Episode 54 – The Importance of Board Reports

Your Sports Resource

In today’s episode, Let’s dive into a critical topic: board reports and the pivotal conversation with head coaches. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of this essential aspect of sports management.

Whether you’re a seasoned coach or a board member, this episode is something worth listening to. Tune in now to gain a deeper understanding of how board reports can play a significant part in your role.

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00:00:03 – Introduction

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 thank you for joining me today. My name is Renata. And welcome to the Your Sports Resource podcast. Today I’m going to talk about board reports and most importantly, I’m going to talk to the head coaches and your board reports.


One of the biggest discords with clubs is the disconnect between the board and the staff. Often this can be solved by being proactive in your communication efforts in both directions. And by that I mean the board has to be as proactive as the head coach in their communications.


Often the reasons I hear for not being proactive by coaches is that it takes time or they don’t need to know. Meaning the board doesn’t need to know or it’s just a pain in the butt. 


But all of us, everyone, instinctively understand that it’s much easier to defend problems, engage in change, or have a strong understanding if the information comes ahead of the need for action. 


The easiest example that I can give is probably one you have heard me say before. It’s very hard for a board or a board member to defend your position or decision if they are hearing it for the first time through the emotional interpretation of a parent.


If you proactively explain a change to the board and then tell them, hey, there’s going to be parents who push back, I would love your help in explaining the reasons why I’m headed this way. Things will work out a little bit better. I know you get it. It will reap better outcomes.


If we know that though, why don’t we do it? Yes, it takes time upfront, but it’s a heck of a lot better than chasing emotions and conversations after the fact and a lot less time will be wasted. 


So, one of the best places to start in creating a good relationship with your board or communications with your board is through your board report.


And that means creating something that’s valuable. So what do I mean by valuable? I mean something that’s clear, direct, no fluff, nothing fluffy, right? And provides enough information for them to understand the staff’s impact on the business. This removes assumptions about how things are going.


Okay, so let’s talk about the why of spending time crafting your board report before I offer my suggestions on what should go into that report. The biggest reason to my mind, outside of getting the board to understand you and what you do through proactive communication is self accountability.


You are showing them that you pay attention to your programs, your metrics staff, and building an operationally strong business. This again removes those assumptions that something isn’t being done or that you don’t hold yourself accountable.


Next, a clear and valuable report often allows the board an understanding if your program is financially sound, or that you actually do think through your decisions from a financial position. And honestly, it’s all your resources, not just money.


So it’s how you use people in their time. How do you use tools and technology? Are you wise with your people in their time? Do you use the tools and technology effectively?


And then to that point, they have a clear view of your decision-making process? And then it’s key for a strong relationship between the board and the head coach to have that clear view. This goes back to my communication example.


If you start talking about something at conception, then they are engaged and bought into the entirety of your decision. It also allows them to have thought through or weighed out the risks just like you have.


So all of this is to say that it’s not just paperwork or a pain in the butt. It’s about progress, growth, and proper communication so you can work together from both sides of the house, wet and dry, instead of opposing each other. 


Okay, real quick, before we talk about what should go into the report, I want to tell you about our new COLT Program. This is the Club Operations Leadership Training Program. 


It’s a twelve-month program of one-on-one support. You and advisor where you work through monthly learning modules, but together you take those modules and you apply them to your club, right?


All swim clubs and university programs are not created equal. So the application of principles is going to be different. And we work with you through that process so you can be successful. You can find out more at www.yoursportsresource.com.


Just look under the Colt Program tab at the top. Or you could book a short call with us and ask questions just to see if that Colt program is a good fit for you. Okay. What should go into the report?


I believe it has to be personal for you, but there are certain items that you should report on repeatedly and regularly, or consistently month after month. Okay. The first item is probably something you already do, and that’s your program update.


There’s several ways you can approach this. You can break it into competitive swimming, swim lessons, lifeguard training, water polo, whatever the programs are that you have. And the competitive swimming, you may break that down into developmental age group and then senior.


Now, the board probably gets your weekly parent emails, so you don’t need to get into a lot of different details. But what you should point out are the highlights. What is working well and where are the areas that you’re focusing on right now?


You could also ask or front load things that you’re considering, changing important points that they should know and be able to ask further questions about so they can help defend or support your efforts. When complaints come up or questions come up.


