Emotions and the entrepreneurial spirit: Why these are important for your club to consider

26 July 2019
Sports Wellington BFSRTB Social 20

87% of our daily decisions are made by emotions. That’s what the research tells us and that’s why Ian Sandbrook recommends putting feelings and empathy into the heart of what you do.

Sandbrook, founder of Sport for Good Consulting, is also an advocate for being bold, brave, and courageous when it comes to keeping your sports club or organisation relevant; and he says that sometimes the most effective big ideas start with small actions that are then leveraged and built upon.

“If we really want to grow…then we need to do something different,” he told attendees at the second installment of the Sport Managers Forum hosted by Sport Wellington on Tuesday 23 July 2019.

“We need to start working with clubs around how we can create positive change and embrace new ideas”

Sandbrook led two sessions at the forum; the first, titled “The Customer Journey”, asked the group to consider the role emotions play in attracting, retaining, and developing members and their clubs.

The second session, “Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Spirit,” looked at how clubs can seek, embrace, and enact change to keep them relevant and successful.

The Customer Journey

“You remember how you’re made to feel.”

That was Sandbook’s key message for sport managers in the first session of the forum, as he asked them to think about what taking a more human, emotionally empathetic approach to club management would look like.

He asked participants to view their club members as customers and answer the following questions:

“How do you make your customers feel?” and “Is this how I would want to be treated?”

By internalizing it, Sandbrook suggested, “it gets us to turn it round and think about that experience properly.”

Sandbrook said he believes a lot of attention is paid to performance sport and grassroots, but that clubs a lot of the time are left to just “bumble along.”

“How can we get them working together?” he asked of the group? “[These things] shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”

There are five key stages of the customer journey, according to Sandbrook;

  1. Discover
  2. Research
  3. Choose
  4. Join
  5. Maintain

By identifying these stages, and the associated emotions you want your customers to feel within each one, you’re able to provide a meaningful experience.

“We’ve got a bigger part to play to start to motivate and inspire that club network, because that’s … fundamental to our society.”

At the end of the two hours, he offered five main takeaways:

  • Put feelings and empathy at the heart of what you do.
  • Remember that decisions are based on emotions
  • Start to stand for something
  • Get clarity for your strategy
  • Positive emotions = advocates

Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Spirit

For the second session in his presentation, Sandbrook asked managers to think about what being entrepreneurial in a club/sport setting means to them.

“For me, it’s about seeing opportunity everywhere,” Sandbrook said. “See opportunity rather than issues and problems and excuses.”

The biggest problems with clubs, he said, is that they’re too scared, too timid, too afraid to fail.

Sometimes you just have to get out there,” he said

“To start this movement, we’ve got to be brave. Do something simple and get round those who embrace it.”

For Sandbrook, being entrepreneurial in a club/sport setting means:

  • Identifying a need
  • Solutions
  • Action
  • Add value
  • Experiment
  • Perseverance
  • Disappointment
  • Rollercoaster

He reminded managers to start small but keep their minds open to the broader vision.

“Let’s find a one really good idea, and now lets run with that idea and think of all the little things that we can run off that and snowball it and go down those alleyways,” Sandbrook said. “Because I believe that’s how you start to get traction and keep things moving.”

As with his first session, he offered some key messages for people to leave with:

  • Be deliberately opportunity focused
  • Be relevant = Club needs, community needs (Venn diagram)
  • New ideas, new people
  • Have the courage
  • Delegate vs relegate
  • Leverage your idea
  • Baby steps

If you would like to learn more about Sandbrook and his work with Sport for Good Consulting, contact him at ian@sportforgoodconsulting.com. He is available for speaking events, themed community sport workshops as well as bespoke club development.