The Ideal Federation
I was recently asked by one of the two Axe Throwing Federations to which Choppers Hatchet House is a member: “As a member, what are you looking for from the Federation?” It had me pause. I thought it was a GREAT question. Honestly, just knowing to ask that question is a good sign. It is not everything, but it clearly shows that we are valued as a member. Having a voice that is heard is important to members. To know what your member’s needs and wants are, allows federations to really understand their role in our existence, which makes up their federation.
Throughout this article, I am going to refer to either sanctioning body as a “Federation” and I am going to refer to the venues as “Members”. Both sanctioning bodies refer to each as different things. These two terms just come out easier for me.
I have put a lot of thought into this question at different times. I never compiled it all at once. Hopefully this attempt captures all the different things I’ve pondered.
This is NOT a comparison of IATF and WATL. It is my answer of what I, as a member, want from a Federation. I will be releasing a comparison article of the two sanctioning bodies later on. I am almost finished the article. A simple comparison in one place for someone looking to open up an axe throwing venue and making that decision. It will not be my opinions, but rather a compilation of all (to date) public facts compiled into one article to help someone make an informed decision.
I think it can be summed up in a few buckets.
|Providing Tools||Follow Through|
Simply knowing what is going on. Nobody likes to be blindsided. Right or wrong, everyone forms opinions, especially in the absence of transparency. If we are a member of a Federation, I would expect to be involved or at least kept abreast of inner workings or upcoming changes. If a mistake was made or something that was rolled out was broken, admit it. There is nothing wrong with something not working. It’s what the federation does to address it that matters. Pretending something works when it clearly doesn’t, isn’t helpful. It is actually insulting to pretend it (whatever it may be) is ok. A federation shouldn’t have the stance of : “Anything done wrong is in the past. Anything we do is because we are perfect.” None of us are.
Having a voice is just as important as having transparency. True effective communication is not one-way. That is called direction. Silencing things they don’t want to hear or address is NOT communication. That is censorship.
The methods of communication should be consistent. I should not be accustomed to finding out (about anything) through conference calls or emails, but then suddenly have needed to check a website without being prompted to, or find out in a random social media post. I should also get information from ONE person.
Providing The Tools Needed
If we are asked to do something within a federation, I should have the tools to do so. Imagine going to work as a carpenter everyday and instead of having the hammer needed to frame a wall, I was expected to build the same wall with a screwdriver. Its absurd. If the tools I have are causing more of a headache for me than they are helping me, that is not okay.
As most of these do have aspect of the other in them, being open to listen to feedback and creating along with the end users. None of us know what is best. Not the federation, not the developers, and not the end users. Developing TOGETHER will get the best end results in the fastest manner.
There is nothing more frustrating than throwing a perfect game and missing your last throw. Not crossing the finish line. Getting to the 1 yard line and not making the touchdown. Put it however you want, but not completing things drives me nuts! We can have all the back and forth communication, full transparency, a plan in place…. and then nothing. Following through with projects or promises is what is needed. Stopping the project? Let us know, and let us know why. Maybe someone else has an idea or solution to get it closer to completion. Maybe they are willing and able to pick up and run with it. As members, we want the federation to succeed as well and can and will offer assistance where we can.
To be more specific, MEANINGFUL Value, not what a federation wants us to believe is “Value”. Value to me is all the other buckets firing on all cylinders. Here is a good example: Asking for input about something being developed. Then having transparency about development timeline communicated on this product coming out that will help with (just say) scoring, and actually roll it out. Handing out an incomplete project is totally fine IF they are willing and able to receive feedback and implement changes in a timely manner.
Value to a venue owner also changes from venue to venue. Being able to adapt and provide different value to different venues is not easy. However, being flexible and open-minded is not too much to ask.
This one is probably the hardest for a federation as well as for members. That doesn’t make it less important. As members, we should be recognized as an important part of the federation. Not just from a standpoint of being a number to tout and say they have X number of members. Without us, there is no federation. We each provide value to the federation. It is up to the federation to ask, us or show us what you want from us. Are you looking for sheer numbers of members? Is it dialog from many different views, experiences, or opinions? Let us know how we can provide value.
The federations also need to recognize that we the members can not be expected to carry water for them. We decided to open an axe throwing venue. They decided to start a federation. Let’s keep that front of mind when putting an ask on the members, or on the federation. Recognizing what each of us signed up for and what our place is. We can both decide how much MORE we want to do for each other, but it can not be expected or required.
The recognition of a venue to chose to be a part of a federation does not mean we need to bear the costs of their projects. Because we chose to be a part of the federation does not mean we have final say on things. We look to them to actually have this final say. Recognizing where the line is when it comes to operation of our business versus running sanctioned league play and safety during league play. We also need to recognizing that we are not business partners.
Where Does This Leave Us
These are just MY ideal Federation values along with some explanation. They may change for everyone else. Everything here is an opinion. No one federation will get everything right for every venue. However, I think the buckets above are probably a good list. After all, this is a relationship we are in. Not that I know the first thing about a healthy relationship, but they are similar.
As with a relationship, there are toxic things that have no place in a federation / member relationship. Anger Management is a pretty important one. Fairness is required. There should be no “Do as I say, not as I do” type of things going on. If these things are present, it’s setting up the relationship for failure.
Having a better relationship between “us” and “them” means the term WE can be used more, and with a greater sense of pride.
Co-Owner of Choppers Hatchet House