Building a Positive Culture, Dealing with Challenging Personalities, Delegation, & Effective Program Management
Ames, Ia - New & Aspiring Athletic Director Workshop, held recently, brought together renowned athletic directors and industry experts to share their insights and experiences with a diverse audience of new and aspiring athletic directors. The workshop featured special guests: Aaron Stecker, Brian Petersen, Lamarr Glenn, Patty Calderwood, and Scott Garvis. Their presentations covered crucial topics such as building a positive culture, dealing with challenging personalities, effective delegation, and utilizing time-saving tools for athletic program management.
Aaron Stecker, Athletic Director from Cedar Rapids Kennedy, focused on the significance of building a positive culture within athletic programs. Stecker emphasized the importance of setting clear visions, missions, and core values for programs. By defining their purpose and aligning their platforms with their vision and mission, athletic directors can outline the impact their programs will have. Stecker encouraged attendees to establish high standards of excellence and hold themselves accountable to driving their vision, mission, and values forward through continuous professional development conversations.
Stecker, captivated the audience as he delved into the intricacies of building a positive culture within athletic programs. Stecker emphasized that the impact of a program goes far beyond wins and losses. It is about shaping the lives of student-athletes and making a positive impact on their overall development.
Stecker urged attendees to define their program's purpose and align it with a clear vision and mission. By establishing these foundational elements, athletic directors can set the course for their programs and inspire athletes and coaches alike. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of identifying core values or skill sets that will guide the program's actions and decisions.
To accomplish the vision and mission, Stecker encouraged athletic directors to develop a platform that fosters excellence. This involves setting high standards and holding oneself accountable to drive the program forward. Professional development conversations were highlighted as a key component, enabling coaches and staff to continuously improve their skills and knowledge.
During his presentation, Stecker raised thought-provoking questions for athletic directors to consider. What are the program's strengths in terms of standards and skill sets? Identifying these strengths can help build upon them and further enhance the program's success. Simultaneously, it is crucial to acknowledge areas that need improvement, where the program should strive to be better.
Vision & Mission Poster - we spent 4+ hours defining who we were, what we wanted to impact through educational activities, etc. This is the culmination of that work, but really the collaborative process of talking about and defining who we are was HUGE!
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Brian Petersen, Athletic Director of Roland-Story, addressed the challenge of dealing with challenging personalities within the context of athletics. He emphasized the need for athletic administrators to adopt a thoughtful and deliberate approach when faced with raw emotions from parents, athletes, fans, and even coaches. Petersen outlined five key points to consider: knowing oneself, building relationships and trust, front-loading information, following established procedures, and protecting those procedures to maintain order and fairness.
Petersen, addressed the challenging aspect of dealing with difficult personalities in the realm of athletics. With raw emotions often present from parents, athletes, fans, and even coaches, Petersen emphasized the need for athletic administrators to approach these situations delicately and thoughtfully.
Petersen shared five essential items for athletic administrators to consider when faced with challenging personalities. Firstly, knowing oneself is crucial for maintaining composure and making informed decisions. Building relationships and trust is the foundation for effective communication and conflict resolution. Front-loading information ensures that all parties involved have the necessary details and are on the same page. Following established procedures provides structure and consistency, while protecting those procedures helps maintain fairness and order.
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Lamarr Glenn, Fulton County District Athletic Director, shed light on the crucial skill of delegation for athletic administrators. Glenn highlighted the significance of effectively distributing tasks and responsibilities among qualified individuals to ensure adequate attention and expertise in all areas of the athletic department. By delegating tasks, administrators can focus on strategic planning, decision-making, and overseeing the overall success of the athletic program. He stressed that delegation is vital for athletic administrators as it allows for the effective distribution of tasks and responsibilities, ensuring that each area of the department receives the necessary attention and expertise.
Glenn emphasized that by delegating tasks to qualified individuals, athletic administrators can focus on strategic planning, decision-making, and overseeing the overall success of the athletic program. This approach empowers others within the department and promotes collaboration and growth.
Delegation also provides an opportunity for administrators to mentor and support coaches, enabling them to excel in their roles. By entrusting coaches with responsibilities and providing guidance, administrators can foster a sense of ownership and investment in the program's success.
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Patty Calderwood, representing Bound, a comprehensive platform for Athletic Directors, introduced time-saving tools that can streamline administrative tasks and foster efficient collaboration among coaches, athletes, and staff. Bound offers features such as scheduling, communication tools, and document management, empowering Athletic Directors to enhance organization, communication, and productivity within their departments.
Calderwood began by highlighting the challenges faced by athletic administrators in juggling numerous administrative tasks and responsibilities. The Bound Platform, she explained, offers a solution by streamlining administrative processes and fostering efficient collaboration among coaches, athletes, and staff.
One of the key features of Bound is its scheduling capabilities. Athletic Directors can easily create and manage schedules for practices, games, and events, eliminating the need for manual coordination and reducing the chances of scheduling conflicts. This not only saves time but also ensures that everyone involved in the athletic program has access to up-to-date information.
Communication tools within the Bound Platform were also emphasized. Calderwood demonstrated how Athletic Directors can effectively communicate with coaches, athletes, and staff through the platform, reducing the reliance on multiple communication channels. Coaches can send announcements, share important documents, and communicate with their teams directly within the Bound Platform, facilitating clear and efficient communication.
