Strengthening Relationships

Monday, May. 13, 2013

The USSA's recent self study, facilitated by an independent third-party consultancy well-versed in organizational effectiveness, revealed significant opportunity for improvement in the USSA's national governance structure. At the local level, the USSA's membership and programming is managed and controlled by a network of loosely affiliated associations, each with their own boards, their own decision making processes and their own missions and goals. In one sport alone, there are 17 different such organizations!

This governance system was not purposefully designed and is not adapted for high performance. In many cases, it's been effective despite its inherent flaws, with local associations providing a positive impact in support of the USSA's Vision, Mission, Goals and Values. But in other cases, the work of the local associations has been disconnected from the organization as a whole and has not worked in concert with a unified direction for our sports and our athletes. 
As a national governing body and high performance sports organization, the USSA has made massive gains over the past 15 years against its Best in the World vision.  That vision has had a positive influence on every aspect of the organization, from its elite teams to youth development, to strengthened promotion and enhanced participation. The USSA has evolved and adapted to the demands of modern sport. 
That Vision will also drive an important evolution in the relationship between the USSA and its local associations. The upcoming USSA Congress will mark the start of a process through which the USSA and its partners at the local level will work together to establish stronger and deeper ties.
The USSA will affiliate with its member clubs through its new Club Development Program, creating important standards and endorsements. 
And to better establish the USSA as a club-based organization, which recognizes the essential role of USSA clubs in athlete recruitment and development, the USSA will create well-defined partnerships with its affiliates at the regional and division/state levels, defining a structure through which clubs can be best supported within the USSA's Best in the World vision. 
Just as the USSA's strategic plan, conceived in 2008, has had a major impact on the performance of the USSA's elite team performance, this process of creating strong affiliations and a tighter organization through local level will positively impact the USSA's performance for a long time to come. 
Luke Bodensteiner
Executive Vice President, Athletics
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association

Twitter: @LukeBode_USSA

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