From the CEO: Learning to Drive with Both Feet


This article appears in the January edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

I was in a USA Lacrosse board meeting last November outlining our efforts to prioritize the most impactful programs and initiatives. This strategy discussion was rooted in data, insights and a great deal of business-, sport- and mission-based subject matter expertise with talented people who care deeply about the game.

The takeaway: We needed one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas at the same time.  This meant deemphasizing programs that were not having the desired impact or were not core to mission and business outcomes. It’s hard to be great at everything. If we have an hour to spend, how are we spending it? If we have a dollar to spend, how are we spending it? The answer should clearly point to the most effective and impactful programs. It can be hard, but necessary to say “no” or “not now.”

This also meant accelerating those initiatives having the greatest impact. This two-foot drill is not easy. How do we assess and prioritize?  First, the mission remains our north star. Second, we have three goals that support that mission: participation (of all kinds), revenue (to put right back into the game) and national team performance (the responsibility of a governing body).

We outlined the many initiatives we work on. We then ranked them based on various criteria such as impact on goals, alignment with mission, costs and desired outcomes.

It’s part art, part science. But the themes are clear.

  • In addition to the field discipline, Sixes and box are gaining momentum.

  • Lacrosse is national — and local. An integrated strategy focused on targeted communities is more effective getting and keeping sticks in kids’ hands. This means a welcoming, affordable pathway to teams, access to fields and equipment, a pool of coaches, officials and volunteers and financial/fundraising models to support them. All these elements must be in place for a program to thrive.

  • Content is still king and queen. It is our most effective way to educate, inform and engage players, coaches and volunteers.

  • Differentiating USA Lacrosse membership from philanthropy is important. The two are different and the motivations and benefits of each are different.

  • Diversity is always front of mind in our programming. All types of diversity are relevant, including but not limited to race, gender, ethnicity, geography, age and ability.

  • Research, data and insight are a must to understand and serve our customers and the greater lacrosse community.

Cheers to putting these themes into action as we begin the new year.

— Marc Riccio, USA Lacrosse President and CEO

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