Posts Tagged ‘Brad Reid’

After more than a year of self-proclaimed “finding out what breeders want”, with online surveys, regional forums, and invitations to contribute ideas, the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Association (NZSBA) produced its three-year strategic plan. Excellent.

As blog readers know, I’ve had real issues with some of this “consultation”, but at least it is a start and we can improve on it.

And now with a plan that includes a large list of Key Actions, I would assume the next steps for the NZSBA and its members would be to group and prioritise those actions into specific projects, develop some clear workstreams around the core ones, and perhaps set up some inclusive/expert working groups (for god’s sake lets not call them committees) to come up with some more detailed options, costings, and proposals for further debate and development. All with clear milestones and transparent reporting.

But no. What we get instead is NZSBA chair John Mooney once again flying a personal kite in the January issue of Harnessed magazine – and inviting readers to comment and “perhaps contribute other options”. No structure, no criteria. It is not the first time this has happened. This time Mooney wants to “throw in an idea” to get rid of the 2yo and 3yo fillies Sires Stakes series and redistribute that funding around 90 bonus payments for other races.

John Mooney and NZSBA Strategic Plan

Planning versus kite flying – what is the NZSBA’s priority right now?

Where did this come from? Left field? Late night data crunching on the computer? Some politics regarding the Sires Stakes Board? Who knows.

Certainly it doesn’t seem to come from the regional forums or other consultation, and Mooney claims it as his own idea (albeit heavily borrowed from a thoroughbred scheme). And how odd that it was flagged up as a “from the chair” item in Harnessed magazine instead of in the new fortnightly Breeding Matters newsletter ably put out by executive Brad Reid. What does that say about Breeding Matters as a key method of communication between the NZSBA and its members?

I have no doubt about John Mooney’s passion and commitment to harness racing and the NZSBA. But this sort of personal kite flying, especially after a year or so of supposedly asking breeders for their ideas, is simply inappropriate and very odd timing.

What is the point of diverting the focus from the new strategic plan to some out-of-the-blue speculative but specific scheme that he doesn’t even relate back to the strategic plan?

I know at work when I have several tough, big or boring projects to get stuck into, I’m tempted to delay by diverting into a more creative, speculative task that I find interesting. I can only suppose that’s the case here. It’s a very human thing to do.

I also know from work experience, that the only way to convert a strategy into actual deliverable results is to use a pretty robust programme/project management approach. It’s not rocket science. It just requires some rigour, structure and some accountabilities.

My big concern is that NZSBA will continue to be driven by these one-off ideas, developed in isolation and with no criteria against which they can be measured and compared for potential investment (of time, resources, budget). The last one was the North Island Breeders Association proposal for a mares credit scheme. There is nothing wrong with these schemes/ideas individually, it is just a lack of context and process that gets me frustrated. Thinking outside the square is great, but put some structure around the brainstorming.

“Random” will not get us to our objectives.

The Strategic Plan isn’t perfect but please, please, try to build on it rather than undermine it with “left field” proposals particularly coming from the top (and therefore seen to have more clout).

I put my hand up to share some basic project management tools that could help make that transition from plan to actions, and make implementation more inclusive and transparent. It doesn’t stop creativity and discussion, it just channels it.

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