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Presentations 12-10

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       Today was a full day of presentations but i think that everyone did a really good job at getting all there informationa across in the ten minutes that they had.  Over the semester we have gone over a lot of diffrent organizations and much to my surprise there hasnt been a over lap in any of them, well at least till today.  I thought that it was really wired that the only two organizations that were the same were back to back.  I thought that both of them did a really good job at presenting different information.  I dont really remember which one was which, but one of them was focused on the structure within the organization and the other was foused on the environment.  The twins is diffucult topic to discuss because it is easy to assume that everyone knows what is going on with them.  I think that both of the guy did an excelent job digging deep and giving us a different look. 

       Just as a little side note i really didnt know that the YMCA was do diverse and had so much to the orgnization.  I thought that this presentation was very good.

Dec 8 Presentation

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The presentations today where really good. There were two presentations that stuck out to me. The presentations about the pirates and the bobcats I thought where really good. The reason that I really enjoyed them was because they both did a good job at showing how two teams that really aren't that good in regards to wins, can still be effective. My personal thoughts on the team, to be completely honest, the pirates are a terrible team that ships all there good players out for money so they can keep the organization a float. But after the presentation I realize that this is the way the organization wants to run it. They think that by breading there own talent they keep this home grown organizational feel that they want. I thought that the bobcats presentation was a good presentation because it was interesting to see how an organization that is just starting up values its effectiveness. In a society where winning is everything, the bobcats know that they are not going to win and they still value the team as effective. They focus more on what they want to give back to the people that come to the games, like the family experience, rather then winning.

Presentations - Dec.3

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The presentations in class today were very good. There was a lot of good information in everyone of them. The one presentation that I found really good was Parkers, on the Fargo/Moorhead Redhawks. Like parker I also grew up in that area. My grandfather is a very big baseball fan and ever since the development of the team he has boughten season tickets. I loved going to there games every summer. Even though I have been involved with them for so long I never really understood the structure and how things work behind the scenes. One thing that he toched on that I can relate to is the players and staff giving back to the community. The area is based a lot around agriculture and every year during harvest time the players will volenteer there time to help out the farmer. In return in the spring and summer the farmmers come out and support the team. One other point that I thought he did a really good job at getting across was how much different it is from like a minor league team. The saint paul saints was a good example.With all the different promotions and games that they play it is almost like the teams are there to play baseball but also put a show on for the fans. Very good job.
The blogs this morning I felt where very good. Everyone did a really good job with providing why they think that there organization was successful. One thing that I really liked was the presentation on Gopher Basketball. I am a big basketball fan but because the end of the football season interferes with the beginning of the Basketball season I really don't get into it until mid way through the season. The thing that I really enjoy about his presentation was the part about the way it is structures is. It is completely different from the way lets say a football team would structure there's. They kind of do it in a three tier system. The coaches deal with coaches, the players deal with players and the support staff deals with the support staff. With an organization like football there is one person that is on the top usually the AD or head coach, then it kind of trees down. One thing I really like about the three tier system is that there isn't that many layers between the top and the bottom. You could be an equipment manager and not feel awkward about talking to the head coach. In football there are so many layers between you and the head coach that you feel like he is way out of you league to talk to. Basketball feels more like a family atmosphere.

           In the chapter about decision making a lot of it is relative to decision making in every day life.  Even the definition that they give in the book has nothing to do with sports.  The definition in the book states that a decision is a choice between two different alternatives.   Although the chapter is kind of vague it is our job to use the information from the chapter and apply it to sports.  The first aspect that I would relate to sports would be the programmed and non-programmed decision.  The programmed decisions would be the type of decision that are made everyday like what type of promotions that you want to run at the game or what type of food you want to sell in the luxury suits.  These decisions are often being made by people that have important positions, but they are not high up in the organization.  The non-programmed decisions are the decisions that are being made that affect a large part of the team and the achievement of the main goals. Like trading for a new player or building a new stadium.  These are often going to be made by high ranking officials within the organization.

                Some of the most important things that they talk about in the chapter are the three different conditions that decisions are made in.  They talk about certainty, risk and uncertainty.   Just like the name sounds, certainty are the type of the decisions where you know what you have to put in and you know what you are going to get out.  These are common in everyday life of an organization but they are often small task.  The risk condition has to deal with decisions that you know what you have to put in but you don't know what you are going to get out.  But the thing is there is often no reward without some type of risk.  The last type of condition is uncertainty.  This is a very high risk, high reward type of decision making strategy.  You have no idea what you need to put in and you have no idea what the out come is going to be.  But if you make the decision and it works out it often works out really well for you.  These type of decisions are scary for a lot of people so that is why they pass them on to people that are often higher up in the organization.

