by Nigel Melville
Nigel Melville Direct
Just over a year ago, USA Rugby Chairman, Kevin Roberts introduced me to an acronym used by the military in the 1990’s – VUCA. This acronym has more recently been used in emerging research, strategic leadership and a variety of organizations from corporations to government and education. The VUCA World in which we live requires awareness, readiness, adaptability, resilience and perseverance – key traits of the modern day leader.
In our VUCA World, VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.
As I reach the end of another busy week, I managed to find time to reflect on events and reflect on the VUCA world that we live in.
Just a few weeks ago the USA Rugby Board met in Las Vegas. At the meeting I presented to the Board of Directors a number of changes that I believed necessary to keep our momentum growing.
I believed strongly that the time had come to back an American Eagles 15’s coach, and that I should commit time to help our four National team Coaches (Men and Women, 15’s and 7’s) to fulfill their potential and deliver effective wining programs.
With Jim Snyder now directing Rugby Development, where we have created real momentum in the last 5 years, and Jen Cope overseeing finance, membership and HR, I reasoned that by developing a strong internal marketing/sponsorship/media/broadcast and fundraising department, my focus could turn to High Performance (National teams/talent ID/pathways), key stakeholders (IRB/USOC/Sponsors) and key initiatives such as the NCAA Emerging Sports Program..
The next critical step was for the Board to make their recommendation for the next Eagles coach, we delivered three excellent candidates and I was delighted that they chose Mike Tolkin, I would have been comfortable working with any of them. I was proud of them all, but we could only have one winner!
Of course strategy is fine, but in a VUCA world the key is to be clear about where you are going but flexible about how you get there!
This week, I started our search to appoint a Chief Marketing Officer, and I look forward to concluding that search and developing a strong department that can take advantage of the increasing opportunities that are starting to surface as the economy slowly recovers.
On Tuesday I started to deliver our next steps in developing our playing pathways, particularly for the women. I appointed a special women’s working group that includes our women’s National Coaches, Ric Suggitt and Peter Steinberg, former international sevens coach Julie McCoy, Eagles, Christy Ringgenberg and Farrah Douglas. They will work with Luke Gross and myself to create a strong development pathway for the women’s national sevens and fifteen’s teams.
On Tuesday I also met with Rugby Canada CEO Graham Brown in San Francisco to discuss both international and domestic professional rugby. Our meetings were positive and steps were taken to move both areas of the game forward. Oh, and for those asking about Super Rugby franchises, I skyped with Super Rugby CEO Greg Peters today about their plans from 2016, he certainly helped me understand their thinking and the opportunity that could open up in the USA.
On Wednesday morning I flew to San Diego to meet with the men’s and Women’s sevens teams, and as you know by now, made changes to the Eagles Sevens Coaching team. During the last 5 years I have worked closely with outgoing coach Al Caravelli, he took over a floundering program and turned it into a core IRB Series team. In recent months the team have not performed to the sum of their parts, and that has to be fixed. I am proud of what Al achieved with the team, he took the team to their first final in Adelaide, and is passionate about the program. I know we all wish him well, and I have no doubt that this is not the end of his coaching career, his goals to coach the team to Olympic Gold have not gone away!
Of course, in a VUCA world, just when you think the coaches are all in place, we had to make a change, so yesterday evening I spoke to Alex Magleby and within hours we had agreed a deal. Alex will start working with the team next Monday at the Olympic Training Center. Alex will be Head Coach of the team for their final four series events, we will encourage coaches to apply to be considered for the role, but Alex is currently the man in possession – and I know he would like to keep it!
I am looking forward to working closely with all our National Coaches, and delighted that they have now all agreed to work across the development pathways, attend camps, coach and help coaches and players at all levels maximize their potential – this has not always been the case with our National Team coaches and has been a source of considerable personal disappointment. Rugby has to be ‘for all’ not just the few, and to that end, I am looking forward meeting and supporting Rugby Indiana with their fundraising efforts this weekend.
One last piece of news is that Dave McCann joined USA Rugby today as Head of Coach Development. Dave held a similar position at the USOC and will be a massive asset to us as we re-vamp our coaching offerings.
Exciting times for rugby, but still a VUCA world!
With an impressive resume as player, coach and administrator, Nigel David Melville took over as CEO and President of Rugby Operations of USA Rugby, the National Governing Body of the sport in America, in 2006. In addition to his full time job promoting the sport in the U.S., Melville has launched his own blog, Nigel Melville Direct, to further the discussion and his passion for what it will take to make the U.S. a great rugby playing nation.
CLICK HERE to read more on Nigel Melville
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