From Thought Bubble To Think Tank

One of the most challenging aspects of Market research today is getting peoples opinions outside of social media.No matter how genuine your intentions, these days, the chore of getting peoples opinions through on-line polls is a big task. Presently the NCHA is attempting this by firstly holding an on-line survey then following that up with a series of NCHA Focus Groups.

The thought bubble begins

A short time ago the NCHA sent out an on-line survey to get the feel of what the NCHA membership thought about where they were heading. This was not only a brave move by the NCHA but also one that was way overdue. Since the social media explosion there has been a lot said about the NCHA through this medium, some positive, a lot negative. This feedback has been rightly so considered non constructive. I will admit that I have at times contributed to that. Why does this happen? Frustration is a big motivator. The membership shows their frustration toward the NCHA and no doubt there would be some frustration within the NCHA board genuinely looking for answers.

So whats going to change?

From the memberships point of view it would seem that over the last ten years or so, the more things have changed, the more they have stayed the same. Less than 12 months ago a change was made that appears to be sending the sport of cutting back on track. Tim Heath was given the role of General Manger of the NCHA. In my role as an affiliate club secretary I have witnessed changes in administration procedures that can only be seen as a positive. With the on-line survey a rare opportunity has been presented to the membership to have a direct say in how their sport is run. The NCHA have made the first step. It is now the membership’s turn to step up and deliver. Not only were you invited to participate in the survey but a series of meetings will be held over the coming months, with the first being in Tamworth this Sunday December 2nd.

Seize The Opportunity, attend these NCHA Focus Groups

In my time spent at cutting shows I have discovered that there are some very clever people participating. I have heard some great suggestions over the years that should have been shared with the NCHA board. No offence to our US partners, but blindly following what is happening in the US is not the answer. Tweaks are needed to improve the popularity of the sport in this country. An Australian solution is needed. These solutions can only come with open and honest discussions like the ones being scheduled by the NCHA. Actually popularity is the wrong word. Cutting in Australia is hugely popular and has attracted a lot of fans. What is now needed is to change that popularity into participation.

Ignore the rumours

Despite what is being distributed by certain circles through social media, these meetings are not exclusive. Everyone and anyone is welcome. Contribution is the key. Contributions from members, non members and, in my opinion, most importantly, former members. Cutting in Australia has never had a problem in attracting newcomers to the sport. The biggest challenge has been keeping them there. As new members join, it appears the same number of current members walk away. It would be a huge asset to the NCHA if ex members could explain why they left the sport.

But it is a two way street

It’s essential that as many members attend these focus group meetings so that your thoughts and ideas can be heard. At the same time the management of the NCHA needs to show a genuine desire to listen. Comments like “that’s not going to happen” or “no we can’t do that” are not going to cut the mustard. I can imagine that it is not an easy job being on the NCHA board, in fact  it would be bloody hard. A requirement though, to be in that responsible position is to have the ability to communicate effectively with the membership. I am hopeful that all suggestions and ideas are  accepted and seriously considered. Then after consideration it will the responsibilty of the NCHA management to explain the reasons for their future decisions in an articulate way.

Participation is the key

So if you want to see your sport grow in Australia now is the time to participate in a unique opportunity. Initially three focus groups will be held on the following dates:

Tamworth Focus Group

Location: Carmens Restaurant, Stockmans Hotel, 2-29 Spain Lane, Tamworth

Date: Sunday 2nd December 2018

Time: 2.30pm – 5.30pm


Toowoomba Focus Group

Location: Wilsonton Hotel, 40 Richmond Drive, Toowoomba City

Date: Tuesday 18 December 2018

Time: 5.30pm – 8.30pm


Albury Focus Group

Location: TBC

Date: January 2019

Time: TBC



Obviously those in the Tamworth area need to respond quickly to have your say and an RSVP is essential.  You are required to  provide attendance confirmation and Focus Group venue to the NCHA Office at  . More information on this exciting new concept can be found on the NCHA website

Lets make this happen.