Book review: Seeing What Others Don’t

June 7, 2015

Bisociation KoestlerOne of the most contested aspects of creativity is the act of creation itself. Research psychologist Gary Klein is the latest author to examine the process

The act of creation has been associated with insight arguably since the origins of the myth of Archimedes and his eureka bathtub moment. Even the prestigious and very serious American Association for the Advancement of Science calls its breaking news site EurekAlert.

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When the FIFA storm breaks: Blattergate Week two

June 4, 2015

The storm around FIFA reaches a new intensity as President Sepp Batter prepares to step down, and revelations of corruption by Supergrass Chuck Blazer are made public IMG_1409

3rd June 2015

Three days after his defiant acceptance of reappointment as President, Sepp Blatter stands down ‘in the interests of the organization’. What might have changed?

The news came in a rapidly-convened and unexpected press conference. Blatter The President suggested that his change of mind was a result of realizing his appointment was unacceptable to players, fans and to others in the great game of football.

He also indicated he would drive through the radical changes needed. This is if anything is as implausible now than when he made similar claims on his reappointment. His statement has presented a dilemma to an incoming leader and others in and outside FIFA. How will a new leader have freedom to introduce independent change if the outgoing leader is intent on initiating the process?
This suggests that Mr Blatter will not be able to cling to this proposed interim position.

The Tipping Point?

Consensus among commentators is that a critical incident has occurred maybe in the last few hours prior to the press conference. The emerging criminal investigations, particularly from the United States, are producing the butterfly wing flap that triggered the storm.

Another possible explanation is favored in an article in the Independent. This involved a bribery claim before the vote which appointed South Africa to hold the 2010 World Cup.

The Guardian suggested that Blatter had been urged by close aides to change his decision. A possible trigger point came from reports from America that Blatter was among those to be investigated for money laundering and tax evasion.

June 4th 2015

The storm breaks

LWD correspondent Paul Hinks noted:

As we keep saying, there will be more to come from this story. Suspect we’ll hear more from the accused, Blatter himself maybe dragged into the corruption allegations and questioned.

I keep thinking about President Bush’s reference to ‘Axis of evil’ … perhaps Blatter had an ‘Axis of evil’ or and ‘Axis of corruption’ that underpinned his power play.

I heard on Radio 4’s news this morning that Greg Dyke has suggested that FIFA bring in forensic accountants to go through FIFA’s books and trace the ‘lost’ funds? Good idea; FIFA desperately need to rebuild and regain trust; not easily achieved.

There’s also a nagging part of me that wants to recognise the good in Blatter’s (/FIFA’s) vision to encourage football development in countries like Africa … it’s just Blatter failed the ethics test in attempting to realise his goal.

Now [June 4th 2015] there’s the breaking news that Chuck Blazer [FIFA exec and US Supergrass] knew about the bribes: Fifa crisis: Ex-official Chuck Blazer details bribe-taking

June 8th 2015

FIFA official says that evidence of corrupt practices in the bidding process may be result in new votes for 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

June 11th 2015

European Parliament to intervene in FIFA constitutional crisis, asks Mr Blatter to step down.

To be continued

Unconfirmed reports that Sepp Blatter is reconsidering stepping down.


Andy Murray versus Jeremy Chardy, French Open 2015: Notes and Expectations

June 2, 2015

These Notes were prepared and reported in unedited form as part of a research study into momentum in sporting competitions

Pre-Match expectations

Lower seeded Chardy expected to lose unless Murray’s form slumps
Murray expected to continue his good clay court form to win
Chardy is also good on clay, and has beaten Murray
French crowd will be behind Chardy
Early start to match is disliked by Murray who, although on winning streak, is still not playing to potential. His serving reliability remains uncertain.

Scoring notation

Scoring notation always shows games to Murray first.

Set 1

Chardy plays a nervous game and drops of his serve 1-0
Murray also nervous serving, loses to near desperate winning shot by Chardy 1-1
Chardy sharpens play. Good serving and a big backhand down line wins game. 1-2
Murray also sharpens up. More first serves in. Murray has brilliant volley as Chardy seemed to be getting back. 2-2
Chardy serve still vulnerable. Seems he was troubled technically in last round.
Struggles back from 40-0, then eventually loses. 3-2 Murray
Murray wins more comfortably 4-2
Murray less urgent but seems to be conserving energy. Chardy holds serve 4-3
Comfortable new balls win, slower first serves, by Murray but they are in. 5-3
Chardy now visibly ‘yipping’ on ball toss but holds 5-4
Murray now comfortable, content to work Chardy around the court before serving out the set. 6-4

Summary of Set 1

Murray in pre-planned change attempts to increase first serves in, to deal with Chardy’s dominance over his second serve. Lost 5/6 second serves to dangerous if unreliable hitting.

