Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to become an athletics director - Part 9 - Investing in yourself

There are many types of investments you can make - real estate, as well as stocks and bonds are common. But how about investing in something more sustainable and completely under your control – yourself? Not all personal profit is financial. Using some of your hard earned cash for something that yields dividends throughout your life is important, even if it requires meaningful financial sacrifices.

One of the leading excuses why people don’t go to conferences and meetings or advance their education is that their institution won’t pay for it. This approach can be revealing. You can and should invest in yourself.  If you aren't willing to, why not? And if you aren't willing to, what does this say to others about your commitment and belief in yourself? Compound interest is an amazing concept and it works not only in financial terms but in terms of investment in your skills, knowledge, and professional connections. If you aren't willing to invest financially and with your time outside of your job to advance your career, how hungry are you? Have you made any financial sacrifices recently?

Take this needed step to advance your education. Enroll in the Sports Management Institute. Register for a webinar. See a motivational speaker. Subscribe to the Sports Business Journal. Purchase a new book (preferably something outside of the sports biography genre) or borrow one from the library. Obviously it’s ideal if someone will pay for all of your costs or at least assist with your costs. But if they won’t, are you investing your own capital and building your brand, your base and your future?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How to become an athletics director - Part 8 - Your current AD as a mentor

Most people who are successful can look back on their careers and identify key people who served as mentors to them as they made their way in this profession.  Who you work for is just as important, if not more so, as where you work.  

Working for someone who has a track record of growing his/her staff from within and developing staff is a very attractive opportunity.  Do you consider your current boss a mentor and role model?  If not, then identifying someone who can serve in this capacity for you is important.  AD's who take promotion and staff development seriously and provide consistent and productive feedback are incredibly valuable.  Someone who is a demanding, principled and experienced can provide a lifetime worth of lessons and opportunity through their guidance and trust in your skills.  

A mentor of mine often used to say that "you take a job for the next job."  Said differently, you aren't likely to be in the job you currently have for life.  Knowing how your current position or a new opportunity you are considering positions you for the opportunity beyond this job is important and thoughtful planning in your career path.  Looking at those who have walked the path before you can provide clues about how a position you are considering might position you for the future.  Have any senior associate AD's gone on to bigger and better opportunities?  Do people within the department show progressive upward movement?  If you see some of these patterns, you could be entering a good situation.  Just as there are coaching trees, there are AD trees as well.  Working for a leader who has staff who move on to greater opportunities could be just the launching pad you need to contribute to your professional growth.  

I was invited to speak last year at the NACDA Convention in Orlando, Florida and present a talk entitled "Moving from the business office to the athletic director's chair." Since that talk a number of people have asked me for a copy of my comments and notes.  Since these requests keep coming, I have created a multi-part series that recaps and expands on the NACDA talk.  I am far from an expert, but I hope my experiences make this series valuable and thought provoking.