What role should governance (especially Boards) play in sport? Should sporting codes be governed any differently than commercial businesses or not-for-profit agencies?
These questions are raised from time-to-time—often by the media and commentators, and especially when a team or code is not doing so well. Yet another case was reported today, this time concerning New Zealand Cricket. Dion Nash is reported as saying "the board is failing in its duty to lead the game in the right direction." Such criticisms are not new. The challenge is in finding and implementing the remedy.
The moving parts that make up a sporting code are familiar—a board, administration, management, players (called workers, employees, volunteers in other contexts), spectators (customers, consumers). In my view, sporting codes are just another form of organisation, albeit with goals specific to their context. Therefore, they should embrace [sound] organisational constructs and practices, including governance.
Dion Nash's call for the NZC Board to take control of the sport's destiny (and ultimately the Black Caps' performance) via sound top-level planning (strategy) has much merit. The development of strategy is now widely accepted in academic circles to be a major task of the Board. To do this effectively, Boards need to be comprised of people who understand the market and emerging trends, and understand and participate in the development of strategy. In NZC's case, that means appointing suitably knowledgeable and competent people to the Board, and soliciting well-structured contributions from various specialists.
The time to act is now. But will the NZC Board be so bold as to make the necessary governance adjustments—for the good of the game?
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.