Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs

posted by Scott McKenzie

There is a story that George Best used to tell about a night he spent in a hotel with a former Miss World. He received a knock on the door from the hotel porter who was bringing up his bags. On surveying the scene… beautiful woman, a bed full of bank notes and a magnum of champagne on ice… the porter is said to have remarked “where did it all go wrong George?”.

This story came to mind this week as we see the story “hidden” by the super-injunction became public knowledge.

When Ryan Giggs first burst onto the scene in the early 90’s there were many comparisons with Best. Both were quick, skilful wingers. Both were dark, brooding Celts. Both played for Manchester United.

From there the comparions fall a little bit flat. George Best was probably the most talented player of his generation but was more or less washed up and retired by the time he was in his late 20’s.

Giggs by comparison is still a pivotal member of the United first team – a team which has just won the Premier League and is in the Champions League Final this coming Saturday. He is 37 years old. An age when most professional football players have long since retired.

But it is now matters off the pitch which threaten to damage the legacy, reputation and, dare I say, “brand” of Ryan Giggs. Up until now the Giggs brand has been more or less liked by everyone from mothers (including mine!) to blokes down the pub.  Indeed a friend who works in football once told me that Ryan Giggs was one of the nicest guys he’d ever met.

 Up until now, Ryan Giggs has been quietly regarded as a national treasure – not quite the Queen Mother but not far off it.

That reputation is now under severe threat. And while he has shied away from the limelight throughout his career  it will now be very much thrust upon him. Superinjunction or not.

Incidentally I don’t know of a single PR person who would have followed the same path as Schillings and threatened anyone and everyone talking about the case on Twitter… in my view this has caused the most long term reputational damage.

Much now will rest on the shoulders of wily Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Will he be able to give the right advice to Giggs? Will he be able to ensure that the United team provides the right level of support to their colleague? Will he be able to ensure that Giggs is still motivated and productive in his workplace? Most notably against the mighty Barcelona on Saturday night.

The nation, indeed the World, will be watching on Saturday night to see the results of Sir Alex’s work.

Changing the guard

posted by Scott McKenzie

What a week in UK Boardrooms.

It really has been the changing of the guard. We have seen changes at the top of BAT, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group.

We also saw the end of an era at Tesco with Sir Terry Leahy stepping down after 14 years. Sir Terry’s achievements are remarkable and there is no doubt that he will be a tough act to follow.

His replacement Philip Clarke is well-placed however. He is a Tesco-lifer. He understands the UK and International businesses. He is well-respected.

Mr Clarke will be fully aware of the challenges seen recently at other retailers (most notably Asda) when new CEOs have stepped into the role.

He will  be keen to avoid any uncertaintly or ambiguity about his approach. He will want to avoid any damaging mis-steps. He will want to show that he is  up to the job.

A big challenge for him will be to establish his own way of doing things. He will want to create some early momentum and to send a clear signal to his key constituencies (shareholders, customers, competitors, employees, etc) that he really means business.

He will want to establish  a fast-paced agenda which demonstrates that Sir Terry will not be missed. And for that he will need the active support of his Board and his broader leadership team.

And they will have their own agendas and their own ambitions.

Clearly Mr Clarke will need to use his considerable influence and power to manage those relationships. 

In our experience he will also need to work with those colleagues to create a shared vision. What will be their rallying call?

Of course, it starts with Mr Clarke himself. Why should people believe in him? What is his story?

It will only be when he has set out a genuinely compelling narrative for the future of the organisation, and built an emotional connection with his key stakeholders that we will see his agenda gain speed. 

For it is through those connections that he will get the discretionary effort he needs to surpass the achievements of his successor.

We wish him well.

P.S. – You should check out our friend and client Henri’s article on how leaders can effectively communicate strategy… Unfortunately you can only access this if you’re lucky enough to have access via Melcrum to The Hub.

A fit of pique

posted by Scott McKenzie

Cricket followers will have been unsurprised that Australia captain Ricky Ponting has found himself in hot water for losing his temper… again. Let’s face it he does have some form.

You might expect me to castigate Mr Ponting. After all he is a role model to his team, Australia supporters and young aspiring cricketers across the world.

If his actions took place in any other workplace – a factory, or retail outlet or office then I’m sure he would also be facing disciplinary procedures.

Yes damaging the working environment in a fit of pique is unacceptable.

But I must admit I felt a bit sorry for him. After all he was playing in a World Cup match in front of millions of people across the world. It was his first match back after injury. He had been performing well when a stupid mistake saw him run out (not sure how to explain this to non-cricket lovers – basically he failed).

Apparently he threw some equipment at a television. As I understand it he did so in the “save haven” of the Australian dressing-room. And when it became clear that he had done some damage he apologised and immediately offered to pay for a new set.

So, I did feel for him when he had to go through the public humiliation of a disciplinary charge and the subsequent fine of 50% of his match fee. That is a very expensive temper he has there…

I guess my point is that his workplace is very much in the public eye. He is under an enormous amount of pressure. He is passionate about his team and his country. So if that spills over in the privacy of the Australian dressing room should he be so publically punished?

I’m sure that most people will argue that with a leadership role comes certain responsibilities. And it’s difficult to argue with that. But we also want leaders who are committed, passionate and you know what… human.

Don’t we?