Grant Thornton agrees UK Athletics partnership deal

13 November 2015 3 min. read

Grant Thornton and UK Athletics have joined forces to strengthen each other’s teams. Grant Thornton will second a number of its staff into UK Athletics’ teams to help the organisation prepare for the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, while experts from UK Athletics in sports team dynamics will strengthen the performance of leadership within Grant Thornton.

UK Athletics (UKA) was founded in 1999 and succeeded the British Athletics Federation. The organisation is made up of four member organisations, each stemming from the UK’s four constituent countries: England Athletics, Scottish Athletics, Welsh Athletics, and Athletics Northern Ireland. The organisation’s goal is to further the cause of Athletics within the UK and abroad, as well as governance of athletics events; athletes; their development; and athletics officials.

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Grant Thornton UK’s vision is to improve the UK’s economy through unlocking potential for growth in dynamic organisations and supporting excellence through their expertise. At the same time, the consulting firm is also looking for experts from other fields to support the unlocking of potential within their team dynamics. The UKA, whose world class people support some of the top performing athletics competitors and teams in the world, are looking for fresh business related ideas to support the creation of their events. To support each other, the two organisations joined together in a five year alliance.

Grant Thornton, over the coming two years in the run up to the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, will support the UKA in review and practice process in preparation for the event. The firms will second some of its people to the organising team, “challenging them to learn quickly in a short-term project environment and then bring those learnings back into the business.” So far, a number of secondment posts have already been taken up by Grant Thornton specialists, and more will join teams at the UKA when they become available. Grant Thornton will further support the UKA through enhancements to its leadership and coaching programme, focus particularly on the trust and culture necessary for high performance.

On the other side, the UKA’s elite athletics coaches will impart their knowledge and best practice for teams to Grant Thornton’s leaders, thereby instilling new ways of working that “ignites patterns of behaviour supporting growth and development.” Further guidance will be provided to develop an event programme before and during the games for the firm’s people, clients and other stakeholders.

Kylie Roberts and Niels de Vos

“We believe that insights into world-class coaching will help us on our journey to becoming a high-performance coaching organisation. We have a vision to create a shared enterprise way of working and to do that our leaders need to be exceptional coaches and enablers,” comments Kylie Roberts, Director of Leadership Development at Grant Thornton UK. “We are partnering with UKA to work with us on coaching excellence and likewise we work with them to create high performing teams and a high performing organisation that can excel in a volatile, uncertain, ambiguous and complex world.”

Niels de Vos, CEO of UK Athletics, adds: “Our partnership with Grant Thornton is an exciting development that brings together business excellence and sporting excellence. A feature of great leaders in business and coaches in sport is the constant desire to learn and improve, this partnership will allow both sides to capture and share knowledge, in order to nurture and develop high performing individuals and teams.”