Gerard Murphy Consulting. Improving lives and teams by facilitating honest, supportive conversations.

April 2, 2013
Good People & Good Governance

My family and I recently returned to Australia after living in London for almost four years.  During this period I was fortunate enough to be able to work in, and observe the professional sporting cultures of English soccer, rugby, union rugby league and the GB Olympic team.

This experience provided me with examples of great team culture, poor team culture and lots inbetween.

With this as background, I have been intrigued by the ‘cultural’ issues within our sporting teams that have been unfolding on an almost daily basis.

Initially it was the post-Olympic discussion, followed by the Essendon FC & ACC report, Adelaide FC, Melbourne FC, Cronulla Sharks, the Australian swimming team and the Aussie cricket team suspensions (apologies to anyone I have missed).

Each of these examples is extraordinarily complex but would have been prevented through the implementation of two simple yet critical factors – values-driven leaders followed by good governance.

Values-driven people articulate their values and live by them.  They understand who they are and what they stand for.  Under pressure, they take responsibility and revert to their values to make decisions.  They instill confidence in their team.  This enables the group to move forward as a unit, permitting them to prevail when many would have doubted it possible.

Such people can be very difficult to identify and I wish that I had a dollar for every person who has asked me “where can I find good leaders?”

Begin by looking for leaders in great teams or organisations.  Identify your targets and analyse how they perform when things are going against them.  Do they refer to their values or do they self-protect?  Do they put the team first or do they do their own thing.

When you have identified your values-driven people, and placed them in every key of leadership position within your organisation, then you must support them with excellent structures and governance.  This will provide the framework for ethical and honest decision making.  It will provide the organisation with the checks and balances required and it will give every leader the confidence to make informed decisions that will improve the team.

Without sound governance, good people can make bad decisions.

These two factors alone will not create elite teams, but they are a great place to start.  From this starting point you can then begin to implement all the other important elements of a great team or organisation.