Now, next would be a facilities update. Whether you own your pool or pools or rent seven pools, you should offer any relevant updates or concerns about facilities. These can affect your budget or practices. For example, if your locker rooms are a problem, you should be able to state that it is a problem.


And if you need help, you should be able to request that assistance from the board if that’s what you need. Your relationship should be next. Any updates on how things are going with the Y, the highest school, the city, the county vendors, any other relationships you have.


Give an update so they understand who you’ve been working with and who you’ve been talking to. And again, if there’s areas that they need the help that they can step in. Then there’s the staff, who’s leaving, who’s taking a holiday, who is new, or any updates regarding staff that you want the board to be aware of.


Now, my only caveat here is exposing HR or sensitive personnel issues. You may want to follow your own protocol on what you expose depending on who that report goes to. So, if your report goes to a wider audience, don’t break privacy laws, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. 


Make sure the items that need to be discussed in a closed session are done appropriately, but for the sake of the board report, again, this is just to keep them abreast of the staff happenings. Next is metrics. I would highly recommend you include membership numbers.


You can do that overall or by groups, or you can compare this to this time last year or previous month, however, you feel you want to show your metrics that should be listed. I know some coaches who are going through rough patches and are afraid to show their numbers.


Remember when I said the board will make assumptions, they’ll fill the gaps if you don’t tell them? So, you need to use these numbers as a catalyst for conversation. You know, something like, yes, I’ve made drastic changes and there will be an initial loss, but we’ve accounted for that, and we expect those numbers to turn back around by May. Okay.


Or it might be a scenario that you have no clue what’s going on, and maybe you need to ask for help from the board or through a survey or exit interviews from your parents. Either way, don’t be afraid of metrics. It’s knowledge.


And even when the metrics are bad, you can make better-informed decisions when you have a clear picture. Next should be concerns and support that is needed.


I think it’s important to express where you need help, whether you have a plan and just need them to support that, or if you need them to fully take something on to completion. You should be able to explain what you need and ask for it. They are there to ensure they being the board.


They’re there to ensure that the overall operational success of the business honestly, the board is actually on the hook legally for the operational success of the business. So when you need help, you should tell them you need it, how you need it, and when you need it by.


And lastly, I would include a little chart on the actions that were assigned to you from the previous month. What is the status of those actions? Again, this shows them that you keep yourself accountable. We don’t want anyone making assumptions and filling the void.


Also, don’t be afraid to say that you didn’t get to something right. A well-crafted, honest, but well-crafted board report will show everything you have had on deck for the last 30 days. Right? We are all human and there is only so many hours in a day.


If it’s a priority, you will get it done. If it’s not, then you need to say that it’s not. Or you need to show them in your chart that you’ve delegated it to somebody else. Okay? The biggest thing I want you to take from this is that while it may feel like a waste of time, a purposeful and well-written, again, it has to be valuable.


It can’t be fluffy with insignificant statements, okay? It has to be actual, really strong information, well written so the board can understand your position. This really solves a lot of problems, removes headaches for you. Do your best to keep the same format, make it structured so you know what information you need to include each month.


So, what I would do is I would sit down and look at your board report. Where can there be improvements, put it in an order that you’re happy with, and make that the form that you fill out every single month. Okay.


And if you’re the type of person that struggles to remember things throughout the month, my recommendation is to open up that blank board report when something noteworthy comes up and just add bullets under the corresponding topic item.


Then when it comes time to finalize your report, before you turn it in, you’ve already got all the main bullets listed. You just need to maybe expand on them or make it more legible, readable, grammatically correct, that kind of thing. Then you aren’t trying to remember what happened a couple of weeks ago.


I think if you do this, you will find you will have a lot to say that will bring you closer to the board and have them behaving in a more supportive and engaging way. I hope this was helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions. We will always make ourselves available. Thank you for listening.


Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast so we can reach a bigger audience. And don’t forget to visit the website ww.yoursportsresource.com, where you can find articles and tools as well as more info on how we can work with you directly. Maybe even with the COLT Program. Finally, remember what is common sense isn’t always common practice. Put what you learn into action. Don’t just be good, be good at it. Until next time, guys. Thank you.

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