Culture in Sports

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Throughout the chapter in the Slack & Parent's book it talks about all kinds of things that go into the culture of a sports organization.  Like the four themes or the thick and thin culture, but I think that the most important thing that they talk about which I feel correlates the most with culture are the different "manifestations" within the sport.

Some of the manifestations that are talked about in the chapter are physical setting of the organization, stories and myths, language and symbols.  Just think about your favorite sport and what makes it so different from all the other sports.  Is the language harsher, are the clothes different, is the sport considered to be more masculine of feminine.  All these things play into how the culture of the organization is shaped.  I personally think that culture is really one of the only aspects of an organization that is effected by the activity that is taking place.  Because football is a more masculine, hard hitting, trash talking sport then let's say women's tennis the cultures are going to be completely different because women's tennis is more gentile, and sophisticated.

I have left one topic to talk about because I think that in last Thursday's panel discussion Athletic Director Joel Maturi did a great job on giving an example of how the physical environment plays a large part in the culture.  He brought up numerous times that we live in a state where everyone wants to be involved.  They want to be involved in every aspect no matter how big or small.  This is defiantly going to affect the culture because he can't just ignore these people because some of them like to give lots of money to our different programs. So he ahs got to be able to make his own decision while keeping everyone else in the loop and on his side.

I really don't buy into the other things that Slack & Parent say affect the overall culture of the organization.  Yes changing the number of employees and expanding markets or product lines will affect how your organization is going to operate but I feel that it is still going to have the same type of people working, and the same type of people are going to be buying your products and services.  There are probably tons of little things that will affect the culture but I think that how people are perceiving your organization, these "manifestations", is what is going to cause the culture to shift and change.

                Leadership within sports can determine just about anything that has with the organization or sports team that you are working for.  It can determine success or failure, profit or loss.  It can pretty much determine anything that is or will be going on within the organization.  To first understand how these things happen you have to understand what a leader is.  Kind of a basic description that I go by is that it is a person that is willing to enable other to act and gain followers so that they may achieve a goal. 

Before anything even begins leadership often starts with your personality.  You already know if you are the kind of person that is going to lead or is going to follow.  More often then not you are going to see these people step up and take control over the situation no matter what.  Within a sports organization often the people that are high up are the leaders and the reason that they got up that high was because of there leadership skills.  Take Mark Cuban for example; form the beginning of his career, when he was a no body, he has always had the ability to lead people and now he is making billions and making all kinds of important decisions.

The next real important steep that can really make or break a sports org. is the ability for that leader, ether the head or a department leader, to enable other people to act toward the main goal.  IF you can't make people trust you and work with you to better the organization you are never going to become a leader.  A majority of the people in this world are followers.  They wait for someone to tell them what to do so they can do it, well if you can't get these people to buy your tickets, or buy you t-shirts, or even market your service correctly it is going to be a lost cause and you aren't going to make any money.

The last kind of characteristic is the Goal.  When I talk about goals I don't mean just one like a short term or a long term, I mean them all.  Essentially every thing is centered on the one main long term goal, but each one of the short term and minuet goals gets you even closer to the larger one.  The thing that you have to realize about goals is that you always have to set them with the expectations of the organization on your mind.  It's kind of hard to get followers if you, a brand new team in the NFL, say that the team is going to win the super bowl in there first years. 

Conflict

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               Within a sports organization there can be two types of conflict, Good and Bad.  Due to event throughout history we often think of the word conflict only as something that is bad.  But the truth is that conflict can be a very good and helpful thing.  The best way in which I can describe conflict being good is when it makes you change something within the organization for the better of everyone inside the facility.  Let's say that a group of employees wanted a new piece of equipment that was going to make their job easier and the facility look a lot better.  Well if they were to raise a stink and tell the ownership that they needed it to make their facility look better, the ownership would have to get it because they wouldn't want the facility looking bad.  This is what I classify as good conflict, the workers got what they wanted and the ownership got a better looking facility.  Even though it might sound somewhat easy for good conflict to happen it is very rare.

