start in October and applications will close soon, so find out more on www.yoursportsresource.com and go to the Swim Coaches Mastermind.


OK, so let’s move on. I want to ask you a question.


What is the cost of not being flexible and creating the change you need? This is something that I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. It’s like writing this podcast it Was really a bit cathartic for me, right?


But honestly, I’ve been sitting in a place that I know.


So, I need to move on or I want to move on from the right, but I’ve been afraid to pull the trigger, so to speak, right?


So, I’ve been afraid to pull the trigger on my own change, my own personal, purposeful change. So, as you know, I work with youth sports clubs and universities within the Athletics Department, and I’ve grown quite a bit to where there are some really clear distinctions in my business.


And my services that I offer however to do that and really take off and help more people. I need to hire more people.


I have support staff and project staff, but I don’t have any other consultants that work the way that I work, and I really need to find someone with specific those specific skills in order to move into the place that I want to.


Move into and my issue is funding, right, obviously the person that I hire will allow the company to make money but it’s that whole.


I need money to make money scenario, right?


So, I’ve asked myself, what is the cost of not making the change? And the answer is I can’t do it all.


I can’t provide the service. I want to provide two more clubs and universities if I’m trying to do all the consulting part of the work.


So, if I continue to work in this way, you know, cracks will start to show or I’ll have to continue to turn clubs down, which I don’t want to do.


I believe in the services I provide, right? But you know, I also I’m a little apprehensive about taking, taking on debt.


So, another question that I think would be good for you to ask is what is the cost of being in the same place a year from now?


Now this applies to you know, big change, small change doesn’t really matter, right?


One thing I notice a lot is that with the smaller companies I’ve worked with to, not just in Youth Sports they don’t want to move or don’t want to make the change because you know, this is how we’ve always done it, you know?


That thing to make me more efficient costs money when I can just do it myself. It might take me longer, but you know, this has always worked right.


So, my question to that is always like, have you done the real math, right? So instead of thinking about what, $100 for X program a month and that’s it? Did you actually think through and consider?


You know the amount of time that it takes you to do that process instead of using a tool, right?


What about efficiencies, right? So, if it saves you 4 hours a month, well, it’s not just $100 to your bottom line, right? You actually get to spend your time on something else that needs probably more of your focus.


And is it your time valuable, right, never mind how you know. There’s also that accuracy, there could be efficiencies created that actually free up more time and assets, more money.


So, you can’t just look at things as, oh, this new little app, when I can do it myself, well, you need to release yourself to be better and other areas are to do more in other areas where you have your excellence, right, yeah, let’s.


Look at the head coach that wants to manage over 20 coaches. He or she knows that they’re not going to be able to reach everyone and support them to the level that they should in order for each coach to deliver results in the pool. OK.


And what I mean by that is that you’re not going to be able to be the leader that that person needs in order for them to develop and grow and have confidence in the team and get feedback and provide feedback.


You know all the things that I talk about all the time and those things result in the poll, right?


And a lot of coaches feel like they can just like now, I can manage 20 people. I don’t really need to talk to these guys all the time. They know what to do and that’s, you know, it’s really not effective. It’s not efficient. Right.


So, when I talk to coaches about, you know, you need to invest head coaches. You need to invest in the rest of your coaches like they feel like it’s kind of giving up control by bringing in another layer of manager, so everybody has touchpoints, right?


Or they feel like, well, it’s just not done that way in our industry and even though they know they’re not doing the right thing by all their employees, they cling to it, they hold onto it, OK, it’s.


Easier if I do it right. It’s easier if I hold on to it is it for who? I mean, is it easier for you to try to meet with 20 different coaches plus coach.


You know it might be at first in doing any type of change exercise because as you’re converting into a new change or taking on new responsibilities or new things, sometimes the workload goes up as you’re learning and trying to do things differently.


But you have to look at the end goal, right? You have to look at the angle that things will get easier, right, if I go back to the coaches example


Things will be easier for those coaches cause they know that they’re going to have someone that they can work with closely with, and it’ll translate again in the poll.


The same thing with a converting manual process into an automated process or by using an app, you know those kinds of things Yet there might be a little bit of work up front, but then things get easier through time, OK?


It could also be that you just don’t know how to take the leap or you’re fearful of taking the lead. And that last part is me, right?


I’m very uncomfortable taking out a business plan. I don’t want debt, even though I know what it can do for my business so that’s why I’ve been straddling or even, you know, kind of sitting on the bet so


To speak. So, would have all this is sometimes we tell ourselves things to fit our narratives or our fears even though we know we should be looking at it differently. Right.


Maybe it’s all in how we ask ourselves certain questions, right? So maybe instead of, you know, we need to reframe it. Now what happens if I don’t do this?


