Aging Lions maul coach Warren Gatland

June 19, 2017

Warren Gatland

 

In advance of Saturday’s test match against New Zealand’s All Blacks, [scheduled 24 June 2017] Warren Gatland, the coach of the British and Irish Lions is mauled in a bitter attack by Rugby Union pundits around the world, including former Lion players

Gatland’s heinous blunder

His crime? Dealing with a series of injuries to his squad, Gatland made the decision to call up additional support from members of the Welsh and Scottish teams, touring in the region.

A storm of protest burst out, led by England coach Eddie Jones, whose team is touring in Argentina, half way around the world. The headline Eddie Jones says what we have all been thinking about Gatland’s supposed call-ups sums up the nature of the ‘debate’.

Revenge attacks?

I was struck by both the ferocity and uniformity of the attacks. Gatland had triggered an avalanche of criticism. In some ways, this can be traced to disenchantment with Gatland, who will resume his role as coach to the Welsh national team after the tour.  Accusations of bias have followed Gatland from the outset of this tour against the world champions, who are odds-on favourites to win the three-test series.

His original selections were viewed as biased in favour of players he knew and trusted from Wales, and why strong candidates from England were omitted. The objections were mostly from the English media. Garland was criticized for Nationalistic bias, an ironic charge for someone of New Zealand not Newport Gwent roots.

Players omitted from the England squad were outspoken.

During the few weeks of the tour in June, tour criticism of Gatland built up. The coach was put on the defensive.

The emotional argument

So, returning the six replacements, the emotional argument against the extra six players can be summarized simply. Commentator after commentator echoed it:

 

“The decision devalues the Lions’ shirt

 

Few seemed to find it necessary to add (as Gatland found it necessary to point out) that the decision was reached  after long discussions by the international management coaching team of the Lions. Nor was there comment on how these players the pundits dismissed as not fit to wear the shirt might react, if their team mates on their arrival treated them as second-class citizens.

Historical baggage?

There seemed a lot of historical baggage about the media treatment of the story. For example:

England’s former Lion Jeremy Guscott found headlines in a half-time roasting of the Welsh team against Japan in the last World Cup. In particular, he blasted the Lions on the pitch.  Ironically, Wales upped their game against Japan, and Japan contributed to a display which led to the humiliation of England on home soil and the eventual appointment of new coach Eddie Jones.

Returning to the present controversy, even a Welsh rugby great has weighed in.

Jonathan Davies is a much-loved national figure who has suffered hardships and tragedy in his personal life with fortitude and public grace. His views are generally forthright and honest. He again took the devaluing the Lion shirt line.

Putting my frayed academic nightcap and bed socks on, and supping my Ovaltine, I suspect each player is demonstrating the core issue of social identity. Pundit Guscott now preserves his aura of greatness earned as a Lion through the symbolism of the brand. Davies never achieved the honour of playing for the Lions, as he made the painful decision to leave the amateur game of Rugby Union to support his family as a rugby league player, returning later as professionalism entered the Union code.

Gatland’s stubborn streak

There is a well-known streak of stubbornness about Gatland, although no more than the one apparent in the public pronouncements of Eddie Jones.

The test series may well be lost to the mighty All Blacks. If so, it would be helpful to conduct post-mortems in a more clinical fashion than the ‘expert’ diagnoses to date.


New Leadership Events at Sunderland Business School

June 12, 2017

15th June:  David Land, Director, Drive 2 Business will be speaking about  Leading through Supply Chains in the Automotive Sector

6th July:   Emma Walton, Head of People (Operations) will be speaking on Responsible Leadership and Social Impact

Sunderland Business School is pleased to announce its second series of the popular Business Breakfast Seminars, which began in January and will run until July 2017. All of the award-winning businesses invited to lead these events represent different facets of the core theme which is Leading with Impact. Not only do they represent a clear alignment with the core values of our Strategic Plan, the award-winning businesses leading these free events have been carefully selected as aligning with the core values underlining our new strategic plan: inspiring, innovative, collaborative, inclusive and excellent.

Leading with impact

Leading with Impact a reflects our commitment to developing excellence in leadership and management development as one of our strategic growth areas.  The seminars provide a learning and networking opportunity where award winning business leaders share their experience and expertise on the major challenges facing organizations today. This is a great opportunity for business leaders to start the working day with some with some time out to learn from their peers, share experiences, reflect, and engage in lively dialogue about the best ways of addressing key strategic challenges.

Participants are also able to take advantage of a light business breakfast and an opportunity to make initial introductions and network. During the seminar itself, speakers will leave plenty of time for an interactive dialogue and debate on the lessons learnt from their experiences.

The seminars will take place between 8-10am on Thursdays at Sunderland Business School, the Reg Vardy Centre, St Peter’s Campus, St Peter’s Way, Sunderland SR6 0DD

Contact us via engage@sunderland.ac.uk

Posted by

 Dr Rob Worrall BA (Hons), MA, MSc, PhD, SFHEA, FCMI, FRSA, ACIPD Principal Lecturer, Faculty of Business,  Law and Tourism Tel: 0191 515 3060 | M: 07748 334 833 | E: rob.worrall@sunderland.ac.uk


Jason Kingsley: A chivalric leader in a strong and stable world?

