Just another slow starting year from the Swans?

swans-bulldogs-hannebery-richardsPhoto Source: Anthony Pearse, AFL Media

At 3-2 the Swans aren’t in a dire position. Think back to a year ago and the Swans started 1-3 and even though they went on to win 12 in a row, many of those wins early on were far from perfect. Notorious slow starters or are there genuinely some chinks in the armour? Premierships aren’t won in May and having the best home and away record doesn’t mean you’re automatically assured of a premiership? We finished 3rd in 2012 and 1st in 2014….remember what happened in those two years?

Yesterday’s game was frustrating – a 4 point loss to the Western Bulldogs. The clean silky ball movement wasn’t there (albeit it was pretty wet) but good forward pressure by the Bulldogs led to many mistakes by the Sydney back line. The mid-field and forward line were good but poor decision making, fumbles and turnovers in the back half made clean position hard to get; and allowed for some costly goals to the Bulldogs. To a certain extent Malceski and his reliable  kicking and rebounds from the back half have been missed.

Goodes kicked a few goals but looked slow in the wet. You could see the effort but I have to admit, fathertime is catching up to him and the opposition are taking advantage of it. Playing in the forward line the pressure just isn’t there when the opposition have the ball which makes it easy for opponents to get it out of their danger zone. It’s hard to see him keeping his place. Hannebery was magnificent, Parker and Kennedy were solid, and Buddy, well… he was just being held all day. If the Swans had of kicked straight, we may have snatched it, especially Tippet’s set shot that hit the post! However, the Swans didn’t deserve to win it yesterday and that near perfect game against Port from round 2 seems like a distant memory.

I think John Longmire might need to change things around a bit. We need a solid reliable kick in the back half and a solid conducter. Who better than Jarrad McVeigh? This will add some stability to the back half and allow a spot for Tim Mitchell in the mid field. I also think for next weeks game Goodes, Towers and Cunningham need to go with Reid, McGlynn and Heeney to come back in.

Sitting in the stands yesterday it was great to see just how passionate the Swans supporters are. It’s still early in the season and there will be highs and lows. Hopefully the boys can learn from this and play a better game at the MCG V Demons next week. And yes, wet weather footy is just something that the Swans are not very good at.

Leadership and being “understated” in the business world


What does it mean when someone says “You’re understated?” My perception of this is that maybe you’re not seen as verbose and loud enough and that you’re not quick enough to voice your opinion in front of other people. Of course these situations build the brand and persona of who you are in the business world and that can heavily influence how people see you. But does it make you any more or less effective as a leader?

The thing about being a great leader is that there is no one true model to follow. All the studies I’ve done and all the people I’ve observed – the one constant is that everyone has a different approach to leadership. Some are loud, some are quite, some are collaborative, some are dictatorial….and some may be understated.

You are who you are and being under/overstated is one trait that I personally don’t feel is as important as others. I have constantly battled with the idea that I have to be more “overstated” and “verbose” and just give an opinion for the sake of it – so that I’m noticed. But do I? No…I can’t say I have.

A colleague of mine shared a really interesting article with me the other day titled “One Trait A Great Leader Can’t Live Without” – I couldn’t agree with it more. The article talks about a leader’s aversion to anything that makes them appear weak. You’re a leader – you know everything right? Being humble separates being a good leader from being a great leader. So could a perception of “being understated” make me appear weak? That could very well be the case – but I would rather stay true to who I am and what I represent.

Does culture eat strategy?

An 18 month hiatus and a commitment to writing more regularly! I’m back.

Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Believe it or not? Generally, strategy rules the roast and is seen as the more important side of the equation. To me they are equally important. Can’t have one without the other. It’s like a good sporting team without a good coach, or a good coach without a good team. To succeed you need both sides clicking.


I’m fascinated with how some leaders think culture is a function of HR thing or a marketing thing. Is it the responsibility of these departments alone? Culture is in every single person in the organisation. It needs to be. Win at all costs and not living the values of an organisation to achieve? That’s a no no in my book and leads to disruptive and unproductive practices, least of all it is very demotivating and demoralising. An organisation’s core assets are its people and without people, you don’t have the ability to execute strategy. To look after your people means to develop a strong culture, a bond, a commitment, and a willingness that you actually care and have empathy.

Too often leaders pay lip service to culture. Well, it doesn’t lead to a measurable Return on Investment such as hiring someone and getting x% growth in sales – so why should I really care right? I just want to make sure I hit that financial goal! What separates good leaders from others is a commitment to people and being measured not just on the what but the how. A great leader needs to understand the value of how.

