Values, standards, ethics, principles – whatever you call them – are central to building a club that is successful not just on the field, but as community centric organisation that is also trusted with helping young people grow and develop.

Values drive behaviour and expectations and form the traits that allow clubs to be the best version of themselves. Some of the biggest clubs in the world – the New Zealand All Blacks, Barcelona FC, San Antonio Spurs – are stand out examples of how values are fundamental to success.

Values don’t evolve organically, they need to be thought about, agreed upon and articulated.  They need to be what you measure every decision, every action against.

They are extremely powerful in creating environments that are conducive to being inclusive, respectful of gender and race and promoting good decision making around alcohol and drugs and risk-taking behaviours.

So how do you work out the values that are going to drive your club? It’s important to involve key segments of your club from players to coaches to office bearers because everyone needs to be invested in these values – they have to have real meaning and relevance to the club. Start with asking these questions:

  • What kind of club do you want to be?
  • What reputation do you want?
  • What influence will you have on the kids coming through?
  • What legacy will you leave?

When you’ve agreed on your core values, you need to promote them.  Have posters that list them in the change rooms and club rooms, ask club members to memorise them, refer to them in meetings, promote them on social media and acknowledge people – on and off the field – who exemplify them.

The Box Hill Hawks football club have embraced respect as a value. Not only have they chosen respect, but they have gone further and articulated and promoted what respect looks like:

  • Respect our environment and the people in it.
  • Respect the opposition and umpires with words and actions.
  • Make an effort to talk, listen and thank BHH staff and volunteers.
  • Respect your peers with both actions and words.

The key to making values work is by living them.  By demonstrating the actions, standards and behaviours that bring your values to life.

The All Black team, for instance, live the value of being humble by having the players and coaches clean the sheds after a game. If you are an All Black you are expected to use your time in that guernsey to enhance the legacy.  They believe that better men make better All Blacks – and it’s not only about rugby, it’s about life.

San Antonio Spurs are a team who aren’t seeking glamour, they do what they’ve told, they do what they have to do and they do it with class.

Barcelona FC trains youngsters in soccer for only 90 mins a day. The rest of the time is devoted to education and developing good attitudes around principles such as respect, responsibility, discipline, commitment, and humility.

Identifying your club’s core values then living them will energise your club, give it purpose and help it provide the best possible environment.  Simply put, values are the heartbeat of your club.

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