The Charismatic League Tables for October 2015

October 6, 2015

Alexis TsiprasThis month, media attention turned to new entrants Nigel Farage, Andrew Castle, Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson and Tony Pidgley. But the award of charismatic leader of the month went to the re-elected Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras

The results were based on news stories studied in September 2015

Prime Minister Tsipras received the award for the manner of his re-election and his skill at maintaining his credibility over a period in which he went from leader of the opposition to austerity measures to the  leader in charge of enacting them. Technically he was elected leader of his party and then leader of the Government in a coalition.

Stories were also found which resulted in a reappraisal of the positions of politicians David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump, and football manager Jose Mourinho.

Jose Mourinho has jumped to Division One for the manner of his interviews defending his lack of culpability over Chelsea’s bad start to the football season

Arsene Wenger, one of the butts of Jose Mourinho’s jibes, and also of Sir Alex’s recently published remarks, always defends himself logically in public, but with little charisma, and so enters in Division Four.

His former protagonist Sir Alex Ferguson returned from a period outside the headlines with a new best-selling book on business leadership. The vibrant illustrations of his leadership style indicate he exercised powerful influence although he denies being ‘a monster… in my reign’  [in his Reign.! Hmm] One to watch for a revival of his charismatic interviews which may even take him to the Premiership  of the Charismatic League, where he would surely want to be.

Jeremy Corbyn has attracted considerable media attention, and has been described as charismatic. His self-effacing style is unusual and he may well be a member of a rarer category of leader with some charismatic aspects yet perhaps closer to the leader of ‘humble style but with fierce determination’ written about by Jim Collins.

Nigel Farage made a strong charismatic impression on his UKIP conference audience,  and enters the tables in Division One.

Donald Trump has strengthened his position in Division One after several high impact performances where he cheerfully defends the  indefensible.

Andrew Castle attracted much criticism for his tennis commentaries particularly in the Davis Cup match between England and Australia. He seemed to have failed to engage viewers positively. He inspired the Face Book page Shut-Up-Andrew-Castle-you-know-nothing-about-Tennis Sorry Andrew. It’s Division Four for you, when you are keeping Tim Henman company.

Tony Pidgley of The Berkeley group received media attention for a life style that has a decidedly charismatic flavour to it, as he battled with activist shareholders who were seeking a more conventional leadership style of corporate governance. A worthy entry into the league tables.

The tables will be revised monthly until further notice. All proposals will be examined carefully by the editor of LWD before changes are made. The editor’s decision on such changes will be final. This utterly undemocratic process is one designed to avoid entryism, and other attempts to influence the league tables for personal interests.

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You don’t need a Kindle to read Amazon eBooks

October 4, 2015

imageMessage from your editor and author of the eBook Tennis Matters

Many people still miss out on ordering eBooks from Amazon because they do not own a Kindle. I discovered this after a little market research in the clubhouse of a well-known Manchester tennis club. Tennis playing friends had told me they wanted to buy my recently published eBook Tennis Matters.

When I later asked them what they thought of it they became rather evasive in their replies.

Was it because they found my masterpiece less than the fascinating read I had promised it to be? Perhaps so, although I had received unsolicited praise that gives so much easing of the pain experienced by the bruised ego of the newly published author. One who had been pressed into proof-reading duties noted

l have just finished your book on my Kindle en route to London and thought you might be interested in my views. The light-hearted tone coupled with the personal reminiscences (the antique tennis racket story struck a chord), the appeal to the tennis fan (of which I am one), and the leadership/business school angle made for an interesting and appealing mix. Having started out of a sense of quasi-duty to a friend I enjoyed it more and more

Encouraged by the message, I conducted a little trial on a convenience sample of nine social tennis players. Four out of the nine gave as their reason for not ordering a copy of Tennis Matters

‘ I do not have a Kindle’

To their unconfined joy, I was able to reassure each of them of their error, sending them on their way with the news that there is no need to have a Kindle to read said masterpiece which is available for the astonishing price of £1.99 or rough equivalent in other currencies.

