The American Society for Quality features a relatively-new special interest group called Quality in Athletics.
For the last few months, I’ve been in a mood. An angry mood, the kind of mood where you feel like you’ve been misled for years.
I absolutely love sports for the strategy, competition, top-talented individuals, and the behind-the scenes planning for winning games. I also appreciate sports as a business – bringing the game to fans and providing an entertainment outlet that builds on the quality of life.
But then I see this:
And that’s just about matters related to the FIFA World Cup. That doesn’t include the NCAA’s handling of amateurism relative to the huge revenues brought in by colleges from athletics, the Donald Sterling fiasco, Richie Incognito’s treatment of teammates, CTE of NFL retirees, and the overall priority of revenue dollars over safety of those who do all the heavy lifting to build those dollars.
It’s very disheartening to defend and help improve the sports industry for all stakeholders (teams, players, owners, administrators, fans) when a blind eye is turned toward “respect for people“. Sports does such a great job of separating “the love of the game” from the actual costs (the lives of players, builders, and animals being the biggest) of putting such revenue-driving events on.
My writing has slowed significantly for a couple reasons. The biggest one is that it’s so frustrating to have affection and celebration for an industry that is so far behind the times in treatment of individuals. We might think that traditional industry does a lot of things wrong, but the sports industry is decades away from simply catching up to the traditional levels of competency. There’s so much to cover, and I don’t know where to begin. Nothing is simple when the great wealth of the highest-ranking few in the industry is under fire.
To say that I am sickened by the industry because of this would be an understatement. I want to help, but sometimes you can’t help those who don’t want it and simply don’t care. It’s so infuriating, it’s so sad, it’s so corrupt. And we as a sports-viewing public do not hold leaders accountable enough. We get bent out of shape when the media gets its teeth sunk in (Sterling, steroids, Incognito) but when the mass population is largely unaware of the travesty that is the Qatar World Cup no one stands up for what’s right.
But today I make an announcement that I hope gets the boulder rolling up the mountain we have to climb to improve aspects of quality in sports organizations…and a call to action for you.
I have been appointed to ASQ’s Quality in Athletics special interest group. The key activities of QIA as of today are:
1. Improve athletic programs through the use of quality tools
2. Give teams a forum to share best practices
3. Provide new opportunities for former athletes
QIA also has a LinkedIn group: Quality in Athletics. QIA has been in existence for a couple of years but needs help in getting feedback, suggestions, and attention. We will be further establishing a committee of knowledgeable quality practitioners who have experience or understanding of quality applications in the sports industry.
So here are my calls to action for you.
– Join the LinkedIn group for Quality in Athletics. It’s free to join and will feature athletics-related content. (I’m not yet an administrator but will have that capability soon.)
– Subscribe to the Lean Blitz blog if you haven’t already. I’ve made some format changes to subscriptions (going with MailChimp instead of the not-so-snappy WordPress subscriber interface for those not going through FeedBurner) and posts would only hit your mailbox once per day at most. I will begin to merge Lean Blitz blog activities with initiatives of QIA.
– Share key content you read about quality in athletics with athletics administrators you think need it most. I have a lot here, but the LinkedIn group has experts sharing content and Mark Graban continues to write great Lean content about healthcare and sports.
There will be more later, such as surveys and ASQ group membership, but this is a start.
If QIA can stop even one death as a result of a league executive saying “I read somewhere that we can do this safer. Let’s do this right instead of letting someone get hurt” then we will have been successful.
Join us and support us. We need your help. Sports needs your knowledge and expertise.