June 5, 2017

Jason Kingsley is chief executive and co-founder of  Rebellion Developments, one of the UK’s largest computer games companies. He is said to run his domains according to a medieval knight’s chivalric code of conduct. As a member of the order of cynical journalists, I set about testing the tales told about this gentle knight

I learn that in the ancient city of Oxford the young Jason with his brother formed a company of knights brilliant in swordsmanship.  None could compete with Jason who became famed for his jousting, astride one of his stable of pure white chargers. In time, his fame grew and he was joined by full many a warrior such as Judge Dredd.

Judge Dredd has won fame for his great leadership characteristics in a Galaxy far away in space and time. He is increasingly part of everyday folklore when cries are made for tougher police methods.

QUOTE “What the code comes down to is try to be a decent person… and there are three parts bravery, honesty and kindness.

“In business, the need to be brave is obvious; the ability to charge forward and seize the opportunity, and do the best that you can with it.

“It is also about exploring new territories and seeking out new markets. It is an essential component in being a leader. Honesty doesn’t mean telling everyone your secrets, it means dealing fairly with people. So in business, I don’t try to get the best deal for myself, I’m trying to get the best deal for both sides. “This is fairer and the right thing to do, and if the other side makes a profit they will come back and work with me again. “And kindness is simply about the need to treat people well.”

From the Chronicles of the British Broadcasting Corporation

Rebellion Developments was founded in 1991 and now has a turnover in excess of £25m. It is still wholly owned by the two brothers who founded it. Its best-selling titles include Sniper Elite and Rogue Trooper. It also owns the cult UK comic book series 2000 AD, and publishes a range of novels.

Chivalric leadership evaluated

How might chivalric leadership be evaluated? I am struck by how the description might fit those frequently applied to Jeremy Corbyn, leading the troops of the Labour Party in the General Election campaign [May-June, 2017].

Like any gentle knight, Sir Jeremy had to battle against many evil forces. Students of leadership may be reminded of the notion of Servant Leadership, which remains a minor but well-supported idea.

The servant leader transcends ego and leads in the interests of others.


Trump to renegotiate Paris climate change accord

June 2, 2017

President Trump returns from his eight-day humiliation tour of the Middle East and Europe to announce he would be pulling out of the Paris environmental treaty

“They won’t be laughing now” he said, arguing that earlier global arrangements had taken America as suckers.  Not laughing, maybe, but weeping in frustration.

Make the Planet Great Again, Justin Trudeau tweeted.

President Obama was able to overcome political opposition at home in signing up America for the Paris accord.  The two countries yet to sign are Syria and Nicaragua.

Donald Trump is sticking to his election pledge to create jobs in the rust-belt states. This may not create the kind of jobs the displaced coal miners voted for. Opponents argue that growth in jobs will come to workers able to retrain for new skills.

China and the EU are seen as moving more closely together on this issue. President Trump’s announcement was early justification of Chancellor Merkel’s claim this week that the EU could no longer take for granted shared interests with the USA and the UK on climate change.

Timing bad for Theresa May?

More locally, Theresa May, an early ally of President Trump, is regretting the timing of the announcement. She is a week away from a General Election she called, fighting on the basis her strong and stable leadership as she negotiates the UK’s departure from the EU. An earlier lead in the polls is shrinking. Attacks on labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seem to have failed to exacerbate his earlier woeful ratings as a future Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister’s non-show at a televised debate this week gave opponents the chance to weaken her case further, by describing her as weak and wobbly. Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green party, had a particularly positive impact on the audience.

The Prime Minister called the Trump decision disappointing.  She could have been referring to the effect it could have on the final election result.


UKIP Manifesto shows anti-Farage split in party

May 29, 2017

UKIP's Welsh manifesto cover

The UKIP manifesto shows evidence of a movement among the membership to reduce what they describe as a Lad Culture in the party. This is clearly an attempt to remove ideas associated with its former leader, Nigel Farage. The split is also illustrated by the contents of the Manifesto issued by the Welsh UKIP party

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A hundred yards and a lifetime away

May 23, 2017

 

No. I don’t want to believe it. I was watching the end of Newsnight.  BBC anchor Evan Davis had been enjoying himself with the late-night review of the election news, teasing a Daily Mail journalist.

As the show ended, his unconcealed pleasure vanished suddenly. “News is coming in of an explosion at the Manchester Arena.”

In the next few hours, I listened to follow-up broadcasts. Casualties. Young people attending a pop concert. Eye witnesses relating their panic running away from the blast. An image of a prone teenager, her white T shirt splattered with blood.

Twitter explodes, spewing hateful shrapnel directed at the other.

I want to tweet saying I was there, a hundred yards and a lifetime away, when a van exploded gutting the city’s centre. Miraculously, no-one was killed that day.

Eventually I tweeted.

Manchester Arena. Dreadful. Best to stay with supporting the injured and families of those who died. Other news still speculation.

 

Whatsoever is false news, whatsoever is alternative truth, however much I strive for a creative expression of truth in my writing, everything else has been wiped away momentarily.

In fifty years, it will retain its ultimate core of horror together with acts of bravery and kindness from emergency services, taxi-drivers, and volunteers of #roomsforManchester.


Tweeted air-quotes, and our linguistic debt to Donald Trump

May 15, 2017

Donald Trump says he invented the phrase pump-priming. Maybe he didn’t, but that pales into insignificance when compared with his magnificent contribution to our understanding of the “tweeted air-quote “

This week, in an interview with the Economist, President Trump said he recently came up with the term priming the pump as an economic concept. The interviewer politely suggested it had been in use before (by Maynard Keynes). No matter, when we reflect on the brilliant use of air quotes when tweeting.

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