Second set

Very lengthy first game. Chardy eventually holds 0-1
Murray holds serve easily. 1-1
Chardy holds from 15-40 but paints the lines a bit 1-2
No sometimes slumps after first set win. But even as I wrote that, Murray was losing serve. A slump? Chardy playing better but still painting lines 1-3
Chary holds . Agressive and more secure The commentators happier. “We’ve got a game on, now.” I don’t think Murray has slumped a lot. 1-4
Murray holds 2-4
Chardy holds 2-5
Murray holds 3-5
Chardy holds and wins 3-6

Summary Set 2

Murray appeared unconcerned . No self-chastising. Confident that he can break back. Now what? Can Chardy continue playing as well as he did? More breaks of serve seem likely.

Set 3

Murray Slightly cautious.Loses serve 0-1.
Chardy. Also bit cautious, loses serve back. Murray upped his play. 1-1
Murray holds. Needs scrambling. 2-1
Chardy holds. Murray seems to be still holding back, while looking for some change of plan? 2-2
Murray appears in control and wins 3-2
Chardy easy hold 3-3
Murray holds to 30. 4-3
Chardy after great scrambling rescue of a game point, Chardy dropsgame on a dbft serve. 5-4
Murray for set. Aggressive play again from Chardy. Murray db flts at set point. Eventually scrambles home. 6-4

Summary Set 3

Chardy’s aggression gained winners, but he was eventually punished for those errors. Some big shots ‘painted the line’, some went very wide
Chardy Holds comfortably. 0-1

Set 4

Murray starts somewhat sluggish. Is this like a second set slump? . Chardy gets break point. Murray forced to save with brilliant drop shot. And holds 1-1
Chardy dbl ft error and Murray breaks. 2-1
Murray. Still not in top gear, holds after another unforced error from Chardy. 3-1
Chardy Subdued. Murray feints and draws a chance of a great running Bhand winner. Then breaks and wins 4-1
Murray. No longer intensity of last game. Chardy wins easily with several brilliant points 4-2
Chardy still winning nice points. Two more line-painters plus great defensive play by Murray and Murray breaks and serves for the match. 5-2
Murray moves to 40-0 with weak resistance drifts to 40-30 before winning game, set, and match 6-2

Summary of set 4 and match

Murray wins dropping one set. 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6.2

Murray followed a strategy selected to address his weakness on second serve when playing a strong returner. Went for slower but higher % in of first serves.

Chardy had more of an emergent strategy? Played each point to the limit of his strength and ability. Tended to swing, sometimes hitting spectacular line-painters, but also making wild misses.


Is Sepp Blatter a Machiavellian Leader?

May 31, 2015

Sepp Blatter’s contoverial re-election as President of FIFA raises the question of his leadership style

One journalist who has followed his career believes so. In a BBC radio broadcast [29th May, 2015] he related an interview he held in which Blatter had pointed to his ‘poisoned box’ , a filing cabinet of information that would protect him from enemies who attempted to dislodge him.

It brought to my mind the strategies of ‘Comrade Card Index’ Stalin, and the monstrous efforts of other dictatorial regimes to collect information as a matter of self-preservation.

The New Machiavelli?

Other commentators  have borrowed the Machiavellian tag in an attempt to understand Blatter’s success in retaining his high office in FIFA for two decades.

This of itself is not evidence that Blatter is the heir to Machiavelli. After all, Machiavelli was adviser to those in power on survival strategies (rather than being himself one of those who had gained power through following his principles).  Also, for his guile Machiavelli did not succeed in retaining his own position, and suffered lengthy periods of imprisonment as a consequence.

The New Machiavelleans

In the UK, the political advisers to Tony Blair’s leadership were unashamed students of Machiavelli, advocating the practice of a modernized Machiavellian approach to politics.

Tyrants of the boardroom

Perhaps a closer analogy is to those ‘tyrants of the boardroom’ described by Jeff Schubert who likened many powerful business leaders to all-powerful dictators such as Stalin, and Gaddafi

COMMENT [BY PAUL HINKS]

LWD commentator Paul Hinks expresses his own views on the re-appointment of Sepp Blatter

FIFA is now fighting corruption allegations associated with ‘irregularities’ in the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

Nine Fifa officials and four executives of sports management companies have been arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes totalling $100m (£65m), according to the US Department of Justice.

