EasyJet’s Caroline McCall was appointed Dame in the New Year’s Honours list. Her latest honour is recognition for her services to industry as a business leader over a sparkling career
Most admired leader
Shortly before the award, McCall won recognition as ‘the most admired leader in Britain’.
The airline boss, who is one of just six female CEOs running a FTSE 100 company, is the first woman to secure the title in 25 years of the study, which is compiled by Management Today magazine.
“I hope that this will inspire more women, and that they will want to be in business and do it their way, be leaders of companies in their way,” said Ms McCall.
“Man or woman, it’s an honour to get an award like this. I’ve never underestimated how important it is to be a role model for women but I prefer to do that quietly rather than loudly.”
Easyjet and Earlier Achievements
Her new accolade draws on her success at building up the low-lost airline Easyjet, improving its customer services as well as profits. Her previous appointments have included CEO of the Guardian Media Group and membership of the boards of Tesco and the [then] Lloyds TSB.
LWD has followed her progress as a business leader in several earlier posts. A feature of her leadership style is considerable media skills. Listening to her in a radio interview in 2013 I was particularly impressed by a way of explaining her business without recourse to the business buzzwords that are written in to briefing documents by business schooled aides (OK, mea culpa on this one).
[Do send me your other nominations for January’s leader of the month. TR]
Hold off for the moment on whether these three people are demagogues. I want to concentrate on a different point.
Trump and Hopkins
Each of these individuals has attracted attention for widely-publicized views which have triggered strong emotional reactions for and against them and their advocates.
‘The Donald’ has skillfully drawn attention to his Presidential campaign. His views trigger reactions of all kinds from revulsion, humour, to wide enthusiasm towards some perceived as a strong leader. The most recent call for a ban on all Muslims from entry into the United States is for some bizarre, unworkable, unethical, and stupid.
Katy Hopkins has been recognized by Trump for her journalistic work supporting him against his detractors.
An illustrative example of the mutual admiration between them came in in a broadcast interview with the Daily Politics programme. It seems that in her newspaper column she uses Trump’s call to ban Muslims to advance an overlapping set of beliefs.
She concedes the proposed banning is unworkable, but maintains Trump’s heart is in the right place in trying to do something about what they both believe to address ‘the Muslim problem’.
Tyson Fury, newly crowned boxing champion has expressed himself in terms designed to hit the headlines by infuriating some groups he disparages. It is not clear whether he, unlike Mr Trump or Ms Hopkins, is attempting to manipulate the press or whether he is being used by them
Petitions pile up
One petition that gained support called for the banning of Trump from entering the UK for his schemes to ‘deal with’ Muslims (ban them entry to the United States) and with Mexicans (ban them entry into the United States by building a very big wall).
Another petition wanted to ban Tyson Fury from being a candidate on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Hopkins, in a somewhat frenzied TV interview, mentioned a third petition which she claims has been deliberately ignored through BBC bias because it showed support for Trump’s proposal of a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
The Case against banning: the unintended consequences argument
Where to begin? The pragmatic position is that any proposed ban should be scrutinized for unintended consequences. Metaphorically, ‘don’t turn him or her into a martyr’.
The Case against banning: The moral dilemmas
There are various ethical dilemmas to consider. Claims about depriving people of their human rights are rarely without dilemmas. Should the State exercise its right to kill killers?
Or silence those opposed to free speech for security reasons.
The right to give offense
Another thought-provoking idea. I you take freedom of speech argument taken to one of its less logical conclusions you find yourself supporting banning and restricting a fundamental human freedom of speech to those who are believed to threaten a similar basic human right in others.
Think carefully, dear leaders, before supporting banning persons as a matter of principle.
An example recently can be found in the various pressures felt through the movement of people in search of safety, economic advancement, or even pursuit of a life style choice.
One relatively unexplored perspective was raised in an article in The Independent, this week:
So many Brits now live abroad that they’re causing immigration debates. Oh, the irony. In an ideal world, every time your local racist started referring to that pesky problem of immigrants “stealing our jobs”, every British immigrant would appear, singing a heavenly chorus of: “Britain has more immigrants living abroad than India, China, Bangladesh, Poland and Hun-gar-reeeee!”
The article prompted me into producing a few lines of verse.
What shall we do about the Brits?
They take our jobs
Are idle slobs
And don’t like working down the pits.
What can’t they stay where they belong
Instead of taking up our beds
And living in our garden sheds?
The stress they cause us is all wrong.
Replies in verse or prose welcomed.
The match features The Ospreys of Wales playing Connaught of Ireland. The game is as important as any league clash, but hardly one in which the result is career-changing.
Ospreys have the more glamorous internationals and reputation. Connaught have more local players, although they are catching up on the other Irish regional teams. Home advantage to Ospreys. Connaught are on a good winning streak and Ospreys are recovering from the donation of key players to Wales for the World Cup. Ospreys expect a tough match but as home team are favourites. Their home record against Connaught is very good.
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.
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.
Saturday October 3
After losing to Wales, England’s woes continue. They become first hosts to crash out of the World Cup of Rugby at the pool stage.
Sunday October 18
Australia narrowly beat Scotland with controversial late refereeing decision.
Saturday October 31
All Blacks defeat Australia to retain World Cup in memorable style.