Success Manual

A few months back we talked to you about preparing your colleagues for transition. In that article the topic was lists. Today, we’re taking on another aspect of the same concept, the desk manual.

Rarely do we think about a day when we won’t be involved, in some capacity, in the sports we love. Life happens though and, when it does we need to ensure that we’ve left those who follow in our footsteps well prepared. This is where the business side of our sports comes into play.

How long have you been with your organization? And in that time, how much information have you learned that, while now second-nature to you, had a steep learning curve at the off-set? What about your contacts? How big is the list you’re carry around with no record beyond your cell phone?

If you were to pick up and leave unexpectedly tomorrow, how easy would it be for the person who replaces you to get their hands on keys? Would they know where the equipment you are in charge of is even stored? Do they know your game day routine and how to execute it?

How many clubs really take the time to pass down, from one regime to the next, the actually day-to-day information that would be helpful to start with rather than learning on, say the night before opening day for example, when the mic fails to work during your routine equipment check, that no one met the technician your predecessor scheduled?

Today we’re taking you though some of the bare necessities of preparation that everyone with a role in your organization should compile.

Every person, regardless of their position, should have available on their physical desk somewhere a well-labeled notebook containing the following information:

  • Full list of contacts

  • Complete list of annual responsibilities

  • Annual benchmark dates and/or events that must be attended to

From there, the lists will vary depending on your role with the club.


Create a contact list including emails, phone numbers, emergency contact and addresses for all your relevant game-day personnel.

If there are parameters under which a person will work – for example only on days their kid doesn’t have a game or only when their partner is scorekeeping - make note of these limitations.

Lists that should exist in this manual include:

  • Directors

  • Volunteers & their positions

  • Day workers & their positions

  • Photographers

  • Grounds crew

  • Media team

  • Players

  • Coaches

  • Front Office


  • Daily Routine

  • Practice schedule

  • Personality review of players

  • Health regimen for each player

  • Any physical or mental concerns for individual players

  • Player-by-player assessments including individual workout/nutrition plans and their role within the club

  • Assistant coaches and their roles as well as contact details, what they bring to the table and the best ways to utilize their skills


List of local, national and international media you work with including:

  • Newspapers

  • Magazines

  • Blogs

  • Television

  • Radio

  • Podcasts

Make a list of current contacts for each of the media outlets including contact name, details of how to reach them, what they cover, stories they’ve gone with along with, date of last coverage, events they cover annually for you, any personal details of your contact that help create/maintain connection.

Media folks move around a lot so be sure to include the website, phone number and email nomenclature for the main offices of each outlet. At the start of each season, it is best to reconnect with the prior season’s contact first. If they are no longer available, having this additional information makes quick work of finding out who your new contact will be.

Process for clippings book

Most clubs want to preserve their history. One way to do this is through the maintenance of a clippings book. Printing off online articles and cutting out newspaper coverage are just two such ways to do this. You also want to create digital records of videos, on-air interviews and other historically relevant coverage. We recommend an archives zip drive with a terabyte of space to ensure you have plenty of room for the content.


  • List of current vendors

  • Copy of current contract terms with each vendor

  • Order history for each item so reorder routine is clear

  • Date of last order placed and last receipt date

  • Process for paying invoices

  • Employee contact list

  • Game day preparation process

  • Accounting processes for game-day receipts

  • Homestand preparation processes including orders, booth set up and employees

  • Employee hiring and training forms/requirements

  • Certification or permit requirements

  • Tax laws - for example having to show the tax charged on your receipts - relevant to your local and national code

An information sheet for each vendor including the following details:

  • All contact information

  • Turnaround times

  • Best means of contact

  • Frequency of orders placed

  • Personal details concerning vendor that have helped create a good working relationship


  • Game day routine

  • Order histories and vendors

  • Homestand preparation process including ordering, booth set up and employees

  • Required licenses and permits

  • Training processes for employees

  • Hiring forms and requirements for the various vending positions. For example, is there an age limit for those legally allowed to serve alcohol?

  • Cleaning regulations and routine

  • Hygiene guidelines

  • Accounting processes for game-day receipts

  • Inspection dates for safety, health and fire and how they are arranged

  • Emergency contact details for all employees

  • Emergency procedures in case of medical issues associated with your employees or a fan such as grease burns or food allergies

Government Contact

Perhaps the most important person’s manual to get in order is the person who handles your government interactions including visa requests.

  • Contacts within each government office

  • Best times to reach them

  • Personal details that help make a connection

  • Turnaround times for visa requests

  • Names of forms needed to keep on-hand

  • A visa process schedule that works backwards from the date a player needs to arrive so that a new visa request is filed in a timely manner

  • List of government events attended by the team including dates and dress code as well as person usually sent to attend

  • Regular events where government officials are asked to attend as honorees for the team

  • Any charity events the team or their representatives support for the government on an annual basis

There you have it, a short list of all the ways you can provide your next-in-line with the details they’ll need to hit the ground running.

More importantly though, these manuals are a great way for you to take what is in your head and put it somewhere else for safe keeping. You’ll find freeing up the mental space you’re using to keep track of these details really does add to the speed at which you can work.

It will also provide you with the tools necessary to move forward year-to-year, rather than continuing to recreate past experiences. By having a written record of the changes you’ve made, and why, you and your team will be in a better position to avoid past mistakes such as late merchandise orders or incomplete visa requests. These learning curves keep your team from being as successful, and as profitable, as it otherwise could be.

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