Organizational strategy is huge when talking about the effectiveness of an organization. Every sport organization implements strategies in the front office all the way down to the players and coaching staff. The text book talked a lot about the different levels of strategy. There are four different types of corporate strategies which include: growth, stability, defensive and combination strategies. Business strategies include cost leadership, differentiation strategy, focus strategy. All the strategies that the text book talked about are vital in within an organization. I think a key component is selecting the appropriate strategy. Selecting the strategy is the final stage in the strategy formulation phase. The choice of strategy will depend on the sport organization's mission statement as stated in the text. I think that any decisions made by an organization are within a strategy and work towards common goals. When leadership is put into place, so is strategy. I think each leader has their own vision in mind and a strategy they want to implement. For example, when David Kahn took over the Timberwolves, he had a plan for the draft and was also looking down the road at saving up money for free agents. Kahn's strategy at the present time may not be apparent, but down the road he has pieces in place to succeed long term. I think working for a sport organization would allow you to experience the different levels of strategy. For example, if I'm working at an entry level position, I will be told how to do my job within the strategy that has been put in place by the people at the top of the hierarchy. When transition occurs with leadership, strategy can completely change or change in the slightest. If the new leader wants to operate similar, then the transition will run smoother than if the new leadership style has completely different values and goals.
Today's presentations were interesting and gave cultural analysis from some different perspectives. The presentation on the golf course at Gull Lake was interesting and different from any other presentation we have had. Being able to gauge the effectiveness of a golf course organization is unique because it is based on the money being generated as opposed to the success on the field like other organizations. Today we had two presentations on the Twins. Both gave similar points and they talked a lot about the Twins moving into Target Field and the impact it will bring. Both presentations mentioned the potential signing of Joe Mauer. The official's organization was also unique because it is organized different than the others that we have seen. I thought it was interesting that the managers of each sport have less control than the top. Overall, the presentations were beneficial in understanding how different sport organizations are structured and run.
We had a full day of presentations and I think Brian's presentation on the Pirates was professionally done. He seemed to have knowledge in almost every aspect of the organization as if he currently worked for them. I enjoyed hearing about the history of their organization and how he related it to the team's current state. Overall the presentations are getting better. I think the more presentations we see, we are easily able to dissect an organization and evaluate its effectiveness. The presentation on Under Armour was interesting because the presentation was pretty cool. The slides were well done and because it was not the only Under Armour presentation, it was nice to be able to compare. I think it is cool to see the difference between all these organizations. Between sports teams, companies, venues or organizations, I find the most interesting to be the professional teams because I am working towards a career in the pro sports industry.
Today's presentations were interesting and unique to some of the other presentations to this point. The presentation on the Steelers gave us the point of view from a fan, which I thought was interesting because he seemed to know more details and knowledge of the organization. The power point was also interesting and I thought it was different when he talked about the Steelers not being technology advanced as some of the other teams in the league. Another presentation that I thought was unique was Emily's. She did a good job giving us perspective of a smaller organization; a baseball team from the Northwood League called the Brainerd Lunkers. Up to this point, most of the presentations have been covering larger sport organizations or teams, and Emily's presentation was cool because the smaller teams like the Lunkers, are run so much different. Overall, today's presentations covered a good variety of sport organizations in the sports industry.
The presentations today were pretty good and nice to listen to. I thought the presentation on the University of Minnesota's hockey program was well done and honest. It was easy to see that the presenter was a fan of the program, but would be the first to admit they have been struggling. I also go the impression that she felt changes could and maybe should be made. I think all the presentations that are done with programs within the University are interesting because we all experience them first hand as students, staff or employees. I think the presentations are improving as we all take into consideration the other presentations. I feel like each one is unique in offering some different knowlege to their organization, that can in turn be used to learn about other organizations.
Leadership is something that every organization needs to be fully effective and efficient. It is apparent which sports organizations have quality leaders, and which do not. Organizational contexts such as the environment, structure and culture play a large impact on the way a leader operates. I am currently an intern for the Timberwolves, and it is very clear to me that the organization has created a new vision and is under new leadership. David Kahn has taken over for Kevin McHale and has made an attempt to give this team a new start. As the leader, he can pick and choose his staff and do whatever he pleases. Every decision he makes, has an effect on everyone within the organization even if it is someone who works in the marketing department. The culture has changed under Kahn. It is now a new start, and the team is going with a new look both on the court and off. The environment can have different affects on the leader and organization. If the Timberwolves played in Iowa, fans would be more loyal to both the leader, and the organization as a whole. Because they play in the heavy sport town of Minneapolis, Kahn has even more of a challenge to compete and gain the reputation as the city's team. He needs to gain support locally and nationally, and how they perform can play a big part. In the Timberwolves case, the culture before Kahn was on a decline. Fans were not happy, and to me it seemed like the team was losing support. In comes Kahn and a whole roster and it is evident that the culture is going to change. Kahn states that the team is rebuilding, something that was tough for Kevin McHale to admit. Many think the culture of losing will stay, but people need to realize that some teams must break before they can be remade. That is how the business works and a new leader can help ease the minds of many. If a leader of any sports organization doesn't have the support from the people he controls, he or she will never gain the support of the public. In my opinion, the internal culture must change and that comes straight from the top. It often happens that if a new leader is appointed, the structure is altered. An example would be if a new President or General Manager comes in, he often wants his own people so he will bring in a new coach, one that he feels comfortable within his own structure. Overall I think leaders in sports organizations can give both vision and confidence to people who are directly part of the organization and also to the supporters, whether it be investors, sponsors or fans.