                Most conflict is bad conflict.  In this conflict one side wants something that the other side doesn't want to give them.  In every one of these cases one side gets hurt or becomes upset.  This is never a good thing when you are trying to run an effective organization.  You want everyone to be happy and work together.  Most cases of these conflicts are because they don't have the resources to provide what the other side wants.  Take the example that I gave earlier, let's say that the organization didn't have enough money to spend on the equipment. Well ownership is going to be upset because they don't have the money and they wish that they did and the employees are going to be mad because now they are going to have to work harder.  It often becomes a vicious circle of blame, which is never good.  Although some of these conflicts become very heated and stay around for a long time a majority of them end up dyeing out because people often just forget about it.  That is probably what is best for both the organization and the workers anyway.

Power and Politics

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            Within a sports organization I would say that power and politics play a large part in decision making process.  The more individual power or political power that you have may make a decision a little harder but when it comes to implanting it makes things a lot easier.  But the thing about these two variables is that they are not interchangeable.  It's really hard to have one with out the other.

 In the Slack and Parents reading it says that you have to have one of 5 individual powers before you can have any political power.  The five different types of powers are legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, and expert.  The fist type of power is legitimate power.  With legitimate power it really doesn't have anything to do with you personally but it has to do more with the title that you are given and the power that comes with that.  For instance lets say I was the head of sports facilities here at the U and someone wanted to use Williams Area for a dodge ball tournament.  Well I would have the power to say yes or no even though I personally know nothing about the needs of dodge ball.  The second power has to do with reward.  Reward power happens when you have control of another persons or organizations reward.  If I have the ability to take something away that you felt you have worked hard for you are ether going to hate me or you are going to respect me.  Coercive power has to deal with the same type of situation, but instead of being able to reward somebody this is the power to punish someone.  I see this method as very cold hearted but very effective.  The next power, referent, deals a lot with how you relate to other people that have power.  If the people in power see that you have some of the same traits that they do then you are seen as a more trustworthy person and maybe then they will give you a little more power.  I like to call this brown nosing but Slack and Parents call it referent.  The last type of power is expert, and just like it sounds the more expertise you have in the field makes you more respectable and have a little more power them someone that is just coming in.

Like I said before you really can have one without the other and when an organization is looking to persuade the strongest power that they can have is politics.  But to have this power you have to develop individual power first.  One of the many things that makes this country great is the access that we have into our political system.  In major sports a lot of there decisions have to go through local government because of the large economic impart that they play, so if someone was to gain a reward or coercive power of a local politician or political group then a lot of the hard decision that need to be made will not be that hard.  It is a vicious circle but it is one that needs to be there in order to get things done smoothly and effectively.

     In sports environment means more then just the weather outside, it incubuses everything that surrounds the organization. Don't get me wrong weather does play a part within the whole scheme of things but it is much more then that. It has to deal with the type of people on the team it has to do with the location of the organization; it even has to deal with the commerce surrounding the organizations facilities. What all these different factors will play into is how the organization looks at its structure and how it evaluate achieving there of goals.

     One very large part in running an organization is the commerce that you produce, either within the organization itself or the surrounding areas. A very, very good example of this production of commerce idea is the Minnesota Timberwolves. The environment that they create for the fans in the downtown area is among the best in the league. With sports bars, high end restaurants, movie theaters, pretty much anything someone could ask for on a night out is centrally located around the organization, and the one thing that all of these shops have in common is that they all have the Timberwolves name plastered all over them. It is a very important thing for the Timberwolves to show that they are the dominate figure in the downtown area for sports. Although with the recent building of Target Field, you never know what is going to happen downtown. You would like to think that they could work together but sometimes that is not the case. Granted that the Timberwolves will always have the NBA City bar, as the official bar NBA fans, but what about the fans that would go to hooters after the game or Gameworks. Are the fans going to like it when the themes of there bars change from basketball to a more baseball centered one. Maybe those fans will quit showing up. I guess that the point I am trying to make is that the environment around an organization is very important because if you start losing the support around you, like local business, you might start to lose people.

     Another aspect of environment that is very important is the environment within the organization. The best example that I can think of, although it is not even in sports is google. The environment within google is a very happy one. All the extra perks like a gym, or a five star restaurant for a cafeteria makes the employees of the organization happy and willing to work. But there are examples of a bad environment. The best example has to be the Oakland Raiders. Every time you hear about them on the new or sports center you hears that the facilities are run down, and the neighborhood is bad, and every one is not happy. I think that there is a definite correlation between these. If you hate the place you work, or you hate the people you work for, or you hate the people you work with; it is going to be a very hostile environment to work for. You aren't going to enjoy it at all and your performance is going to struggle.

     These are just a few of the environmental issues within an organization that are going to effect the organization as a whole. The best organizations are the ones that can take these issues and not let them get to bad and adjust them before it gets out of hand.