Planning for Our Success
Background and Purpose
In 2009, the Institute and Irish Sports Council (ISC) designed the High Performance Planning (HPP) process to help sports deliver performance improvements, to improve communication and understanding of the challenges facing sports and to help the ISC make targeted investment decisions.
The process is designed to be adaptable to each sport and to grow in value, as a high performance planning exercise year on year in order to develop sustainable levels of excellence in international sport. Every element and aspect of the investment application is designed to be an element of a world class, effective high performance plan.
More informatino on the performancce planning process is outlined below in the following sections:
Facilitating Sustainable Performance Improvement
The High Performance Planning process aims to:
· Help focus investment on sports best placed to succeed at world level
· More comprehensively meet the need of each of the targeted sports
· Ensure each of the presented performance plans are backed by strong supporting rationale
· Focus investment on critical performance impact areas
· Facilitate holistic planning, monitoring, evaluation and continuous feedback loop
· Create a Team Ireland philosophy which demonstrates clarity and unity of purpose
· Value the roles of each of the key stakeholders
Process Review and Development
The planning process was reviewed and restructured in 2011 through the following steps:
- A survey was sent to all High Performance Directors (PDs) involved in the planning process to obtain their opinions, feedback and suggestions for improvement from their experience of the process to date.
- The focus group of PDs were invited to a ‘Planning Process Review Session’ to decide on what aspects of the process to keep, remove or change and a plan of action to implement the changes. The proposed new HPP process was presented to PDs so that they were given the opportunity to input into any additional changes. Representatives from 14 sport National Governing Bodies attended.
- The new process for 2012 High Performance Planning began on 1st July 2011.
Findings from the Review
Some of the benefits of the High Performance Planning process identified by PDs were:
- Encourages reflection, analysis and evaluation, leading to improved planning
- Increases communication between sports, ISC and Institute
- Facilitates strategic change
- Enhances internal communication and clarity/awareness of the ‘big picture’
- Helps identify needs and risks
- Provides clearer direction and focus on goals
- Facilitates role clarity
- Clarifies support needs
Challenges and solutions
As with any new process it was expected that not all of the feedback received would be entirely positive. PDs expressed their difficulties with building their HP Plans such as finding it difficult to coordinate input from their high performance coaching and support team members. To help in this regard the time for completing the plan was increased from 6.5 weeks to 3 months. The Institute and the ISC are available to assist, advise and answer queries throughout the planning process.
It was also clear that that there was a perception amongst some PDs that the level of detail required was excessive. In response, the requirements were streamlined significantly to focus on operational rather than strategic objectives which will be considered in the future as part of a quadrennial plan.
Even though PDs said that the feedback on their plans that they received from the Institute was useful, the feedback mechanism was reviewed and made more transparent.
Some challenges remain such as making the planning process more adaptable to the fast changing nature of high performance sport. Also, a quadrennial planning process will be initiated for the next Olympic/Paralympic cycle.
These are challenges that the Institute and the ISC are determined to address in collaboration with sports, to build on the benefits achieved from the process so far and further help to develop sustainable world class high performance systems and appropriate services to support these systems.
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