Can organisations with poor corporate governance succeed?

On occasion, they might but more often, a poorly managed organisation will struggle to prosper. In the past few years the Melbourne Football Club has lurched from one disaster to another and it seems that the more we hear, the more we realise the Club appears to have ongoing and endemic governance problems.

Compliance might start at the top, but will only be truly effective if it is embedded throughout the organisation from the President to the bootstudder. Compliance is not something that is temporary or the responsibility of a single person, such as a Compliance Manager or Integrity Officer.

All employees of any organisation must understand that the entity as a whole can only thrive, whatever its purpose, when compliance is at the forefront of an organisation and not something given lip service.

When I was with the Victorian gambling regulator, one of the chief concerns was the inability of both big and small clubs to appreciate the responsibility that comes with operating a gaming venue. Too often club boards have a shortage of diversity and experience because of a lack of personnel prepared to volunteer their time. Those that do volunteer have passion for the club’s core purpose –whether it be a golf club, an RSL or an AFL club – but often with insufficient interest in all the other responsibilities which come with being accountable for running an organisation.

Melbourne Football Club President, Don McLardy, has stated that the greater the scrutiny on volunteers, such as Directors of AFL clubs, the harder it will be to find individuals willing to put their names forward to take on these responsibilities.

The employees of all clubs should take note of these comments. Their failure to buy in to the need for compliance may generate the heat on the volunteer board. In return, those same employees may find their jobs at risk as clubs which struggle at Board level regularly see major change amongst their employed personnel, too.