Across a sport, boards should work together to govern collaboratively and create alignment to maximise efficient use of resources and implement whole of sport plans.
Like the rest of society, sport is constantly challenged by external influences and market forces. Sport organisations must adapt to the environment and cater for new trends. This is achieved best by collaborating across the whole of sport.
What is governance alignment within a sport?
Collaborative governance is the term used to describe the need for boards in a sport network to interact and develop a whole of sport vision. To achieve this, boards within the same sport engage in collective decision-making that is formal, consensus-oriented and deliberate. This decision-making process provides the foundation for an aligned vision across the whole of sport with a common purpose for implementing strategy and associated policies.
What is alignment and how can alignment lead to shared execution?
Alignment describes how the organisations within a sport work cooperatively and collaboratively to benefit the sport. There is no singular model for achieving alignment as sports differ in many areas. Alignment within a sport can refer to areas such as branding, digital, commercial, strategy, finances, workforce, and participation program design and delivery. Alignment enables a sport to become more effective and efficient in the delivery of the sport, and ultimately improve the experience for the sport’s stakeholders.
Success of alignment and shared execution fundamentally relies on enduring cooperation, collaboration and, above all, the collective will of the boards in a sport network to promote the importance of alignment. Though one organisation, due to capacity, may be the primary facilitator of an alignment process, the outcomes must be developed and agreed upon by all parties, with the participant experience at the front of mind.
How can boards lead alignment?
Boards should apply an objective and inquiring mind, devoting appropriate and quality time to considering matters relating to alignment. As the leaders of an organisation, boards make impactful decisions. The board can, in making these decisions, deliberately and actively decide to align services and functions with other organisations within the sport. The board can also promote and advocate for alignment through the direction of resources. Furthermore, directors of the board can engage in formal and informal collaborations with other stakeholders to seek out potential areas of alignment, design an implementation strategy and approve these actions to help create an aligned sport. Therefore, the benefits of alignment and shared execution must be identified and articulated by boards. Boards have a responsibility for overseeing the strategy, but also for ensuring the future security and health of the organisation.
Example behaviours and actions
A set of good practice suggestions, which should underpin the Board’s considerations in applying this principle.
Resources and tools to help
Head to the National Governance Resource Library for resources and tools.
For guidance, or to discuss how your organisation may best implement good practice in this area, please contact your State/Territory agency for sport and recreation.
For NSOs, email your query to SportsGovernance@ausport.gov.au and a consultant will contact you.