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24.07.2019 | Olympiakomitea

Definition of success: have a plan with a clear message

New Leaders getting ready to share their action plans in Baku.

The city of winds.  Baku, in Azerbaijan is know for its warm winds blowing over the city. The winds were powerful when the New Leaders participants, from 25 countries landed to Baku to bring to an end the serious of three educational workshops. The participants called the game-changers, are themselves like a strong tornado, bringing new energy into the sporting movement.

The New Leaders workshop 3, the final edition of the workshops, took place at the same time than the Olympic fire was lit for the European Youth Olympic Festival.  The flames, representing the Olympic values of respect, joy and fair play, have been uniting nations from all around the world and from all sorts of backgrounds already for decades. Now, sport makes headlines for as many reasons off the field as on it, putting these core values at risk. Topics of good governance, responsibility and gender equality in sport have raised public attention and made the leaders of sport conscious of the need for new leadership tools, based on high ethical standards. However, challenges can be turned into opportunity.

The New Leaders Sport Leadership Education Programme has 30 game-changers ready to blow new winds into the sports in Europe. Through the programme and with the help of their mentors, the leaders from the top of the sporting world, each game-changer has developed an action plan. An action plan with the aim of changing the course of sports to be more equal and ensuring the future of sports will look bright.

A leader with an action plan is like a lighthouse. A leader with tools to communicate their action plan is like a lighthouse with the lights shining on – attracting the full attention  and leading the ship to its harbour.

It is not about you – it is about them

The third workshop gave a full set of a toolbox for communication. Starting with understanding your audience, the game-changers realised that it is not about you, it is about them. You need to explain your action plan in a way how the audience wants to hear it, rather than forcing the message only from your perspective. As Richard B. Stephenson, the main facilitator put it, “understanding your audience is a form of art. Without understanding, you can never succeed in getting your message through.”

In addition, the game-changers learned to write the main messages in a short, clear and concrete way. Ensuring that anyone hearing their pitch, presentation or a speech will remember it. On top of that the game-changers learned to support their message with strong arguments and evidence.

The game-changers decoded the most difficult code for communication: how to touch emotions. Mandela has famously said” If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart.” Therefore, the fundamentals of rhetoric’s were given, to ensure that the messages from the action plans will be unforgettable.

Looking back, the game-changers have travelled a long journey together since the first workshop in Vilnius, formed a powerful team of game-changers since Dublin and created a fearless group of new leaders, ready to make history. The workshops might be over; however, the journey is not finished. This is only the beginning. New Leaders Forum in Helsinki, November 2019 will be the first milestone to reach with the goal to set standards for the new normal. To have an equal culture of sport, it needs leaders who are not afraid to speak up. It needs new players to change the game with new ideas. It takes you and me. It takes all of us.



New Leaders is a legacy project of Ms Birgitta Kervinen, 2017 IOC Women and Sport World Trophy Winner. New Leaders Programme and its forum are joint efforts of IOC and EOC, run by the Finnish Olympic Committee. NOC’s of Lithuania, Ireland and Azerbaijan are the host countries for the workshops. New Leaders Sport Leadership Programme, its three workshops and a closing forum educate 30 participants to become game-changers in the period of one year. Concrete action plans will be designed on a personal and organisational level, implementing the IOC Gender Equality Recommendations into action and creating a culture of change in Europe.

You can follow the game-changers journey on Instagram @newleaderseurope. More information about the New Leaders Programme and Forum is available at www.newleaders.fi


#NewLeaders #LeadtheChange #GameChangers


For more information please contact the NOC of Finland New Leaders Team:

Niina Toroi, +358 40 672 2220, niina.toroi@olympiakomitea.fi

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