The 21st century environment requires a nimbleness of thought and decision-making on a daily basis that is proving challenging for almost every sport leader. Having to focus daily on growing the sport you lead while working with key stakeholders from all over the globe, while at the same time addressing national needs, is at best interesting and at worst simply overwhelming.

In T&T, a huge challenge is to return sport participation to previous levels and then manage exponential growth strategically  in a sustainable way. Making choices that are best for the long term viability of sport becomes the strategic priority. Building the understanding and trust across the various stakeholders is also necessary.

Adding value to stakeholders, who are in essence clients, require balancing the increasing demands inherent in a member based non-profit organisation that also functions in a burgeoning commercial industry. Coming up with strategies for the direction of the NSO, specifically on the business development side is proving a significant step up for every single NSO.

Most sport leaders are facing the hard question: how to balance their love of sport with the business of sport while at the same time facing up to the realities of the political side of sport. There need to be some hard choices made; the resistance to change is powerful and influential. Moving local sport forward is a journey. And like every journey it starts with a single step with obstacles to overcome along the way.

Where is T&T on that journey from developing a strategy to making important decisions and delivering on objectives what is our guide? How do we position sport in T&T for accelerated growth? How do we position T&T as an emerging force in global sport? How can we integrate the diverse objectives and agendas to develop a united strategy?

I remain convinced that T&T provides the near perfect stage to develop and sustain a powerful presence in the theatre that is global sport. T&T is alive with potential. Sport talent and potential is in our DNA. What will it take for policy makers and manifesto drafters in the political realm to wake up to the untapped value of sport?

Modern sport is a diverse business. Setting goals, single minded focus on success, being a team player are all leadership skills that are developed from playing sport. NSOs are responsible for governing their sport, following rules and regulations as established by their international federations and at the same time providing member organisations with increasingly demanding service expectations, often in the face of tremendous financial difficulties.

The person ultimately responsible for the strategic direction and implementation for the NSO, for understanding its strengths and weaknesses, is its president. The president must be able to demonstrate the full range of modern leadership skills commonly found in successful corporate and commercial enterprises.

The ability to serve, inspire, motivate, empower, guide and attract the best people. The NSOs brand, image, reputation and commercial value can either be enhanced or diminished by the leader. However, notwithstanding all that has been said previously, the most important people in any sport organisation are the athletes not the sport leaders.

Next week we will take a look at the national sport policy which should be the document that provides the guide and systemic framework for all local sport stakeholders including the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company T&T. Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.

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