External Review Outcomes and Recommendations – what I want – Dustin Fletcher Hangar

Okay, I was a bit bored this afternoon and was thinking about what I would do if I were a partner at (insert consultancy X here) and tasked with conducting an outside audit of the football club.

Outlined is how I would conduct the review and what I would look for. Also, just for fun, I’ve added what my recommendations/results would be after the review.

A little blueprint, but please browse my mind…!!

Any organizational change must be grounded and should seek to create the right framework to take a program to the top. For example, an organization would have a hard time moving people to change if there was no foundation in its culture for psychological safety as a basis for building a program. Now comes the complex – while organizations are built around people, products and processes, sports teams are similar but built slightly differently. Yes, the sports club/corporation needs to have solid finances/businesses to build on, but then the sports/team elements of the organization start to have different fundamentals.

In any organization, staff selection and development is vital – HR frameworks focus on three elements;

  1. Attraction/Selection
  2. human resource development
  3. Employee retention (goes hand in hand with 2)

Managers/leaders are involved in the process outlined above and are generally overseen by HR.
The organizational goal, mission, strategy and framework are set by the Board of Directors and implemented by the CEO and leadership team. The leadership team also consists of core executives with key areas of expertise (ie finance, sales, marketing, operations, customers, etc.).

This is where the similarities start to become clearer.

In my humble view, the club’s external review should focus on two core elements and then be broken down into sub-elements:

  1. Commercial/Finance
    a. P&L position including future funds forecast
    b. use of funds;
    I. Club Operations/Administration and Growth
    ii. Football program (is the use of funds under the soft cap and AFL policies balanced between operations/promotion and football)
  2. Soccer
    a. Recruitment/Selection (recruiting department and process)
    b. Personnel development (player development, program/framework/structure and personnel)
    c. Staff Capability and Retention (Player Wellbeing, Personal Development and Playlist)

Then the fun part; Once you have all the staff (players):
• Coaching:
o The right coach (basics/experience/vision)
 Communication style (man leadership)
 Leadership style – I would prefer the pacer and command style (we missed that at both Rutten and Worsfold). We need more hybrid and standard-setting leaders.
o Schedule
 Deliver a game plan that FITS OUR PLAYERS’ strengths
 one that can be understood and implemented without too much complexity
 Set up and adjust overtime
 DEMAND compliance – if you are not on the bus, get off
o Coaching Panel
 Coaches who can actually WORK TOGETHER
• Even if there are line coaches, they must have a unified view of ball movement and team structure
 Complimentary coaching skills
 Aligned with the vision, values ​​and approach of the head/senior trainer
 Must be focused, clear, concise and simple. This is where the “psychologically safe culture” comes in – create an environment where all voices can be heard, but in the end the coach(es) have the final say

Assuming I were (insert consulting firm name x here), I would start here for recommendations:
1. Commercial/Financial
recommendation 1 – Xavier Campbell’s overarching mandate to focus solely on the club’s promotion/finances. Football operation and separation decision.
result 1 – X assumes the role of Chief Commercial Officer and reports to the Board of Directors
Recommendation 2 – A more biased approach to football matters (like winning premierships) should take precedence over ‘good corporate citizens’
Outcome 2 – Spread operating costs more across football

2. Soccer
recommendation 1 – A focus on football matters and operations should be demarcated between the previous CEO role and the new structure. This role should oversee all aspects of football – including high performance sport, coaching, recruitment, player welfare, player development, etc.
result 1 – A new role should be created – Chief Football Officer, responsible for all the above areas and reporting directly to the Board. (Possibly a role for James Hird)
recommendation 2 – A complete overhaul of team management needs to be applied.
result 2;
a) The current Head of Human Resources has not created a competitive list during his tenure – a new Head of Human Resources needs to be found (see Kinnear Beatson for reference).
b) The player development program (including VFL) is not at an acceptable level – a new development manager and program must be found (see Brendan McCartney for reference).
c) Player welfare and culture needs to be addressed and a program needs to be expanded. More Indigenous engagement should be a priority – (recommend Michael Hurley for this role)

**3. coaching **
recommendation 1 – Given a) the political and cultural character of the EFC, an ESTABLISHED coach should be sought. One with current gaming knowledge and one with a personality style that can hold its own.
result 1 – Ideal criteria for the coaching search:
• Established Coaching Credentials – must be a current or former Senior Coach or Senior Assistant
• Leadership style – pacemaker and commander. Must be a high performer and have unshakable player expectations.
• Personality Type – Touching but fair. We can’t have any more introverted guys. Know what you want, demand it, drive it, coach it and speak it
• Communication style – open, concise, honest. Also needs to understand how to communicate with different personality types of players
• Playstyle – MUST be created with current team strengths in mind
Recommendation 1 – Shortlist:
• Don Pyke
• Damien Hardwick
• Ross Lyons
• Gia
• James Hird
• Mark McVeigh
• Adam Kingsley
• Leon Cameron
• Jaymie Graham

Assistance Coaching Panel – Recommendation (Shortlist):
• Dale tap
• Justin Leppitsch
• Brent Stanton
• Robbie Gray

4. Match Staff/Team Composition – the playlist needs to be adjusted/overhauled. Culturally, there is a lack of leadership and adherence to team rules/game plan. There’s a preference for individual achievement, not role-playing types, and there’s a lack of;
a. Balanced midfield – Some current Mid/s need to be exchanged
I. Bigger midsections
ii. two-way runner
b. KPP – Accelerated development program for KPPs and recruiting one or two older, more established KPPs in the meantime to help develop younger KPPs
c. Little Striker/s – trade or recruit pure small forwards with an offensive mindset to offset defensive small forwards (currently Guelfi and Snelling). Bias towards domestic talent (see @Benfti on BomberBlitz). Also suggest that Walla become an indigenous ambassador
i.e. overall leadership – Try to recruit a small group of experienced players from other teams for the next 1-2 drafts. Luke Hodge-style recruits with a penchant for excellence, team first, play your role types.


  1. The board should;
    a. Create the strategy and blueprint informed by the Chief Operating Officer (X) and Chief Football Officer (new role – could be Mahoney).
    b. Let these executives lead and execute the strategy
  2. The current CEO role and function should be delineated by creating two new roles:
    a. COO and CFO
  3. A new coach should be recruited according to the policy and established procedure
  4. The new coach should select his coaching panel (aligned with the process and people guidelines)
  5. A new recruitment manager should be found and the playgroup structure adjusted with a focus on culture and role-playing
  6. An expedited review of the development program and leader should be conducted

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