O Log - Priorities

[ 3-Mar-06] 

    The USOF board is tasked with looking at priorities, what to do with resources, and coming up with a plan. Alot of discussion, both in person, and by e-mail, has already taken place. I have yet to participate. This is a draft of something I may throw into the discussion, I'm not sure. I think best when I write.

    The first thing that strikes me is the word "priorities". I'm a word nerd, and seem to remember "priority" meaning or coming from a root meaning only "one" or "first". In any case, I feel the idea of "priorities" is an oxymoron; in practical terms, I've always felt USOF wasn't strong enough to have more than one serious priority. Try to do too many things, and you spread yourself thin unless you have a ton of resources. One thought I saw listed no less than 4 priorities. I may be in the minority, but I think that is too much.

    So, what would my priority be? As one who specifically represents competitive interests, it would be either meet quality or improved WOC and JWOC results. As much as I think meet quality is an issue, and have specific ideas on how to use USOF resources that now allegedly exist to improve it, I would chose WOC/JWOC results as USOF's sole priority.

    With meet quality, you use USOF's resources to send a paid controller to the meet site, and check the terrain, course setting, mapping, and map printing. You give this individual authority to recommend pulling sanctioning, and put him under sanctioning, and, as long as the resources are there to fund this controller, it should work most of the time. I'm not sure, but I would imagine the IOF model works along these lines (I'll save my thoughts on specific failure of IOF events I've witnessed for some other time).

    International results are a harder question. You have resources, and the end goal is good results. I don't really have a clue as to how to connect the dots. I will speculate that those dots include 3 things: recruiting athletes, coaching and training athletes, and supporting athletes. Duh.

    Well, that was pretty useless. Perhaps you use the resources to hire someone who knows what the dots are, and how to connect them. I'm probably not cut out to participate in this discussion, so I think I'll pass.

    Finally, I'm not sure of the extent of some of USOF's resources. But I am aware of several buckets that one would think could be allocated to this purpose. If I were looking at this, I would look at it as if I were running a business. I would look at various initiatives, various funding of those initiatives, and the return on those investments. If those returns were lame, I would kill the initiatives, and redirect the resources to my priority (and again set up some sort of metric to see if a reasonable ROI were being achieved). I would eschew phrases (and concepts) such as "5 year plans". Every time I've seen that phrase, and I've seen it in many contexts, I've seen dysfunction.