Three reasons why your strategy may struggle or fail

Last week I was part of a focus group panel that discussed some of the mechanics of a recently announced strategic partnership between two national sporting  bodies – the New Zealand Rugby Union and Touch New Zealand.

The partnership was officially announced in May this year with Joe Sprangers, Touch NZ CEO stating that, “We have so much in common so it makes good sense for us to see areas where we can work together for the good of both games.”

As you may know, rugby and touch rugby are major participant sports in New Zealand, with rugby being our national game.  However, the sports – oddly enough – have two separate governing bodies.  Which contrasts to many other sports where the core sport and its variants are governed by the one governing body. For instance, football (soccer) with its variants such as 11 aside and futsal are governed by NZ Football.  The same is also the case with volleyball, cricket and basketball.

Anyway, the partnership is designed to bring the two sports closer together with a view to growing both.

In our focus group, early on in the piece we were asked to discuss how the sports could share resources…clubrooms, grounds etc.  And, in response to the question I stood up and said that it was a waste of time discussing how the two sports can share resources.

I was asked to explain my position and stated that the first and utmost priority was to establish and communicate a shared vision.

My reasoning?  In any endeavor where you are trying to bring people together – whether it be a strategic partnership, joint venture, forming a business with some mates, or setting up a sports team – there must be a shared vision between the parties.  And that vision also encompasses shared values and motives.

Attempt to build something where there is no shared vision and where values and motives differ, and you set yourself up for conflict and eventual failure.

Again, this principle applies to anything which involves bringing people together…in sport, business, education,  It even applies to significant personal relationships such as marriages.

So getting back to the focus group.

The point I was making was that both sporting codes need to establish a common vision as it relates to the partnership, and then share that vision with stakeholders.  That way you have a top-down and unified picture of how the partnership will benefit both sports, their fans, players, coaches and other stakeholders.  Following that you develop your strategy and within that strategy you figure out how you will allocate, share and use resources.

See the sequence? Resource allocation comes after the vision has been nutted out.

I then reinforced the point that without that shared vision, we are wasting our time.

Sounds brutal, but it’s the truth…and there were nods of agreement from those in the group.

Over the next few months, key parties from both codes will put together the various pieces of the partnership jigsaw, with a view to having the whole thing up and running by the end of this year.  But, the priority at the outset will be developing a concise vision statement that can be communicated to stakeholders.

On a general note, let me share with you my 3 visions of failure infographic, which highlights the importance of having a clear vision.  As outlined below:

When your vision is cloudy, your strategy will fail.

When visions clash, your strategy will fail.

When your vision is awful, your strategy will fail.

Key takeaway?  Sort out your vision before all else.

When visions clash, your strategy will fail.

When your vision is awful, your strategy will fail.

Key takeaway?  Sort out your vision before all else.