Following are the most frequently asked questions about the Sports Conflict Institute (SCI), our services, and our resource center. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any specific questions you may have or feel free to ASK SCI more general questions that might be useful in an upcoming blog or SCI TV episode.
Q. Is hiring SCI a public announcement of a problem or management deficiency?
A. No, not necessarily. SCI’s services range from highly proactive to reactive. Additionally, we work with you upfront to discuss messaging around our engagement and how best to create space for the necessary work that we do. Every organization and team has strengths and weaknesses and the truly successful ones understand the power of seeking external assistance.
Q. Why doesn’t SCI have a listed fees sheet for its services?
A. All of our engagements are customized and specifically tailored to your specific goals, challenges, and needs. We work closely with you to ensure that there is significant value in the engagement by targeting the areas where impact will matter most. Our team consists of both very senior practitioners and those who have been doing this for 5-10 years so that we can staff within your budget constraints, as well. Simply put, we do not offer cookie-cutter solutions since your challenges and opportunities are not cookie-cutter.
Q. Why hire a consultant?
A. There are many reasons for hiring a consultant:
- SCI has the privilege of immersing ourselves in the types of challenges and opportunities that arise within the sports industry both in terms of risk and performance. As a result, we have developed a wealth of expertise and best practices that fast track your path to success.
- The administrators, coaches, and athletes in your organization have significant demands on their time already and may not have the time necessary to do the required research and management for the types of engagements SCI specializes in.
- Whenever the stakes are high – a situation that could damage the credible and objective third-party signals a commitment of the organization to be open and honest in assessing its practices and making them better. Whether proactive or during crisis, this bolsters the reputation of the organization.
- SCI can represent a shortcut to installing best practices through our well-researched and respected models and by doing the research and homework necessary to identify approaches consistent with your organization’s path to success.
- SCI has laser-like focus on the issues faced by sports organizations and teams – we live, sleep, breath, eat, and dream about these matters.
Q. Do we have to choose between risk management and performance optimization?
A. Absolutely not. This is a false dichotomy. In simple terms, different stakeholders are paid to care more about one of these areas over another but our methods and tools are designed to be able to identify and mitigate risk while working toward optimal performance. From our experience, there is no reason to have to choose between the two.
Q. What does it mean when SCI uses the term “Best Practice”?
A. A “best practice” refers to a process or approach that is the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing a task. It is usually time and industry tested, in that it has been used by multiple institutions over an extended period of time, with most practitioners and researchers agreeing that the methodology and outcomes produced are effective. Of course, innovation may speak to improving upon these best practices in ways that are consistent with proven fundamental understanding but novel in their specific application.
Q. What is SCI’s consulting process?
A. In general terms, SCI follows a FIND -> FIX -> SUSTAIN approach to all of its engagements. This typically involves six stages:
1. Alignment on objectives, scope of work, and nature of working relationship.
- Define confidentiality
- Discussion of specific issues, problems, or opportunities (review of preliminary materials for consultant review).
- Understanding of urgency of the engagement – is this an immediate risk to performance or reputation?
- What would success look like at the end of our work together?
- What would a bad outcome look like?
- What risks there surrounding this engagement?
- What are the deliverables for this engagement?
- Define scope with specificity.
- What is the time frame for this work?
- What challenges have you had in addressing these issues before?
- What is the big picture view of the organization and where is it going?
- Who are the key stakeholders?
- Who are the decision makers and sponsors?
- What type of budget parameters are we working with?
- What does the decision-making process for a Go / No Go decision look like?
2. Engagement Agreements
- Formal proposal process
- Agree on scope and approach
- Agree on work products, work activities, and work relationship
- Agree on time frames and identify constraints
- Address issues of access to information and individuals
- Specify roles – who will do what
- Agree on confidentiality for this engagement
- Agree on attribution and levels of anonymity
- Agree on fees and expenses
- Execute written agreement
3. Assessment – Data Collection and Analysis
- Executive the assessment plan
- Gather and analyze data (interviews, surveys, document review, assessment instruments)
- Present and discuss results of assessment with stakeholders
4. Report Review
- \Review draft report with stakeholders
- Produce final report
- Recommend specific interventions
- Identify best practices
- Implement agreed upon activities to address problems or needs
- Assist in evaluating internal options for implementation
- Assist in locating and evaluating other external providers for implementation
6. Sustainment and Evaluation
- Ensure structures, processes, training are on place for sustainment of implementation
- Evaluate the consulting engagement and working relationship
- Review the effectiveness of the interventions