Monthly Archives: October 2010


The Wayne Rooney Effect

For those of you who do not know him, Wayne Rooney is a very exceptional football player that has recently gone through some hard times in his private life.  This seems to have had an effect on his on pitch performance, to such an extent that he resigned from his team mates and club to seek his fortune elsewhere.

The dilemma for the team coach was very tough, by federation football law, he is not allowed to let him go to another club for another three months, so what should he do?  The way I see it, is that he basically only had two key options:

1.    Keep him on the bench and let the team get on without him?  (Bear in mind Rooney is exceptionally talented and when he is playing well he wins games and inspires everyone around him).
2.    Play him, even though he is not on form and does not want to play anymore and his playing might disrupt the team?

Last week, before the recent news, I was chatting this dilemma through with a colleague, and together we came up with the following scenario:

Brief the Chairman of the club to give Mr. Rooney the following pep talk:

“Wayne, we do not need to go into why, but recently your performance on pitch has been very unsatisfactory (way, way below what you and I know you are capable of).  You have declared to the world that you want to leave your team mates and our club.  The way I see it is that if you do not play for the next three months, you will not have a chance to show your potential buyers that your problems are behind you and your magic is not lost for good. Not playing will seriously affect your transfer value.
If, on the other hand you play and score goals, your value will go up significantly because your potential buyers will see that you are back in form and able to handle pressure.  However if you decide to play for us for the next three months you will need to overcome two very tough challenges:
1. You will need to apologize to the coach and persuade him to keep playing you, and
2. You will need to demonstrate to the team that you are worthy of their respect and support.  If you don’t they will simply ignore you on the pitch by not passing the ball to you at each and every goal scoring opportunity.  
The way I see it is that it is entirely down to you.  I suggest you give the options some serious consideration and let me know when you have made up your mind.  Do not answer too quickly and regret it, but do not take too long either, otherwise the two options you have might only become one.”

Now we know what Wayne Rooney has actually decided to do (see here) , but what would you have done if you were Wayne Rooney’s coach?

Have a good week,


2010-10-26T00:59:15+00:001 Comment

Activating the leadership switch within

I remember, many years ago, sitting in a boardroom, surrounded by thirteen unfamiliar faces.  They were all looking in my direction, waiting for me to take the lead.  It was then I realized that I had to activate the leadership switch within me.  In an instant, I knew that there was no going back, that once activated, success or failure would be judged upon the results I managed to obtain from the people waiting for me to introduce myself.

The strange thing is that I had previously run a business, I had had employees.  I had even been the COO of a company with offices dotted all over the globe.  But never before had I felt so alone, there was no one I knew to fall back on.  I was in that instant the program director of a large and complex project, in a environment where everything was new.  All the talk of the selection process was over.  It was up to me to take control, to show leadership, to inspire.

There is nothing quite like being an interim leader, brought into a business where everyone knows one another, where pacts and allegiances have been drawn up, long, long ago and all you know are the faces and names of the people in front of you.  Similar circumstances occur when employees of large multi-nationals take on new roles in offices oversees.  In this situation the new incumbent has the additional task of winning over the employees around the table that wanted their job.

To be successful, the new leader must let go of the past.  The collaborative team player must become a beacon of confidence and control.  The new leader needs to accept that complaining about the boss with a colleague by the coffee machine, is a thing of the past.  They are the boss now and all they can and should do is to find new ways of making all those around them feel comfortable in the knowledge that a new leader has entered room;  that the person in front of them has a strategy and a plan that will deliver the required results.  That if they stick with him (or her) and commit to the tasks they are allocated, one day everyone will be able to bask in the glory of having completed a successful mission.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, then sooner or later it probably will.  And when it does, all you need to be sure of is that you have a group of loyal and supportive friends back home to advise and motivate you through the lonely times when the correct path forward is not clear.

Have a good week

2016-11-17T08:25:03+00:000 Comments


The word ‘Compassion’ is a relatively modern word (derived from the Latin, meaning to co-suffer) but we have come to understand it as the desire to assist another person in need. While most religions of the world consider it a great virtue in an individual,  there is evidence to show that compassion has been around for much longer than we have.

It seems natural that most people would help someone up when they have fallen over (we can imagine ourselves in a similar situation and thus go to the rescue, especially as the act of kindness is only momentary).  However, at a group level, humans often go to great lengths to organize help and support of others over a prolonged period of time.  Charities, Social Security schemes & taxes, health & pension funds are all types of collective responsibility to protect individuals in times of need.

Apparently Dr Penyy Spikins has recently uncovered irrefutable evidence that even the Neanderthals were compassionate people. As much as 350,000 to 600,000 years ago, these people grouped together to look after members of their tribes that were incapable of looking after themselves, sometimes for periods of twenty years or more. (you can read the full story here).

It seems obvious to me that (at a very base level) any act of kindness can be considered as a selfish thing, in as much as we probably see it as some kind of trade for future benefit for ourselves.  By setting an example we hope to ensure that others will learn the lesson and later return a good deed to us. 

With many company pension schemes falling apart and even some governments beginning to change the rules on paying out promised pensions to their long serving and loyal employees, perhaps it is not a bad idea for us to consider where compassion lies in us as individuals?  Not just towards our families and friends, or for the occasional once off act, but what role does compassion play in a fast moving, modern company?  Can everything be simply covered by an insurance policy?

The most effective teams I have ever worked with, always had a compassionate core that was evident to anyone that took the time to witness it.  However, the very same groups, were the first to reject an individual that did not emotionally commit themselves to the group.  This is a complex subject but an important one, if we want to understand just what it is that goes into building ‘super teams’ that are capable of achieving great things.  A shared common vision, with a good mixture of trust, loyalty and compassion are just four of the necessary ingredients.  How does your work team compare?

Have a good week,


2016-11-17T08:25:04+00:000 Comments