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Monday, 29 September 2014

The Ryder Cup, a Great Metaphor for Business Leadership

Like many of us I found the Ryder Cup golf absolutely compulsive viewing to the extent that I am encouraged to write a supplementary blog on the subject of leadership and team building.

All the questions today are based around the fact that the US team (and I use the description reluctantly) was composed of highly successful players mainly on the US PGA circuit and they manifestly were beaten by a better team.

What, then, went wrong?

There were several straws in the wind.  As an overall comment it seems that Team Europe was exactly that, a group of individuals brought together by a great leader with a purpose, that of not just retaining the Cup but winning it again outright.

On the other hand the Americans, with one or two exceptions didn’t seem able to release themselves from the individuality of the game of golf in order to work together as a team

It was fascinating to hear the interviews after the match.  Without exception the members of Team Europe praised Pail McGinley, the non-playing captain as an inspiring leader who melded these strong-minded individuals into a team, all working for and encouraging each other.

The interviews with the US players on the other hand never mentioned the captaincy of one of the greatest exponents of the game.  Indeed at the post match press conference he was compared unfavourably with the Paul Azinger who captained the winning US team in 2004.

On the contrary, the Team Europe players mentioned the attention to detail shown by McGinley, the team meetings in the team room that was referred to as the crèche and the constant help and encouragement given to all of them.

For example, he had ensured that even the team room had been decorated with photographs of past great players as another piece of inspiration.

Greta captaincy or leadership over the years has ensured that the European team has won eight of the last ten meetings and this against great players of the game and in their own backyard on several occasions.

It emphasises to me the power of great leadership, the inspiration that a leader can bring to the team, total attention to relevant detail and the constant emphasis on the purpose to which they all subscribed.

What a great metaphor for business leadership

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