If you go to the link for Tennis Matters you too will see that you can download a FREE App for iPhone, Tablet, or PC and then use it to order your eCopies of any book (including Tennis Matters of course).

Then you too will learn of my battles with a wayward forehand, try out the tennis teasers and catch up with the updated tennis posts from the 1000 plus archived materials of Leaders We Deserve.

An earlier post also outlined a little of the contents of Tennis Matters


Charismatic leader of the Month: Alexis Tsipras

September 30, 2015

Alexis TsiprasAlexis Tsipras survives as the new protector of Greece’s austerity programs. He becomes Leaders We Deserve charismatic leader of the month

On September 20 2015, Alexis Tsipras becomes the leader elected by his country to implement the austerity programmes he was elected in January to oppose.

His story illustrates the success of a charismatic leader in retaining trust regardless of sudden shifts of policy he may make.


The Greek election of 2004 had seen the success of Kostas Karamanlis of the New Democracy party, defeating George Papandreou of PASOK. It was very much business as usual, as the two were from the dynastic tradition in Greece, of political families providing the country’s leaders since the new era of democracy in 1944.

Syriza as a political party emerged in 2004 as a coalition of left wing groups (implied in its acronymic type name) challenging this tradition. The coalition held six seats but its members were engaged in various power struggles (hardly surprising as the radical alliance could count around twelve groupings within it).

After several years of internal struggle, a young Athenian politician Alexis Tsipras eventually gained the leadership of the Greek parliamentary opposition. His track record was as a student activist who had considerable media visibility through his energetic campaigning efforts which demonstrated his considerable personal charm and audience appeal.

Greece and the domino theory of collapse

Greece went on to suffer from increasing financial difficulties exacerbated by the global economic crisis which called for austerity measures imposed externally. By 2012, had Greece became the first domino within the theory of the collapse of the EU. The financial crises had a Darwinian feel to then, with the weakest national economy facing tough austerity measures or default from the club.

According to the domino theory, the default on the weakest economy would increase pressures via creditor institutions, on the next weakest. The IMF, the European Central Bank, and the World Bank were in complex ways influencing financial and political measures taken by national governments. The weakest economies would face increasingly painful decisions which acquired the euphemism of taking austerity measures. Opposition to such measures were simplified into anti-austerity policies. The next dominos included Spain, Portugal, Italy and even France. The most secure economy in the European Union was Germany. Increasingly German economic power was seen as dominant, and Angela Merkel seen as the most powerful political figure in Europe, and chief architect of the austerity measures being imposed on Greece. Greece was seen as fragile enough to make its exit from the EU (‘Grexit’) likely.

By then, Tsipras was attracting international attention for his anti-austerity speeches. Across Europe more extreme parties on the left and right were gaining ground. Disenchantment with austerity measures and the old political alliances was high. The country faced pressing demands to implement further demands in order to renegotiate a financial bail-out, needed to protect the very viability of the internal banking system.

Promise of a heroic rescue

Tsipras promised a heroic rescue. The Greek voters turned to Syritza and Tsipras’s anti-austerity proposals in an election of January 2015. He was sworn in as Prime Minister with a mandate to renegotiate the resented austerity measures.

Tsipras became the poster boy of youthful political protest around the world. At 40 he was the youngest Prime Minister of Greece and arguably the leader of opposition to the EU’s austerity programmes. His election promises had been greeted with incredulity in European leaders concerned with the wider financial stability of the Eurozone and their own internal political pressures. His success in the election was even more of a surprise.

The young hero flung himself into the battle with the forces of austerity. Any sympathy for his cause was weakened in the EU by his lack of diplomatic concealment of his contempt for his perceived protagonists. He was further weakened by the even more abrasive style of his chief financial negotiator.

In the first month of difficult negotiations Greece’s European lenders agree to extend its second bailout by four months with additional evidence of good faith by the newly appointed Greek government.

Neat footwork or stumble?

By June, the EU negotiators appeared to have been making progress, when Tsipras found a way of wrong-footing his opponents (although possibly wrong-footing his own cause as well). Facing unacceptable demands, he announces a hasty referendum on a possible bailout agreement. In July The electorate again supported Tsipras in rejecting the EU latest terms Tsipras assured the voters that the result would not be ‘Grexit’.

