The AFL’s announcement Gillon McLachlan has been appointed as Andrew Demetriou’s replacement is a great example of succession planning in action. Only those within the AFL’s inner sanctum will know how wide and how long the search for the AFL CEO was and who else was even considered for one of Australia’s top sport jobs; however from the time of the “public announcement” of Demetriou’s departure, McLachlan was widely tipped as the likely successor.
Of course, for an organisation as large and sophisticated as the AFL, having a succession plan is essential to maintain the confidence of the stakeholders and provides the incoming CEO with a solid platform from which to move the sport business forward.
Given the relatively flat organisational structure of most sporting organisations, including State/Territory and National, succession planning is often not an option. For the majority of these organisations the opportunities for internal career advancement are scarce or simply not available.
The recent Sport, Fitness & Recreation Environmental Scan 2014, produced by Service Skills Australia notes among other things the findings of the joint project between Service Skills Australia and the ASC, which aimed to promote best practice workforce development strategies at a select number of NSOs. An absence of defined career pathways within the sector was raised by the survey respondents, “exacerbated by the typically flat organisational structure of sporting bodies that provide minimal opportunity for intra-organisational career advancement”.
Interestingly though, 84% of all respondents in the 2013 Sportspeople Workplace Survey indicated they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their current job (down from 85.1% in 2009) and 90% intend to stay in the industry long-term, up from 88.1% (2009) and 85.9% (2008).
The opportunity for career advancement or succession planning may not always exist within your current employment, but that doesn’t mean what you are doing goes unnoticed or is without long term reward or benefit. Sport is a very small industry sector with common challenges and functional responsibilities across the various sporting codes and sport businesses. If opportunities for advancement don’t exist with your employer think about negotiating added duties to provide new experiences to your skill set.
And always remember the people with whom you have worked will certainly be consulted when you do seek a new role or career step. So, doing what you do and doing it well will always be critical for career advancement.
RM - Sportspeople Recruitment
First Published 2014