Pepsi Max & Uncle Drew

With huge marketing budgets, brands like Pepsi have the ability to spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns. And when you bring in sporting personalities, the ideas can be endless. And when the sporting personalities are NBA stars it makes it even more enjoyable (for me anyway!). I can’t help but love what Pepsi Max have done with the Uncle Drew series (Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavs).  I saw the first one many months ago and they have just released the second chapter (with Kevin Love of the Timberwolves and Legendary Celtic Bill Russell). No doubt there will be more to come.  Now this is content well worth sharing! Here are the 2 vids below:

1) Here’s the first chapter  from earlier on in the year. 15 million views can’t be wrong =)

2) And the latest one just released with Uncle Drew and Wes…

The Bloods…2012 Sydney Swans

Has it been that long since I wrote here? Well a lots happened since and no doubt the highlight was the Sydney Swans taking out the Premiership. Wins against Adelaide and Collingwood broke 2 hoodoos and the Swans made it to the big dance. Yet, very few gave them a chance against the favourite Hawks. And as the Hawks pulled away by 2 goals in the final quarter, the writing was on the wall. I’ve watched it over and over and was amazed at the courage and determination of the Swans never to give up. They could have packed it in and called it a “fine year” – a year that no one predicted they would go very far. But the Bloods were not to be denied. Without doubt one of the greatest AFL grand finals of all time. Still get goose bumps watching the final few minutes! A few of my favourite things:

1) From SwansTV: Premiership – The Directors Cut
Still get goosebumps watching this. Especially the images once the final siren sounded.

2) The McVeigh family

Something very close to my heart. Nothing more to say – the tears in Clementine’s eyes says it all. Check the video below for the inspirational story.

3) In the Winners Room with the Swans after the Grand Final

Great to see vision of Kieran Jack’s dad – former Balmain, NSW and Australian fullback- Garry Jack, as well as former Swans coach Paul Roos.

4) The Swans Ticker tape parade in the Streets of Sydney

Sydney siders rocked up to show their support for the Swans

5) The Usain Bolt sprint by Lewis Jetta V Collingwood in Preliminary Final

An amazing goal. Gotta feel sorry for the Collingwood defender…well… maybe not.

The 2013 Lakers: Locked & Reloaded

What an off season it has been for the Lakers. Plenty of opinions and analysis with Twitter lighting it up. In the final wash, over the past 12 months, the Lakers have basically given up Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and some low first round draft picks and turned it into Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Jordan Hill; and added some nice free agents in Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison. Wow. You think Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss don’t know what they are doing now? Expectations abound and opinions are divided about how it will all work; remember the summer of ’03 when Payton and Malone joined Kobe and Shaq – that didn’t work out too well.  Here’s a few articles to make your mouth water:

LA Times – TJ Simers: “Jim Buss gets the last laugh” – With Dwight Howard following Steve Nash to the Lakers, Buss makes his father proud.

ESPN LA – Arash Markazi: “Dwight Howard headed to Lakers” – Dwight Howard is happy to be a Laker, and his arrival punctuates Mitch Kupchak’s summer.

ESPN – Michael Wilbon: “Dwight Howard lucky to be a Laker” – Showtime returns to LA. Above all else, the Lakers know NBA titles are delivered by the men in the middle.

CBS Sports – Ken Berger: “Joining Kobe, Nash, Gasol in L.A., time for Howard to act like a champion” – Is Dwight Howard ready to stop playing around? Is he ready to play? Ready to take the torch from Kareem and, yes, Shaquille O’Neal, and help Kobe win his sixth NBA title? 

Hoopsworld – Eric Pincus: “Kupchak on Howard: We got the best” – The home runs have been hit for the summer.

And check out some of these photo spoofs from Laker fans all around the world!

Difficult decisions & Times of Change

It’s often said that you don’t show your true colours as a leader until you are forced  to make a tough decision. I do believe in this, and that the very essence of leadership is about showing true grit in times of uncertainty and when emotions can get in the way. I tend to think it’s easy when things are going well. As a manager and leader of people, it’s never easy to give the news of budget cuts or even harder to let roles and people go – which is happening a lot these days with the uncertainty of global economic markets. To some, people you work with are literally family, spending over 40 hours a week together. And when you have to be the bearer of bad news it’s never easy. So you appreciate the emotion that can affect people. But  how, as a leader, do you pick up the pieces and ensure the rest of your team continues to push ahead with your vision in the face of challenging times?

As a leader you can’t hide behind your decisions. When things change and people depart, there’s always a sense of uncertainty, emotion, shock and confusion. Give people peace of mind and be honest about the what and the why. I think that as a leader a core skill is to be authentic and genuine. Show that as much as you’re a manager and a leader, at the end of the day, you are human. To me that’s when you gain the respect of your peers and your team. As much as it can be daunting, building that “leadership mettle” is a critical step to advancing ones’ career. I can guarantee that in any career, there will always be ups and downs. Enjoy the ups, but make use of the downs. They can be invaluable.

You’ve really got to put things in perspective. Is life fair? No. Of course not. But we’re all dealt the hand we’re given and we have to push on.