The Guardian was among the print media reporting on the incident:

“More than a dozen plain-clothed officers descended on the five-star Baur au Lac hotel on Wednesday [May 28th, 2015], where officials had gathered for Fifa’s annual meeting.

The arrests were made on behalf of US authorities, after an FBI investigation that has been under way for at least three years. The US Department of Justice said authorities had charged 14 officials, nine of whom are current or former Fifa executives. Those arrested in Zurich face extradition to the US.

‘They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest. Instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves,” said the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, at a news conference in New York. “They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament.’ Events tainted by corruption included the award of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa and the 2011 Fifa presidential election, she said.”

Blatter questioned the timing of the Wednesday’s arrests of current and former FIFA members – suggesting the raids were carried out in order to influence the presidential vote.

Here is a leader struggling for credibility, out of touch with reality and in love with his own image; Narcissism personified.


Is ‘Fifagate’ a re-run of All The President’s Men?

May 27, 2015

The arrest of five Fifa executives in a Swiss luxury hotel has freaky echoes of the Watergate scandal which was to lead to the impeachment of President Nixon

Wednesday 27th of May, 2015:  Breaking news that five Fifa executives had been arrested by Swiss police on charges of corruption and money-laundering over a period of twenty years.

In breaking the news, The New York Times offered the curious headline: FIFA Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges; Sepp Blatter Isn’t Among Them

In its first report, still in the early hours in New York, the paper outlined the background to the breaking news:

Swiss authorities conducted an extraordinary early-morning operation here [today] to arrest several top soccer officials and extradite them to the United States on federal corruption charges.

As leaders of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, gathered for their annual meeting, more than a dozen plain-clothed Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at the Baur au Lac hotel,

The inquiry is also a major threat to Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s longtime president who is generally recognized as the most powerful person in sports, though he was not charged. Blatter has for years acted as a de facto head of state. Politicians, star players, national soccer officials and global corporations that want their brands attached to the sport have long genuflected before him.

An election, seemingly pre-ordained to give Mr. Blatter a fifth term as president, is scheduled for Friday. A FIFA spokesman insisted [at the news conference] that Mr. Blatter was not involved in any alleged wrongdoing and that the election would go ahead as planned.

The Lessons of History

In my mind, the business has remarkable aspects of the Watergate affair which eventually led to the impeachment and disgrace of President Nixon. The plot, if not the details of All The President’s Men, carries a great deal of accurate reporting of the drama.

It is usual to acknowledge the dangers of assuming history repeats itself accurately. It may help suggest ways of interpreting a contemporary story. Or, if we follow the gloss on Hegel made famous by Marx, the events of Watergate occurred as tragedy and may now be re-occurring as farce.

If Fifagate is a farcical rerun of Watergate, don’t expect a sudden resolution. Richard Nixon continued to protest his innocence as the evidence against him mounted. Sepp Blatter, will do likewise, although the suggestion that he was unaware of any corruption going on around him is itself evidence of at least leadership incompetence on a heroic scale.


The Irish same-sex marriage referendum, and its footnote in history

May 25, 2015

The Irish referendum legalizing same-sex marriages will have its footnote in the history of social emancipation

Similar legislation permitting single-sex marriage has been enacted in some twenty nation states around the work over a period of years. However, the Irish vote has been claimed as the first such constitutional change achieved through the democratic vote. It resulted in a outburst of joy as crowds gathered in Dublin and around the country to welcome the ‘sixty percent’ Yes vote.

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The Manchester Method: A Leaders We Deserve Monograph

May 21, 2015

by Conor Glean

In April 2015, Leaders We Deserve announced the publication of a series of monographs selected from materials published in over a thousand posts over the period 2006-2015 Manchester Method

The Manchester Method is an experiential means of supporting business education which was developed within The Manchester Business School, primarily within its MBA programmes.

It was chosen as the topic of the first monograph in the series, and published by Book Tango in April 2015.

To purchase The Manchester Method you can use various devices such as

Your Kindle/e-reader

The kindle app (downloadable from Apple App Store, Google Play, Microsoft Windows Store)

Or you can use this link

[£3.49]

To purchase directly from Google, search for “The Manchester Method” in Google play, or use this link

[£2.62]

To purchase in PDF, MOBI or EPUB form, use this link

[$4.99]

[Prices may vary and those quoted were available at May 18th 2015]


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