Category Archives: AFL

There’s no crying in Football! or should there be?

I had a great day today. Did one of the things I love doing most of the world. I went to the MCG with my Dad and my son (and cousin and 90,000 of my best friends) to watch an AFL game. I just love it. The atmosphere, the food, the shouting, the passion, the raw combative power and nature of the game.

I get pretty fired up at these games, I’m not my normal calm self, I kind of get involved. However I have had to calm/centre myself, now I have to be an example to my son. I do need to turn it down a few notches.

I found myself conflicted today however. Let me paint you the scene. The team I (and my son) support got absolutely thumped. We put up a bit of a fight, but in the end, we weren’t really good enough on the day. My son was shattered. It upset him greatly that we were losing, and tears started at an early stage.

This surprised me a bit, he hadn’t really done this before. My initial reaction was to calm him down. Remind him that losing happens, you have to take your turn and you need to be a good sport and that tears for not winning is not really acceptable. Then I thought a little more. Is this teaching him to accept losing? Should I be teaching this? It’s good to hate losing and to be single focused in achieving what you want. There has to be some level of competitiveness in you to be successful, and an acceptance of losing, well…. is it acceptable?

I was/am really conflicted. I’ve been told that to be more successful personally I need to be harder, (you’re too nice) have a bit more mongrel in me. OK losing happens. Should I be teaching that you have to like it? You should swallow it, grit your teeth, learn from it and come back better next time. But not like it, isn’t that accepting mediocrity?

Maybe this makes me a bad person or parent. I do believe that as a kid it isn’t if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts, especially when you are learning skills, sports or at school, but do I believe that as an adult?

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Is "SORRY" really the hardest word?

I love my football, I love my Carlton Football Club, and my mood on the days they play, effectively mirrors the way the team plays. I understand it is a game, but it is a release, an escape if you will. It is a great leveler, CEO’s and Parliamentarians and truck drivers and people without a job, pensioners and students are all the same. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are personally invested (not so much financially) in some way. The ramifications of those 22 players (AFL team) has on your general state of mind (and voice) is amazing.

The highs you get from a victory, those devastating lows from a defeat, and the constant analysis of your team, where they are now v where they should be, is all consuming.

My team broke my heart this week. Its not like I’m not used to them losing.. however it was the way they lost that was disappointing. There was an obvious plan. It just didn’t work. Plain and simple. Bottom line my team got killed.

Understandably the team got criticised heavily from all corners. However, the coach responsibly said and not to quote but… “we got it wrong. The game plan didn’t work.”

Hopefully, they’ll learn from it and get better from here.

How many of us are strong enough to draw the line in the sand when things aren’t working out. Stand up to your critics (internal and external) and say.. “Yep, that was my mistake. It was a bad call. We tried but it didn’t work. We’ll learn from it, put some more plans in place and continue to get better!”

Admitting to a mistake is the ideal time to make some changes, to gain buy in, and to deliver something. The buy in is normally there because when you make a mistake in the Recruitment world, it has business impacts and the business will want to help you achieve results to help them achieve.

I was once at a Management weekend away, and somehow got myself in the spotlight. It became obvious to all that the theme for the first day was “How Recruitment is ruining our business!” FUN! as I was the only Recruitment person in the room. It was a tough day, the toughest one in my career actually.

Turning up the next day, dragging my sorry behind to the first session, felt like a death march to me, I couldn’t be late, but I couldn’t seem to make myself walk forward. One of the Directors at the time sidled up next to me and asked me how I was doing?

“Honestly? I feel really really bad” Said I
“Really? why? drink too much last night?”
“Nope, yesterday felt like a whole day just attacking me, and I’m not sure how today is going to go.”
“Well”, said the Director “The bad news is that you were right. However the good news is that you were right! If the Executive didn’t think you had what it took to deliver, quite simply you wouldn’t be here. You have the opportunity now to implement all those plans we’ve spoken about, to give solutions. They want you to achieve, you just need to now tell them how you are going to. They will afford you the tools and resources. now you can do it.”

I have to say one of the more powerful little walks I’ve ever had. Liberating if you will, and it turned into a really high level of activity and success for the Recruitment team and the business.

I had to stand up and say essentially OK, what we have been doing isn’t working. As the Manager, I’ll accept responsibility and this is how we solve it.

I’ve heard a lot, people saying don’t apologise, it shows weakness. I really don’t agree, I think it shows strength. It is easy to deflect blame and raise your hands saying.. “it wasn’t me, not my fault etc”, it is way tougher, to stand up straight, hold your head high and say “Yeah, it was a mistake, my mistake. I’m sorry it happened, we’ll rectify this, learn from it and move ahead.”

Is apologising a sign of weakness? Admitting fault or blame a limiting thing for your career?