The headline in the New York Times this morning blared,
“Change comes to the N.C.A.A.”
With yesterday’s unanimous Supreme Court ruling in the Alston case paving the way for student-athletes to receive education-related payments — combined with several states enacting Name-Image-Likeness legislation that goes into effect on July 1st — change has indeed come to the intercollegiate athletics industry.
Change began knocking on the NCAA’s national office door many years ago— a light rap at first, followed by more persistent banging. The people in the house peered out from behind the curtain hoping the change would go away. When they didn’t answer the door, change simply kicked in the door instead.
This leads us to today, where the headline accurately reads that “change came to the NCAA.” In hindsight (which lots of people are vocalizing now but didn’t have the courage to say previously) a more proactive approach driven by their organization’s leadership might have resulted in a different headline:
NCAA drives change to benefit student-athletes.
What a better headline and outcome that would have been! Instead, the industry as a whole will be legislated — not by the membership institutions it represents — but by state and federal governments.
The question to ask yourself today is, what’s the headline for your organization and who is driving change where you work?
Are you sitting back letting external forces decide your future? Or are you having difficult conversations but ultimately crafting your own vision and strategic plan to evolve and thrive?
I hope it is the latter so that you have some say in the outcome. Otherwise all of those changes you are resisting right now may be forced on you anyway in ways that are far less palatable.
Leaders are responsible to drive their own bus and choose the destination that will get the people in their care to that destination successfully, safely, enjoyably and with efficiency. Are you providing space for every organizational member to help the leadership team craft solutions to the challenges you face or are you simply waiting to follow someone else’s lead?
What kind of bus are you on? If the leaders you work for have outsourced decision-making to external entities — or are frozen in place and not making decisions at all — you might want to consider hopping on a different bus route that is running with better leadership, a more inclusive decision-making culture, and clearer goals.
Otherwise, be prepared to sit back and have to adapt to whatever comes your way and wherever you end up.