The timing resulted in further pressures on the Greek economy, but Greece agrees a bailout deal allowing more austerity measures. The government is in disarray and destabilised by defections.

Another snap election

Then in another piece of wrong-footing, Tsipras resigns and declares he needs a mandate for implementing the deal. A snap election is called for September, as he seeks a new mandate.

On 20 September, Alexis Tsipras wins but without a majority of seats. He is able to form a coalition and survives as the new protector of Greece’s austerity programs which he originally came to power by opposing.

He becomes Leaders We Deserve charismatic leader of the month for September 2015.











The Rugby World Cup 2015. How Wales beat England with a little help from Japan

September 27, 2015

Wales rugby ball

September 26 2015 Wales 28 England 25

The statistics suggest it was a close match. It was more than that. It produced a tale of a glorious last minute triumph by a team cruelly depleted by injuries and facing exit from the World Cup

[This post is updated for the duration of the Rugby World Cup of 2015]

I might one day be able to write a balanced evaluation of the match, if only for discussion about the leadership lessons contained in it. For the moment I can only put down first impressions.

Four years ago, a young Welsh team battled to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup. Their captain Sam Warburton made an instinctive impetuous tackle against a French opponent which led to his instant dismissal from the field. Wales lost narrowly. France lost easily to the New Zealand all blacks in the final.

The Group of Death

Four years later the core of the Welsh team, now more experienced, found themselves playing in the 2015 competition, hosted by England but with a small number of matches played in Wales. They had been drawn in what was in sporting cliché terms the Group of Death, with three strong teams, Australia, England together with Wales, as well as two weaker (or at least lower ranked) teams Fiji and Uruguay.

The all play all format among the five teams meant that one of the favourites had to be eliminated at the end of the pool stage. From the moment the draw was made, the match between England and Wales was seen as potentially crucial.

The England team had showed promise in the run up to the tournament. They also had the advantage of playing in their national stadium at Twickenham. Australia also arrived in good form and was seen as one of the top three teams, behind World Champions New Zealand, and a powerful South African team from a country that had already won two world cups. Wales were regarded as strong enough to cause trouble, but likely to be eliminated unless they were able to beat one of England or Australia.

The Welsh preparation campaign under the wily chief coach Warren Gatland had stuttered with injuries to several key players. Then in a warm-up match a few weeks before the tournament, the loss of more players, including their world-class goal kicker Leigh Halfpenny.

The England team had also suffered injury withdrawals from their first match against Fiji. The coaching team led by Stuart Lancaster had to find a plan B against Wales. The decisions inevitably aroused criticisms. Lancaster had selected the highly talented but inexperienced Burgess, a recent recruit from Rugby League. For understandable reasons, Lancaster also decided to start with a specialist goal kicker replacing one of the team’s more imaginative playmakers.

The match begins

The evening match was played before a capacity crowd. England was seen as favourite to win even by Welsh rugby supporters and commentators.

The match itself was tense partly for its importance to the teams, and partly because it was close, and with errors from both teams. England seemed physically stronger and edged ahead. A defensive error from Wales, and England powered over the line for a slick well-executed try. Then Wales sustained more sickening injuries. Liam Williams at full back replacing Halfpenny was stretchered off. Several more replacements were needed as backs and forwards were battered out of the game.

At half time, England had a  ten point advantage, and had nearly stretched the lead further. England just have to stick to their plan, Sir Clive Woodward declared, speaking from the commentary box. His reputation as as a coach was earned for his success with England’s famous World Cup winning team of 2002. I supposed he was right, even if it he did sound a bit smug. Had he lost that sense of the danger that might come from a wounded and desperate opponent?

The England team did not quite stick to what they were doing. In the second half, England substitutes were brought on to finish off the depleted Welsh team. Then a sneak attack from Wales and a try not unlike England’s first half effort. Wales were clawing their way back.

