I generally avoid chest-beating, die-for-the-jersey, more-than-a-game schtick that comes with patriotic books, odes to a sporting code, conduct or nation. I have an inherent distrust of fundamentalism, a thinly veiled mask of self-deceit. It’s with some hesitation then that I approached a book about the New Zealand rugby team, Legacy, by James Kerr. It’s first few pages talk of beating the Welsh rugby team. Its last few pages talk about beating the Welsh rugby team. Needless to say, I hate this bloody book. Which isn’t to say it’s not good. It is!
Kerr relates culture and leadership back into the corporate world where those two quintessential elements are often left wanting in my opinion. They become so diluted with growth (making money) or cost reduction (saving money) that culture can fuck right off. Whilst leadership obsession is quite rightly through continuous, incessant improvement, a leader works for the team not the other way around. Leaders take care of their team like they take care of their family. Culling one of your family to save costs is madness. You win together, you lose together. And to paraphrase the New Zealand Team, ‘no dickheads allowed.’
Culture in an organisation or a team can, to quote Kerr again, be summed up by the Greek proverb: “a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never see”. You plant seeds for the fruit you may never eat, you make improvements today that you may never see the benefit of. But the next generation will. We make things better incrementally. Our actions today will echo beyond our time. Apparently women can also plant trees, but who knew?!
And by the way, this book costs nothing. Enter stage-left BorrowBox, an app that lets you borrow ebooks for free from your local library. I take it all back, there is a God!
Other nuggets for the week:
Writing and writing...