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Avoid Professional “Sheep Dip” Development

Sheep Dipping is a process used by farmers where they dip their sheep into pesticides to protect them from infection. It’s a professional and proactive way to look after the safety, well-being and value of their assets.

Unfortunately, clubs and businesses, in general, try to use the same approach in the provision of professional development training for their team members or staff. So-called, “sheep dip” training usually involves taking staff out of the workplace and into a classroom-type environment for a session or day(s), with the expectation they will return to work with a host of skills that are ready to be implemented into the work environment.

The reality is that team members go back to work, fall into their routines and the information they have absorbed quickly fades and is forgotten. At best, at some future point, they are faced with a situation and can recall what they learnt “all that time ago”.

In our upcoming Club Managers Webinar ( we delve into Professional Development and look at ways to avoid some of the problems that result from “sheep dip” training. Specifically, we will focus on getting you to:

  1. Determine your knowledge gaps and areas of required competency

  2. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and how you learn best

  3. Create goals and plan your professional development

Knowing what’s expected of you and the key areas of knowledge and skill that make you competent in your role is a good starting point. These are sometimes obvious or can be sourced from your position description or your Board, CEO or Manager. However, it goes beyond this, and self-awareness is critical to being a successful manager and leader. Being able to deliberately “observe” yourself as you go about your workday and gauge the reactions of those around you, enables you to reflect and consider ways to improve.

You are most likely to succeed in your career as a club manager if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and manage them so they don't impact your work. Identifying strengths and weaknesses, and analysing the opportunities and threats that flow from them is especially powerful. A personal SWOT, can separate you from your peers, and further develop the specialised talents and abilities you need to advance your career and help you achieve your goals.

Studies have shown the clear benefits of taking the findings from your self-reflection and self-analysis and creating a written professional development plan. A professional development plan will help you identify the skills you still need to develop to move forward in your club management career and also help you identify the steps to gain those skills.

It’s not about avoiding “sheep dip” training, rather, it’s about taking the initiative to determine what you need for your career development and personal professional growth.

If you would like to dial into the 12th July webinar to explore this and other aspects of Leadership and Management, please go to


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