With time running out, it became clear that Wales were fighting harder. England were not exactly holding on, but seemed inclined to protect their narrow lead. As happens, defense is not always the best form of attack. Another flurry of penalties and Wales actually grab a three-point lead.

Two minutes to go. England has to score to even out the match. They are awarded a kickable penalty which would have drawn the game. The England captain Robshaw picked the ball up and gestured to the referee and to his goal kicker to go for the corner flag with possibility of a subsequent last-minute try bringing victory.

The crowd is roaring England on to victory as their forwards advance to within five meters of the Wales goal line.  From the lineout, England secures the ball and prepares to batter their fatigued opponents out of the way as they advance over the line. But the the attacking move as the Wales players hurl themselves ferociously into the maul and drive players and ball  into touch. Wales have only seconds to secure the ball from their lineout throw and the game is won.

The ball is thrown, and is cleanly held by Wales. Time now plays its relativity trick, but the electronic scorecard moves remorselessly on. The referee blows for time. England have found a way of losing. a game that they were winning, and a minute earlier could have drawn. What had been witnessed was sheer anger and fury uncorked and directed against not England but against injustice and cruel fate.

Those players still standing sink to the ground, before the red-shirted ones find enough energy to revive and celebrate.

Déjà vu

Let me have a moment of sheer speculation. This was not the match that this World Cup will be remembered for, outside Wales and perhaps England. That had taken place when the Japanese team won an incredible game against the mighty South African team.

Two minutes to go, and Japan had a penalty award. Kicking it would result in a draw. Or the Japanese captain could elect to go for the win. The situation was similar to the one that changed the result of the England Wales game.

Here is my speculation. The Japanese captain won global respect for his courage in risking a loss seeking the win. Might Chris  Robshaw have been thinking about that glorious moment, as he made his own fateful decision? Does he even know himself?

Can’t believe what I saw

The ITV cameras switched to the studio. Outside, various bodies could still be seen recovering on the floodlit grass. Sir Clive Woodward and his greatest warrior Jonny Wilkinson stared glassy-eyed into space. What do you make of that Clive, the presenter asked. Sir Clive struggled for words. Shocked, he eventually replied weakly. Can’t believe what I just saw.

You will, Sir Clive, you will eventually.

Updates start here

Wednesday September 30
Wales will suffer from the injuries occurred against England.
The squad named for the next game against Fiji on Thursday October 1 includes three forced changes, and more players out of position.

Fiji has lost its two initial games but have completed well. Also, they have a brand of power play that might produce even more injuries. The one consolation for Wales is that Fiji has lost their most potent rampaging player, 20 stone Nemani Nadolo, banned for foul play against Australia.

Nigel Farage defines his role in the EU referendum process

September 26, 2015

Nigel FarageNigel Farage gains media attention and a reappraisal of his role in the EU referendum process at the UKIP conference at Doncaster

I listened on radio to the early stages of his opening address to his party’s annual conference. It was delivered in a convincing charismatic style. By that I mean one that appeals at an emotional level and which somehow minimizes rational evaluation of its implied assumptions.

Then I watched and listened to the later stage of the speech on BBC TV news. The theme had changed, and with it the impression it made on me. The naughty Nigel had crept out.

For a moment Nigel was nonplussed

The change occurred when he offered up some rather weak jokes about Jeremy Corbyn, and then targetted the leaders of the YES grouping in the forthcoming EU membership referendum. He began these with a mention of Richard Branson in only a mildly dismissive way.

Then he moved on to Tony Blair, this reference winning more reactions, jeers (presumably against Blair) and applause (presumably for Nigel). He was obviously building up to the third and most repulsive of the gang of three, none other than David Cameron.

He earned the desired increase of jeers and cheers which rather petered out, not helped by an off-colour remark about recent lurid publications about the undergraduate Cameron’s close encounter with a dead pig. For a moment Nigel was nonplussed at the ambiguous reaction to his joke.

“Well I liked it”

His customarily confident smile was replaced with a rather guilty smirk.   Or, at least that was how it came across to me.  He quickly sensed he had struck a false note.  But he is a consummate platform performer. “Well I liked it” he said, and switched back to being a selfless and visionary leader.  Nevertheless, a little magic had somehow slipped away.

