Good Luck vs. Good Management

A survey administered by ESPN magazine today proclaimed the Toronto Maple Leafs as the worst of all major sports teams in basketball, baseball, hockey, and football. That’s 122 teams! (Read the full article here.)

Of the survey’s eight criteria, the Leafs came in last or second last in four categories, and ranked no higher than 104th (and that was for likeability of the stadium).

Leafs fans are in high dudgeon over the news. But whether you agree with the extreme nature of the results or not, you have to admit – something is surely wrong with the management of the Leafs brand.

Voice of the Customer

What is it the Leafs are missing? The eight criteria in this survey include:
*Bang for the Buck (wins vs. fan-generated revenue)
*Fan Relations (treatment of fans by players, coaches, and management)
*Ownership (honesty and loyalty to core players and the community)
*Affordability (tickets, concessions, parking)
*Stadium Experience (quality of arena, promotions, and environment)
*Players (effort and likability)
*Coaching (strength of leadership)
*Title Track (championships already won or expected)

I was pretty impressed by this list. It’s varied, it includes both objective statistics (revenues, wins, quality measurements) and subjective statistics (honestly, loyalty, leadership, likability), and it has about ten years behind its methodology for consistency and comparison.

Let’s look at the subjective measures a bit more closely. Do you notice a theme here? Half of the criteria are directly linked to the customer, and I would argue the other half are at least indirectly related.

Does Leafs management use the voice of the customer in its brand strategy? Hard to say, but I’m going to guess “no”, based on the Fan Relations score (119th).

What Gets Measured Gets Done

Leafs fans are unique in that they tend not to vote with their feet. Despite being “the worst team in major sport”, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to sell out each game. This probably has more to do with sentimentality of its place in hockey history and its knucklehead die-hard fans than good administration.

Most business owners do not have this luxury. Customers vote with their feet all the time, and the only – and I mean only – way to avoid this is to measure what is important to them, and take appropriate action based on the results. Click to Tweet.

I would love to be a fly on the wall of the leafs Management Team as they discuss this survey. A strong team will take this as critical feedback, perform root cause analysis, do some customer surveys, engage staff and players in developing action plans, put project plans and project leadership in place, and set its own performance goals for the coming year. A poor team will blame the survey methodology, highlight excellent attendance records, and maintain the status quo.

What would you do?

Until next week…..

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