I’ll admit this past weekend has been a little painful with Wales losing the rugby against France by the slimmest of margins.
As well as the game itself, I enjoy watching the after-match interviews. I say ‘enjoy’ but its more of an analysis. Different coaches and players take differing approaches and it speaks volumes to the types of leaders they are. They say that losing is character building, but I disagree; I think that losing is character revealing.
There are leaders who stand in front of the camera and blame external factors for a loss. Much harder to do is stand in the mirror and assess what could have been done differently to achieve a different result. I was disappointed with the Wales loss but it was replaced by pride when the team captain, Alun Wyn Jones, was interviewed and refused to do anything other than congratulate the opponent and address the things he felt his team could have done better; no mention of refereeing decisions that could or should have gone his way – a steely focus on the things within his control. The same could be said for the England captain, Owen Farrell in the loss to Ireland. I didn’t hear those rugby captains at the weekend complain about the injured player they didn’t have available and those are the types of leaders that tend to get the best results; a relentless focus on the things under their control and no fingers of blame pointed towards others.
Here at Cleveland, we build, develop and promote leaders that submit to that ethos which involves a relentless focus on our objective of making our area a safe place to live and visit and how they fit into the bigger picture of service with the resources we have. I often talk about hierarchy of importance within which we operate:
Our focus must always be on the needs of the community, followed by the needs of the organisation followed finally, by the need of individual employees. This is not to say that the needs of individuals are not important; they clearly are. There will be rare days when the hierarchy is flipped, and we prioritise the needs of an employee who may have suffered an illness or bereavement (as examples) but our improvement journey has been very much about putting the community first.
Much like the captains of England and Wales, I have been delighted with the reaction of the vast majority of our staff who see that changes we make are for the benefit of the communities we serve and whilst some of those decisions may have an adverse impact on individual employees, they are made for the greater good.
Great leaders do not always get to pick the field on which they play but regardless, they waste no time in talking about external factors over which they have no control. When they win, they do so with grace and when they lose, they look in the mirror, not out of the window.
Building a great organisation means achieving a critical mass of those types of leaders I mention above, here at Cleveland. It’s led to substantial progress.
Teams Beat Talent.
Every. Single. Time.