Are you an established sport leader who’s ready to take on a new challenge? Are you an aspiring PD looking for guidance on the next step? About the PD Role Performance Directors are the ultimate lead of a sport’s high performance or World Class Programme. They are often described as the architects and orchestrators of performance. Throughout each four-year cycle PDs work closely with their team of technical leads (Heads of Coaching, Performance Support, Technology & Innovation, Pathways, and Operations); setting out, developing and driving through the vision and strategy for how the sport intends to achieve success at World and Olympic/Paralympic level over the next 4-8 years. The scope and scale of the PD role varies according to the size of the sport, the maturity of the performance system in place and the number of medal opportunities available. Despite these variations, all PDs head up the performance ‘department’ of their NGB and have two main responsibilities — strategic leadership of the performance programme and strategic leadership of the performance team. On a day-to-day basis PDs work through their specialist leads, aligning the team’s work behind programme priorities and putting plans into action. They closely monitor core aspects of the programme such as training and competition activity, delivery of athlete support, and development of team culture and the daily training environment, ensuring that key objectives are being met and having the desired impact. From this unique position of oversight, PDs use their in-depth understanding of ‘what good looks like’ along with their knowledge of how best to combine the different elements of performance to achieve results, refining plans to create the best conditions for success and spotting any new opportunities for performance gain. As well as directing programme activity, PDs know they are only as good as the team around them and invest heavily in supporting effective team working and staff development. A significant proportion of a PDs week will be spent ensuring individuals and teams have the necessary role clarity and autonomy to lead critical projects and areas of work, often directly coaching staff through challenging situations and decisions encountered in their day-to-day work. As figureheads for the programme, PDs have lead responsibility for setting the tone for the working culture – they are instrumental to facilitating strong multi-disciplinary approaches, ensuring adherence to good practice and behavioural standards, and creating an environment that fosters continuous improvement and innovation. In order to finance a comprehensive high performance programme, most PDs effectively run a multi-million pound business. They need to be skilled at securing resources, managing a sizeable budget and meeting the various processes and reporting requirements of investors, partners and providers. PDs will generally work closely with the Chair, CEO and Head of Finance, along with the NGB Board, public funders such as UK Sport, commercial sponsors, training centre hosts and partner clubs. Being able to operate at executive level and to build strategic relationships that engage, inform and maintain the confidence of key stakeholders is an essential aspect of the modern PD role. PDs tend to be driven by a deep passion for sport and a genuine desire to help others achieve their full potential. They accept that winning in sport is inherently complex and unpredictable – even with the best preparation results are never guaranteed. Those who thrive enjoy the pursuit of extraordinary goals and the pressure of delivering top level performances in the public eye at major events. They they don’t shy away from making tough decisions (especially those involving selection of athletes or recruitment/retention of staff) and accept they regularly need to problem solve and find creative solutions in order to navigate constraints. Most of all PDs are visionaries – they have the ability to realise the future while still delivering in the present.