A Canadian high-performance sports program faced increased competition on the international stage amid a wave of global growth in the sport. Despite a thriving events-based business model, changes to the High-Performance Program needed to be made – while ensuring the business model continued to succeed. To uncover what was happening both above and beneath the surface of the program, STRAAD, in collaboration with the program’s CEO and an established governance committee, conducted a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative review. The review included team workshops, 1-on-1 interviews, follow-up surveys, and engagement with external stakeholders within the sporting landscape. This systems-based approach resulted in STRAAD presenting thematic feedback, key insights, and a suite of recommendations to the CEO and governance committee, with an aim to improve the overall system, increase podium success, and continue to protect the organization’s business model. In addition, STRAAD designed a phased implementation approach, with a focus on strategic change management and leadership development to support the organization through the change.
A Canadian high-performance sports program had been experiencing increased competition on the international stage. What was once an expectation and assumption that teams would place on the podium, had become increasingly challenging due to the global growth and development of the sport. Running in parallel was the organization’s events-based model, which continued to remain fruitful and served as a profitable revenue stream for the program. While it was critical for the organization to improve the High-Performance Program and achieve podium results, ultimately, changes to the High-Performance Program could not be considered without taking into account their impact on the organization’s business model.
To gain a thorough understanding and effectively diagnose the culture, strategy, structure, and leadership of the High-Performance Program, STRAAD, in partnership with the CEO and an established governance committee, began a Discovery process by conducting a qualitative and quantitative review. The review committee conducted virtual workshops, 1-on-1 interviews, issued follow-up surveys, and engaged with external stakeholders within the Canadian sports landscape. STRAAD led with a systems thinking approach, discovering what was happening both above and below the surface of the High-Performance Program and the wider environment in which it existed. STRAAD listened for barriers, opportunities, perspectives, and narratives, and was able to understand what patterns, relationships, assumptions, and beliefs had contributed to the current state of the High-Performance Program.
The system-based discovery approach moved STRAAD to the next phase of the engagement – Diagnosis. STRAAD presented thematic feedback to the governance committee and board members, shedding light on what was working well, where there were opportunities to improve, and overall player, coach, and support staff sentiment.
Underscoring these themes were key insights that STRAAD shared with the client, providing the leadership team with a different lens of the program and its people, and equipping the client with knowledge and awareness of the program’s broader challenges and opportunities.
Drawing on the themes, insights, and long-term objectives of the High-Performance Program, STRAAD crafted a future-state blueprint for the client to improve their overall system, increase podium success, and continue to protect the organization’s business model. STRAAD designed a phased implementation approach, with a focus on strategic change management and leadership development, and put forward a set of sequenced and detailed recommendations.
To set the client up for long-term success, sustainment, and adoption, STRAAD worked closely with the CEO and equipped the leadership team with the guidance, tools, and frameworks to support them as they navigated driving strategic change within the program and across the organization.
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