Planning & Doing

January 31, 2012

One of the MHSAA’s counterpart organizations in another state recently asked to see the business plans of other statewide high school associations.  Some of the states supplied their detailed budgets, but most had nothing to offer.

Of course, a budget is a much different thing than a business plan.  A budget is built more on past performance, while a business plan looks more to the potential of future problems and opportunities.  A business plan is much more than numbers.

Since 2007 we’ve been using a “Mission Action Plan” (MAP) at the MHSAA.  It was developed to deal with the opportunities and obstacles of three powerful trends:  (1) growth of non-school youth sports programs; (2) expansion of educational alternatives to traditional neighborhood schools; and (3) proliferating technology.

While not a typical business plan or a classic “strategic plan,” the “MAP” has become increasingly useful to point the way for the MHSAA both in terms of program and finance.  The MAP states a single “Overarching Purpose;” it identifies four “Highest Priority Goals;” and it lists four multi-faceted “Current Strategic Emphases,” many of which have quantifiable performance targets, including financial goals.

Next to each Current Strategic Emphasis are two boxes.  The first is checked if we’ve gotten started, and the second is checked when we’ve completed the task or are operating at the level we had established as our goal.  At this point, every MAP strategy has been launched, but only a portion have earned the second checkmark.

Quite efficiently, the MAP keeps us both strategic and businesslike without the formality of purer forms of strategic or business plans.    

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.