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TAKING THE LEAD We need to ensure new governance strategies don’t restrict great leadership, says Andy Reed



t has been quite a time for leaders across our sector stepping down recently – Sport England, UKsport, the Sport and Recreation Alliance and the

BPA, for example. It’s not just at senior management level – in the boardroom too, the new Sports Governance code has meant quite a bit of experience has been lost in a short time as those who had served the maximum term limits had to step down. The loss of CEOs at Sport England, UK Sport, Sport and Recreation Alliance and Sported also means some of the progress we had made on diversity across the sector could be lost in a short space of time. Leaders moving on is not always a bad

Reed says the rush to appoint board members from outside the sector may have backfired

thing as the sector continues to evolve and change with the shifting sands of political and socio-economic times. However, with


the new emphasis on boards bringing in

A recent World Economic Forum Report

‘independent’ voices and more skills-based members, have we lost something along the way? A number of CEOs and chairs who were keen advocates of this have admitted to me recently that the rush to

Our future planning and leadership needs to be ready for the increasing pace of change

appoint outsiders may have tipped the balance too far in the other direction.

currently starting primary school will be doing jobs when they leave school that currently don’t exist. Our future planning and leadership needs to be constantly ready for the increasing pace of change heading

some great individuals in our sector, we also have too much mediocrity.


suggested that 65 per cent of children

I can assure you I don’t count my former

our way whilst maintaining a level of stability. Like any successful sporting team, our leadership of the sector needs to be finely

When I carried out a review of the sector

life in Westminster as an example of good

balanced between those with plenty of

around CSPs and their communities for

leadership – but rather as an extreme

relevant corporate memory and fresh

the sports minister I found one of the

example of what happens when any

new blood with ideas and innovation,

biggest issues facing the ability of the

organisation lacks proper leadership.

and from both outside and inside the

sector to respond to the new government

While I spend much of my time inside the

sector. If we don’t manage this we will

strategy was the need for greater and more

sector, I have managed to build and maintain

continue to be held back in our goal to

consistent leadership across the sector.

a portfolio of interests in other sectors

create an active nation. We have a short

and these remain much more collaborative

window in which to get this right. For

bring in outsiders from other sectors

and demonstrate impressive leadership

the sake of a healthy nation we need

has led to, at best, mixed results, with

against difficult and challenging backdrops.

to create some genuine collaborative

If I’m being honest, the desire to

a few recent high profile individual chairs being forced out of office. I have been fortunate over the years

I still have to spend too much of the sport sector to spend less time

to have been around the leadership of

criticising other parts and to concentrate

many industries, and whilst we have

on creating their own excellence.

leadership and leave the egos behind. ●

my time trying to encourage parts of

Andy Reed is the founder of Sports Think Tank, former MP for Loughborough, and chair of SAPCA.

ISSUE 1 2019


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