Friday, December 31, 2010

Make yourself heard.

Lets start with the qualifier that we believe ‘perfection’ to be a subjective measure. Despite this reality, people seem to constantly chase ‘perfect’ and in doing so are reminded of how difficult the process can be. Add volunteers and youth sport into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for chaos. Some parents seem to be either way out in left field or way out in right field and are easily distracted by opinions driven by emotional biases and/or worse self interests.

This year, two examples came up during our youth sport experience. 1 little league baseball & the other rep league hockey. Only one of the examples adversely affected our families experience, yet both examples warranted us asking the tough questions to those in positions of authority. While we are not ‘that family’ who feels the sun rises and sets on the backs of their children. Having said that we’re also not ‘the other family’ who talks a big game, rallies the troops on the sidelines.... And actually does nothing about it. We feel there is great lessons in adversity & we also feel it’s fair practice to bring issues directly and only to those who can solve them.

The approach is not a tirade or series of baseless accusations, threats and the like. It’s questions based on information provided by the league that (for some reason) have not / are not being followed, that adversely affect the kids.

People don’t like feedback. Period. Few people want to hear they are doing a sub par job or they are not doing what they said they were going to do. In both instances, our requests for clarity were not immediately returned. This forced the decision to follow it up... Or “let it slide”. We are not those people who “let it slide”. Upon further requesting it became apparent the ‘we welcome your feedback’ statement was more of a formality than reality. Yet we persisted all the way up the chain in getting answers to our very simple questions. Months later, after finally getting on the in front of the powers that be, apologies were issued and long term changes were made to the systems in place in order it functioned as it was intended to function.

Nothing dramatic here, but one can’t help but ask what the result would have been had we not kept pursuing this course of action?

It’s important in any case like this, that one makes themselves heard. Best way is to lay out the concerns in a reasonable manner, present it to those in power, request a phone or face to face meeting and follow up. Complaining in the stands, to other friends, or worse yet doing nothing is not being in left or right field – it’s not even being on the field. In this instance, youth sport requires money, hence there is a level of accountability associated with it’s implementation. In any instance, if what you has been articulated / promised is not being implemented, we must stand up and say something to those who need to be accountable.

Remember no one’s ‘perfect’ but any organization that aspires to be better than average is going to appreciate it.

No comments: