A thought on USA Rugby: Does mediocre Board performance ultimately effect on field performance? 6

As we prepare for the RBEA in San Diego next week (and now the rubber match v Canada which suddenly has significance after today’s 28-28 debacle), I look most forward hearing  from Chairman Chang & CEO Payne on the focus/vision our Union has for our national teams.

National Teams (i.e. Eagles) are the litmus test for ‘how we are doing’!

For me, our national team performance is a measure against all other nations (and ourselves) of ‘how we are doing’ developing rugby in the USA.  For example, our elite teams are the best our nation can offer (men and women). They are the ‘results’ of all the work that everyone in the chain is doing. I hold this to be true from the Board level down to the people lining the fields for the U/10’s at 7 a.m. in the morning.  If there is any truth to this assessment, today’s match (and the previous two games in the summer series) was a sad indictment on the current state of affairs.

I’ve written ad nausea about the need for a world class Strategic Plan, independent audits (particularly high performance), how these audits must be linked to a plan, and then supported by a business plan.  This is how functional organizations operate. I will leave it to the reader to assess the functionality of USA Rugby.

In Strategy 2020, Our CEO calls for the ‘Big 2’; i.e.. growth and awareness. There is absolutely ZERO mention of high performance/elite team results in the strategy summary and there are fairly uninspiring comments in the ‘CEO Immediate Priorities’ section.

Ineffective Boards lead Ineffective Organizations

Once again it is clear that Payne gets absolutely no guidance from his Board. Anyone with any executive experience will pick apart this plan as having ZERO metrics upon which to measure our performance. With exception of a small fund raising amount mentioned, there is nothing measureable and certainly no agenda on how to get there.

I commend USAR having several Harvard MBA’s on our Board, former international ambassador’s and marketing geniuses, etc… I wonder if the two Board members to be announced in August might actually do what Board members are supposed to do; i.e., guiding the CEO to implement the Strategic Plan of the organization. This is how functional organizations operate.  Guide the CEO.  Not create RIM in the absence of any overarching plan, not create The Rugby Channel and continue to support these two questionable entities – but simply ‘guide the CEO and implement the Strategic Plan’.  That is the job of the Board per USA Rugby’s by laws. At this point, USAR has demonstrated little  vision other than ‘get more kids to play’.  Getting more kids to play must certainly be part of a longer term vision/focus, and I will listen keenly and with optimism on Friday June 30 at the RBEA to hear about it.

Spoiler Alert: We haven’t had a Strategic Plan for 10 years, and my comments in this blog regard the recently released Strategy 2020, which is not a plan at all. And certainly not one with any metrics from which to judge our elite teams.

Yes, I am saying that mediocre board performance and lack of vision and leadership over the past 10 years and continuing today effects what we see on the field.  This was clear in full focus watching today’s match.

Operational? Divisive? #marni

Other articles I have written on this topic


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