A new competitive edge for world-class sport clubs is the ideation and integration of meaningful professional development for staff. This can be approached via organization, team-of-teams, and individual levels. Through conversations with many members of Leaders in sports around the globe, it seems as though the meso-level – team-of-teams – is the most challenging to do well within a professional or elite sports club.

This article is Step One: The What. It is a creative, pragmatic study of subcultural idiosyncrasies unique to four important staff departments. From this understanding, staff department leaders and management can design impactful professional development programs that are both customized for the department and align with the broader vision of the organization.

There are two categories of analysis below that require a pre-game warm-up. The first is coined 'Shadow.' Stemming from Jungian psychology, the shadow of every group holds ways of being and doing that are repressed or unacknowledged. That which lies in the shadows of a group could be from past history or manifested in the present, be negative or positive, and acted upon, latent, or omnipresent. The sole objective of naming what is within the shadow of each staff team is to move the group forward; thus, in bringing that which remains in the dark to light, growth will ensue. The next concept comes in a pair: 'Conflict' and 'Dream Behind the Complaint.' In a highly competitive, fast-paced environment, it is inevitable that staff teams rub up against other departments. Oftentimes these conflicts are not addressed or avoided; however, finding the essence of yearning that exists within the staff members who feel the conflict can bring healing and growth to the larger group if both spoken with, acknowledged, and received with respect and understanding.

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