The shift in style during the speech may have been calculated.  The early part of the presentation was rousing knockabout stuff.  UKIP has done well, and I and the party have been sorely traduced. The second part was a skillful presentation of a cause that even transcends direct loyalty to UKIP, namely to work to save the country by putting all energy into winning the EU referendum vote.  He identified the wider movement within which they would operate. This would be the  umbrella movement, funded by the wealthy Aaron Banks, who is a former influential backer of UKIP.

 He glossed over the recent more strained relationship with Mr Banks who seems to be attempting to minimize UKIP”s and Mr Farage’s influence in the EU referendum.


Edit out the weak passage, and you have an impressive performance. Nigel had decided to speak without notes.  This is a style that offers greater scope for empathic communication, and it mostly worked.

 The interpretation being placed on the speech is that Mr Farage  has indicated willingness  to become part of a wider political movement, and if requested will be persuaded to play a leading role in the referendum over EU membership.

How to avoid bad chess positions and what to do next when you find yourself in one

September 21, 2015

Tudor Rickards This post was prepared for a chess talk to members of East Cheshire Chess Club. It may be of interest to club-level players or parents who are increasingly being beaten up by their children at the game of chess. With a little ‘translation’, it may also have value as a guide to strategy and leadership as has been indicated in earlier posts

Anyone who wanders around our chess club during a match will know I get into bad positions, and sometimes get out of trouble. It’s not because I don’t know how to avoid bad positions, it is more that I break rules I was taught as a schoolboy.

Here are the rules I break, and why that is usually a bad thing. I also suggest what to try if you still break them, and find yourself in a bad position.

Rule 1.  Do not fall behind in development

This means do not move the same piece frequently, when other pieces remain in their original positions.

Rule 2. Don’t move pawns without thinking about where the opponent will attack the pawns

Pawns can’t move backwards.  When you move a pawn try to visualize your ‘chain’ of pawns, how the structure may persist, and how it may be broken.  The great Nimzowich teaches us how to attack pawn chains at the weakest point.

Rule 3. Beware of simplifying moves

Unless you are winning, you should avoid simplifying exchanges. More  often than not, exchanges favour the second player.  (Check this out on your games with a Search Engine. See how the advantage swings.)

Rule 4. Calculate most carefully when you think the position has become complicated

Some positions do not need a lot of calculations. For example, if your opponent has been playing the moves you expected. These are balanced positions, with pawns defended,  pieces coordinated.  Decide on how to strengthen the position.  Coordinate pieces to avoid under-protection, and over-burdened pieces. These are where tactics come in.

Rule 5. Practice Plan B

A plan B might be a change of strategy. If you have made a mistake you may need to find a plan that you hadn’t thought of. For example, sometimes if you lose  a pawn it leaves your opponent’s position slightly weakened. Look how to exploit it as if you made a pawn sacrifice.

Remember most games have chances for the player with an inferior position.  A losing game is different from a lost game. Your opponents may relax waiting for the game to be over in their favour

Rule 6.  Avoid time trouble

Try To make safe and simple ‘holding’ moves when you are in a familiar position, to keep up with your opponent’s time.  If you do get into time trouble, try to anticipate your opponent’s move and use your opponent’s time.  If you have guessed his or her move, reply quickly.

Rule 7.  Move quickly, but not too quickly

However careful you are, you will sometimes move too quickly. There are various bits of advice that can help. I found this on avoiding blunders useful not just for beginners.

Other things worth thinking about

In a series of exchanges, watch out for zwischenzug moves (intermediate moves that can ruin a combination).

If you have no obvious move, then you need to see what  candidate moves you can think of.  If you are thinking of breaking principles, be more careful.

There are many useful suggestions about avoiding blunders.  This article is worth studying.

Comments welcomed for other tips about blunders and how to avoid them.

The charismatic reply: Jose responds to a setback

September 19, 2015

200px-Jose_Mourinho-07Jose Mourinho deals with a dreadful start to the season by Chelsea with a typical charismatic response.

[This post is being updated during the Premier League season]

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