Document management was another key feature highlighted by Calderwood. The Bound Platform allows for the central storage and organization of important documents such as team rosters, medical forms, and game schedules. This eliminates the need for physical paperwork and provides easy access to necessary information for coaches, athletes, and staff.
The user-friendly interface and customizable options of the Bound Platform were showcased as well. Calderwood explained that Athletic Directors can tailor the platform to fit their specific needs and preferences, creating a personalized and efficient workflow. The platform's intuitive design makes it easy for users to navigate and utilize its features effectively.
By utilizing the Bound Platform, Athletic Directors can enhance organization, communication, and productivity within their departments. Calderwood emphasized the importance of leveraging technology to streamline administrative tasks, allowing administrators to focus more on strategic planning, mentorship, and supporting their coaches and athletes.
The attendees of the workshop were impressed with the time-saving tools presented by Patty Calderwood. The Bound Platform was viewed as a valuable resource for athletic directors to manage and streamline their administrative tasks effectively. The platform's capabilities in scheduling, communication, and document management were seen as integral components in fostering collaboration and enhancing overall efficiency within athletic programs.
As the presentation concluded, Patty Calderwood's insights left attendees with a clear understanding of how the Bound Platform can empower Athletic Directors to overcome administrative challenges and create a more organized and productive environment for coaches, athletes, and staff. The implementation of such a comprehensive platform was seen as a significant step toward optimizing the management of athletic programs and improving the overall experience for everyone involved.
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Scott Garvis, the Iowa Alliance Conference Commissioner, discussed the budgeting process, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing essential expenses, planning for unexpected costs, developing a capital plan for upgrades, and seeking input from coaches, staff, and administrators during the budgeting process.
Garvis began by discussing his approach to analyzing expenditures and revenues for each sport. He emphasized the importance of tracking expenses such as coaches' salaries, equipment costs, and transportation expenses. By calculating the per pupil or per student athlete cost for each sport, Garvis was able to estimate the annual budget requirements for sports and activities. This process allowed him to have a clear understanding of how much he would be spending on each sport and helped with long-term planning.
Collaboration with coaches was a key aspect of Garvis' budgeting process. He mentioned that he would reach out to his coaches during the holiday season and ask them to provide input on their program's needs for the upcoming year. This included identifying essential expenses, prioritizing items that were necessary for running the sport, and even discussing dream items that coaches would like to have if possible. Garvis believed that involving coaches in the budgeting process was vital, as it helped them take ownership of their programs and ensured that their needs were considered.
Garvis also highlighted the importance of considering other factors beyond individual sport budgets. He encouraged athletic directors to develop a capital plan that addressed facility improvements and infrastructure needs. This plan could include upgrades to equipment, maintenance, transportation, and safety measures. By proactively identifying these needs and collaborating with maintenance staff, athletic directors could ensure a safe and conducive environment for their athletes and spectators.
Generating revenue was another significant aspect of budgeting mentioned by Garvis. He discussed various sources of revenue, such as ticket sales, student fees, corporate sponsorships, and fundraising. Garvis emphasized the need to raise funds to support the athletic department's operations and fulfill its financial requirements. He also stressed the importance of engaging alumni and seeking external funding opportunities to supplement the school's budget.
Throughout the presentation, Garvis underscored the importance of ongoing budget monitoring and communication with the school's business office. He advised athletic directors to review the budget regularly, ideally on a monthly basis, and collaborate closely with the business office to ensure financial stability. This involved analyzing the budget's performance, identifying areas that required additional funds or fundraising efforts, and maintaining open lines of communication to address any financial challenges that arose.
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Garvis also delved into the critical topic of recruiting and retaining coaches, highlighting the significance of supporting coaches' professional growth and well-being to ensure the success of the athletic program.
In his presentation, Garvis emphasized the need to align hiring, evaluation, and professional development processes with the mission, vision, and core values of the athletic department. By implementing a thorough and multi-faceted evaluation process, athletic administrators can assess the qualifications, experience, coaching philosophy, and compatibility of potential candidates. Cultivating a positive reputation through effective communication, fair treatment of coaches, and a culture of professional development further enhances the department's appeal to talented coaches.
Garvis emphasized that the primary focus should be on changing the lives of student-athletes and building a program that extends beyond mere athletic achievements. He underscored the importance of hiring coaches who align with the department's mission, vision, and core values. Additionally, he highlighted the value of observing final coaching candidates in action, witnessing their ability to develop a program that benefits students at all levels.
Cultivating a positive reputation and creating a supportive environment for coaches were also identified as essential factors in attracting highly qualified coaches to the athletic program. By prioritizing professional development, fostering a positive culture, and providing resources and mentorship, athletic administrators can empower coaches to excel in their roles, positively influence athletes, and elevate the overall performance and achievements of the teams.
The workshop attendees left with a wealth of knowledge and practical insights from these industry experts. The event served as a platform for new and aspiring athletic directors to gain a deeper understanding of key aspects of athletic program management and leadership. By implementing the strategies and techniques discussed during the workshop, attendees are poised to make a positive impact on their athletic departments, athletes, and communities.
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