What is the cost if I don’t do this. How will my membership be supported?


How will my staff be supported if we don’t move in this direction? OK.


Now one of the other areas that really hangs us up is when it comes to being our own change advocate.


We kind of did go into this weird scenario that everything has to be perfect, right?


It all has to line up specifically and perfectly the way I want to before I make the change, right? It’s the if only is those start to creep in. Well, if when I get here then I can do this. Right.


Yeah, but scumming right, meaning it’s not a perfect scenario, so you have to stay status quo cause I don’t have the perfect solution.


I read a quote the other day that said perfection is a trap, and I kind of giggled at it at first and then I immediately sat back and thought. You know what? That’s probably really true.


Right, we all spent a lot of time. Spinning, waiting for the perfect scenario or the perfect answer.


OK, there are a lot of scenarios where just taking the first steps and moving towards what you want is perfect enough for what you need right now.


So, I guess the question then becomes, am I making excuses? Am I looking for a way out? Am I procrastinating?


Right, I mean change can be a hurdle again. At first, quit looking at your feet and start looking forward, right?


So, does it bring you closer to what you want to what you need or your goal?


If so, who cares if it’s not perfect? I mean that’s the ultimate example of flexibility through change, is it not? All right.


So, there’s one more thing that I would like for you to think about. For some reason, there’s kind of this stigma around it. Changing our minds, and I don’t quite get that right.


So, when do we become a society where we judge people for changing their minds or pivoting? Right now, I’m not talking about those of you who have shiny object syndrome.


Right, so oh look at that It’s new, it’s flashy, and I want it because it’s new and flashy, right? I work with someone who used to joke about how she had shiny object syndrome.


There aren’t good money after bad for quick fixes instead of looking for real solutions. Right, I’m not talking about that but if you realize that the decision you made or the direction that you’re going isn’t quite right pivot, shift right.


Why waste your time and money because you feel like you have to commit to a decision even though you know in your gut it’s wrong, right? Or it’s not working? And who gives a rat’s Pettine what anybody else says? Right.


I saw an article that was titled the Seven Barriers to changing Your mind, and I’ll link that article in the comments or the description of the show so you can go back and read it.


But in the article, the author List 7 things that are the barriers to changing your mind, and I just want to read those real quickly, OK?


So, we don’t like change 1. 2, We don’t like feeling wrong, confused, or insecure.


3, we associate changing one’s mind with being perceived as uncertain, wishy-washy, having a lack of leadership, lack of confidence, eating, and having a weakness of character. What in the heck? Why do we feel that way? It’s crazy. 4, we pretend to live in a straightforward world when we don’t. 5, we get attached to answers like we do our possessions, and that was really interesting, I think.  6, we commit to our answer and we instantly become emotionally biased in favor of it.


Absolutely. And the last one, we like to run on Autopilot, it’s easier, right? So, we don’t like change. So I want to go back to #3 cause that’s specifically what I was talking about.


So, we associate changing one’s mind with being perceived as uncertain, wishy-washy, having a lack of leadership, lack of confidence, and even having a weakness of character.


Now that is a mouthful, so I want to read you what the author wrote for that specific situation to quote.  Have you ever heard you can’t be consistently changing your mind or just pick something, anything, and stick to it?


Chances are you have been told that changing your mind frequently isn’t beneficial to you. It leads to unfinished projects, destroyed trust, and wasted resources. It is also a sign that you don’t know what you want in life.


You’re inconsistent. You can’t deal with the consequences of your actions we like to be liked by others and fitting in is important to us.


Others’ opinions matter, and we don’t want to appear like we have no clue about what we’re doing.


So, in their book the Enigma of Ways and Cognitive scientists Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, hopefully, I pronounce those names correctly, suggest that the human ability to reason is less linked to fax than it is to social standing rationality in humans, they argue. Right.


They evolved to help us win arguments by convincing others and justifying ourselves.


Being able to win arguments more than being factually correct helps people gain status in society and we’re seeing that a lot today.


On the other hand, we like people to change their minds only when it benefits us. It’s seriously interesting.


So maybe this is where we got.


You have to take them along the journey to get them to understand.


I don’t really know, but personally, as someone who makes her living by being of service to others. Trust me when I tell you the only person that can judge you truly is yourself.


If you feel the change is the right thing for you, for your club, and for your members to get you to your vision, then make the change.


Being flexible and all that change will either bring amazing results or create opportunities for growth, which in turn brings amazing results.


Alright, thank you for listening today, and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast.


It really just helps the Your Sports Resource Podcasts gain more listeners.


If you have a topic that you want to hear about or just want to reach out to me, maybe you want to ask more about that Coaches Mastermind, you can write me at info@yoursportsresource.com. Thanks for spending time with me today.