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Gemba Restructure: New Managing Director, Andrew Condon, Speaks On Future Goals

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ports and entertainment agency, Gemba, has announced a restructure into holding company, Tenka Group, with a management restructure of Gemba.

As part of the restructure, the Gemba Group, the holding company that owns Gemba and Turnstile, will know be called the Tenka Group, with Gemba CEO, Rob Mills, set to move to a group CEO role.

Gemba director and head of marketing, Andrew Condon, has been promoted to Gemba managing director as part of the restructure, with Gemba head of finance, Paula Marovitch, and Gemba head of client services, Clare Stewart-Hunter, given equity in the business and named directors of Gemba.

In an interview with Ministry of Sport, now-Gemba managing director, Andrew Condon, discussed the future goals of Gemba and the health of the sports industry.

“The priority for the rest of 2020 is as it has been for the business since March, to provide the best support we can to our people and our clients,” Condon told Ministry of Sport.

“Back in March, we talked about our sole focus being people’s health and financial security.

“To date we have collectively managed to protect jobs and our team is healthy…

“For our clients, who we are incredibly grateful for their ongoing support, we have focused on three key areas; being a ‘trusted advisor’, delivering service excellence and where it makes sense, being proactive.

“Our industry will be heavily disrupted for some time yet so our teams will work hard to help clients navigate the ambiguity of an everchanging sport and entertainment calendar, the provision of data and insights that help make fact based decisions and the implementation of strategies that better prepare them for the opportunities that will come from such a heavily disrupted market.

“While we have some way to go before any resemblance of normality returns –we have started moving forward again.

“Opportunities are opening up in the market and we are well placed to cease them,” he said.

Discussing the future goals of Gemba with the announcement of the restructure, Condon said: “the impact we are looking to have probably doesn’t change.”

“We want to help improve our clients’ businesses and provide rewarding and enjoyable roles for our people.

“Gemba and Turnstile have the focus and leadership they need to execute the Tenka Group’s new five-year business strategy, which we launched to the team last week.

“The Gemba business is in a strong financial position, with good momentum.

“We believe there will be significant opportunities in a heavily disrupted market, and I am excited about leading Gemba through this next phase,” he said.

When asked about the sports industry as a whole and how the sponsorship market is set to change due to COVID-19, Condon said lower-cost models will be more important than ever.

“The theory and practice of strategy development has evolved to accommodate uncertainty – “known unknowns” are nothing new, and in the digital age long term strategic planning is usually gazumped by a new platform or consumer trend that could not have been anticipated,” Condon said.

“A global pandemic has certainly brought this challenge into even starker relief.

“Yet, among our clients in the sports and entertainment sector, certainly prior to COVID-19, three or five-year strategic plans and annual operating budget cycles (linked to the cycle of their season) are the norm.

“Most of these organisations experience massive inertia when it comes to being able to shift course or make important strategic decisions to adjust to crises (like we are experiencing now) or go after new opportunities (which will inevitably come once the current crisis eases).

“The urgent and operational realities of putting on matches or shows week to week too often prevent timely focus on strategic decision-making, or budgeting for uncertainty.

“How to overcome this inertia?

“In a period of uncertainty, how to plan for multiple scenarios, work with the best available information at the time, decide quickly, act decisively, and be prepared to adjust if required?

“At Gemba, we have been working with our clients using an approach we call a “Strategy Hack” – rapid strategic problem solving, using a structured approach over a half-day or full-day, to break through organisational inertia and get to actionable decision-making.

“We have found that by bringing together a cross-section of people from across the client organisation, having plenty of accessible data available to interrogate and test hypotheses in real time, a structured approach to “cracking the case” within the defined timeframe, and with the external perspective of Gemba’s industry knowledge and experience, we have helped organisations stop spinning their wheels and push through to taking action on important strategic issues.

“In a cost-constrained world that our industry now finds itself in, this kind of lower-cost model for facilitated strategic decision-making is going to be even more important.

“For cultural, entertainment and sports organisations (indeed, for most companies), a strategic planning process that takes months, costs a lot, and lacks flexibility is no longer appropriate to the uncertainty of our time.

“As organisations start to move beyond the immediate crisis management mode, and into longer-term thinking about what the future holds and how their strategies need to change, we believe our “Strategy Hack” approach will become more prevalent.

“In addition to this, what COVID-19 has shown us, is the importance of developing and commercialising direct relationships with fans.

“To help sport and entertainment clients do this we have developed a Data Acceleration program.

“Our clients are increasingly awash with data, so we have been refining service offers to help them leverage that data and in turn grow their business.

“We have recently seen a really good example of this with the work we are doing for the Parramatta Eels where a Gemba data strategy consultant is partnered with the Eels business for an initial three month period, working across all business units to engage and mobilise staff, improve data processes and capabilities within the club, and execute specific data-driven marketing and other initiatives to deliver immediate value.

“These projects are backed by the wider Gemba Insights, Strategy and Data & Analytics divisions.

“We are now expanding this offer to other rights holders and in turn to our brand clients,” he said.