Power is described by the book as something that cannot be seen, but its effects can easily be felt. I agree one hundred percent with the books view of power because decisions are made behind closed doors and the effects are visible to the public and media. Power and authority go hand in hand within sport organizations. Authority holds power because sport managers use authority to implement strategy and make important decisions. I think everyone within an organization holds authority to some extent. Even someone low in the organization hierarchy has to approve the decisions made so they continue to perform at a high level. I think in sports, legitimate power is the most important. A person holds as much power as their position. This concept gives each position meaning, and can boost the overall communication within the organization. For example, an intern would never walk into the general manager's office and question the latest roster move. Legitimate power keeps everyone in order, allowing employees to avoid stepping on others' toes. I think building coalitions is also a huge step in developing a successful organization. Coalitions assure that everyone is on the same page, which will make all decision making easier for those with authority, and those without. The politics within sport organizations is described by the book as "the ability to use the bases of power effectively". I believe this to mean many things. For example, a team president can't be effective if the team just wins, but produces no revenue. Decisions that are made need to improve performance on the field, and on the business side. One thing I have noticed in sport politics is teams are not afraid to put the power into someone else's hands. What I mean is if a team is not winning, and losing fans, sponsors, money, etc. the team president often will make an executive decision, electing someone else to run the organization. It is common in sports to have executive shifts in power over night. It is evident when there is tension between multiple decision makers in one organization. I think the politics need to focus on coalitions and networks to keep the line of communication fluid. I myself want to work in public relations so I find controlling information to be very important. Information that leaves the organization can have a huge effect both positively and negatively. Those with authority need to be on the same page as those who control the flow of information in order to keep a positive image of your organization.
Organizational structure is a concept that can be referred to as departments within an organization and the connection they share. Organizations form different structures based on factors such as size and regulations placed on them. Complexity is a key to organizational structure because it is always one of the first things we notice. Job titles and departments are important to an organization because it allows for more specialization. For example, the MLB office writes rules and regulations for teams, umpires, and owners to follow. Specialization can contribute to the overall effectiveness of an organization because it allows each department to perform specific tasks that increase how successful the organization can be. The hierarchy of authority can vary from organization to organization. Communication between employees is vital to an effective organization, and I believe each sport organization should have a clear leader. Someone who people can count on, and have confidence in to make the right decision. A manager should have a large span of control so that he can see progress being made. However, I think if the span of control is too large, some negatives might be missed. Centralization is a term that also can depend on the organization. How centralilzed a team is, can depend on who makes what decisions and what control people have. For example with the Timberwolves, the basketball operations department has its own people to make basketball specific decisions. They normally don't interfere with the work of those in marketing, or game operations. It also goes to say that those in ticket sales or marketing, have no say in basketball decisions such as who plays and who the team trades. Professionalism is key in the sport industry. Education is required, but so is previous work experience in order to climb the ranks withing organizations. Each organization has personnel ratios that can change based on the size and effectiveness of the organization. -Alex Maschoff
Effective sport organizations operate with a strategic plan that meets and exceeds the goals that have been set. Goal oriented organizations provide the opportunity for successful growth and allows them to compete with others in the industry. Communication is vital and can factor into how effective an organization becomes. Communication from the top to bottom will contribute to the overall performance. If everyone is on the same page, day to day operations will flow much smoother. Both short and long term goals are important because society wants a team to compete now, and be strong a couple years down the road. Although everyone likes winning, it is only one of many factors that contributes to how effective the organization actually is. I think creating a strong fan base can lead to success because the organization will form an image that people and other businesses want to be associated with. The business side of sports is so complex, that many don't understand the true value it carries. A simple way to define an organization is by creating value. If there is no value, there is no organization. I believe the larger the organization, the more effective it will become. When each employee is specialized to one duty, they can put all their focus and energy into their job creating a better situation for the organization as a whole. If each department sets goals and carries them out, the organization will compete and perform at the highest level. -Alex Maschoff