So, you take over your new position, move into your new office and notice that you need a new printer cartridge. You call your predecessor and he tells you, “Just stop by the front office and Joe will give you a new one.” You introduce yourself to Joe and ask for a new printer cartridge. Joe hands you a form and requires it being filled out in triplicate and submitted a week prior to your needing the order fulfilled.
Joe and your predecessor worked together for 8 years. Their kids went to school together and spend their summers together at the pool. Your predecessor knew Joe and Joe knew him. Their relationship was built upon trust and, for that reason, your predecessor was able to work more effectively.
This relationship is a microcosm of the relationship between you and your community of supporters. If you get pissed off because your fans don’t show up in droves or donate their estate to your program, maybe it’s you or at least the relationship between you and them.
Relationships are built on trust and trust is non-transferable from one person to the next. You build trust with your fans by being there for them… and I mean being there for them more than they are there for you (because sometimes, they won’t be there for you… sorry, it’s part of coaching. Parents, you can relate.). You build trust by pulling back the curtain and sharing behind-the-scenes content, such as video of your pre-game prep. You send tweets that show real emotion and are not filtered through your pre-wired mental-bureaucracy that has been installed by your institution. When your fans know you as well as Joe knows your predecessor, then you can expect better attendance, increased support and stronger fundraising.
You can put your head down and trudge forward with the belief that if you just teach your athletes better technique, you will be successful. Or you can build relationships, network with your community and open the doors to true, lasting success.
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