Episode 4 – Vision and Values

Your Sports Resource

In this episode, Renata discusses the importance of setting your club’s Vision and Values. Most clubs don’t take this exercise seriously, Renata outlines how it can impact the success of your club, help you make decisions more easily, and how it can have an impact on all involved.

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00:00:03 Introduction

This is the Your Sports Resource Podcast, where each week we’ll discuss 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.


Hi everyone! My name is Renata and thank you so much for joining me.


Today’s episode is about your club vision and values and why they are more than just words on paper or should be more than just words on paper.


I believe everyone understands the concept of establishing their vision and values, but for some reason clubs either don’t do them or they do them, but never look at them again.


To my mind, this means they don’t truly understand the importance, nor do they understand how they are their guiding star for success.


Your vision and values determine your direction. They are the principles for which you make decisions, and they set the tone for your club culture. That is, if you use them as your guide stones versus pretty much you know, a picture on the wall.


One of the biggest comments I get when talking to clubs about their vision and values is that they already have a mission statement, and that’s good. But there is a difference between a mission statement and a vision statement.


In my own simple words, a mission statement. Is why you’re here, why does the club exist. A vision statement is where you’re going, what’s the goal, the direction.


A mission statement also doesn’t tend to change. Your organization was established for a reason, and that reason hardly ever needs to be adjusted. Where your vision statement is only meant to last a few years.


Now it says in the name, vision. What’s your vision for the future? It should be something that you need to work towards. It’s motivational, it’s aspirational.


Now your values are your clubs’ fundamental beliefs that drive your decisions. I love this part of the exercise when working with clubs, creating the vision statement is much more difficult than it would seem, and through the developing of the values it’s normal to see the vision statement shift a bit, but the values are fun, it’s really interesting to watch club leadership debate over the right words.


Is it transparency or is it honest? Is growth more important than fun? Is it fun or passion? It’s really an extraordinary exercise that causes club leadership to decide which values will set the stage for success for their athletes, parents, coaches, and volunteers.


From there we go deep into behaviors that bring the vision to life. They are the actions of the values that deliver on the vision.


I go into behaviors and how they relate to values in episode 2, which is titled, Let’s Talk culture. If you haven’t listened to it, you should go back to that. It really explains how to bring them to life and how to walk the walk on the values, but right now I want to get into the importance of establishing your club’s vision and values.


Let’s start with the obvious. Your vision is where you want to be in two to five years. Everyone understands that if you don’t have a goal, then all you’re going to do is exist with the random moments of falling into positive moments.


You know this as an individual, so if you know this as an individual. Then why does your club not have a vision? Or why do they have a vision that’s not been looked at in forever? Again, vision statement, not mission statement.


Your vision needs to be fit for purpose. While aspirational, it also needs to be specific. Where do you want to be as a club? So, if you have an old vision, resurrect it, and make it fit for purpose.


OK, so you have your vision. This means you can do your strategic planning. Again, more words or terminology that you don’t hear with regards to small nonprofits. You have goals, but honestly, if you have a vision then you need a long-range plan on how you will reach this vision, and that’s where the strategic plan comes into play.


A long-range plan is incredibly important as it relates to use sports clubs for one main point in my point of view, outside of the fact that you need a plan to get where you’re going? I mean, that’s given, but your club most likely runs off of volunteers and limited staff, so having a long-range plan allows you to stretch out what needs to happen in milestones of sorts, and it allows you to work towards your initiatives and not feel overwhelmed, overworked and honestly, put you and your people in a negative mindset.


So there’s this famous quote by Desmond Tutu that says there is only one way to eat an elephant, and that’s one bite at a time, so breaking things down into milestones or chunks of work is not only smart and building success towards your vision, but it also protects your culture and the mental state of those in your charge.


And the reason why this is important again is because you are run by volunteers in nature. So, they don’t, they’re not sitting there ready to dedicate 40 hours a week in order to do this work so it’s better to break it down.


OK, let me take a moment to tell you about yoursportsresource.com. This is a website that is dedicated to volunteers and leadership staff and youth sports. There’s a ton of free resources on topics such as board roles like the President, Secretary, Treasurer. There’s also info on fundraising and marketing for your club. You’ll find tools that you could put into play right away and Your Sports Resource also holds monthly interactive webinars that help you focus your efforts and put plans into action. The website, again, is yoursportsresource.com


OK, now let’s talk about how your vision and values provide deep reinforcement of principles and are the pivot point and decisions. Decisions really become easier when you have your values and your vision in place. If your club is facing a difficult decision, it should be balanced against, does this help us get to our vision? By doing this or not doing this, does it go against our values?


I’m finding clubs, especially boards, have a really hard time making difficult decisions. They feel trapped as if they’ll never accomplish what needs to be accomplished or they’re locked into a specific staff member because no one else will come forward.


So, they let fear dictate their decision-making. So, my statement to you know everybody I work with is that. You are here to serve your membership. If you let problems or issues persist, how are you serving your membership?


And for those of you who are doubting me, your club is built on the hard-earned dollars from parents and families who want their kids to play sports and they have chosen your club, chosen. They can go anywhere with their dollars, even if there’s not another team like yours in town, they can switch sports.


So then do your decisions serve your membership as a whole, not one singular person, but as your whole membership. So, if you balance that against your vision and values. It really helps you make decisions easier, and it also helps you work towards achieving that vision and values.


Now there’s always compliance decisions that you really have no choice in, so your sport’s governing body or your state laws. And I can’t imagine that any of these would go against your vision and values. But I’m really not talking about these.


Also, when I said deep reinforcement of principles. I’m talking more about your values when a club as a whole, so your athletes, parents, coaches, other staff, and volunteers live up to your values, then the club operates as a collective when it comes to a high culture standard.


If you have a high standard of culture, so your behaviors. Then everyone is operating at a high professional degree and think about the impact that has on young athletes. Let’s say you take the simple behavior of being on time. Coaches are on time. Athletes are on time, and you make that a focus and you celebrate it when it works, and you correct it when it doesn’t work. You are teaching them to respect each other and value each other time.


That is a really simple example, but one that really explains what I mean. So, if you make it a priority then you are impacting your young athletes. Again, if you want to hear more about behaviors and how they relate to your values and uphold your values, go back to episode 2, Let’s talk about culture.


Establishing your vision and values and doing them to a degree where they have meaning takes time. I’d recommend that you work with somebody like me who can help you drill down to exactly what you mean and who can objectively check your assumptions and thought processes. Again, this is just to ensure your vision is fit for purpose.


If you want to go it alone, check the Your Sports Resource website, as I’ll have a few webinars on how to establish your vision values, and behaviors.


No matter what, don’t avoid doing this exercise. In order to move out of merely existing, you have to know where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there.


Thank you for listening and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast so more can learn about how they can improve their leadership of their Sports Club.


In upcoming episodes, I’ll talk about code of ethics as a board, how to recruit and retain volunteers, and having a board recruitment strategy. You can also find out more on yoursportsresource.com


Thank you for spending time listening today.