I came across an old post by Fred Wilson (via Ben Parr) who was saying that a CEO had three roles:
1) sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders;
2) recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company;
3) makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
I’d argue all three of these require great communication to succeed. They also take more than a smidge of team spirit if the leader is to claim glory. After all, success or failure is always down to the leader, right? They’re the heroes or villains based on the performance of others in their charge.
That’s why Martin Johnson’s resigned from his England rugby coaching role. The team’s performance wasn’t strong enough in New Zealand and he’s had to fall on the proverbial sword. The pressure to go must’ve been tremendous, as Johnson is about as much a quitter as Ryan Giggs is maritally faithful.
But what of Johnson’s French counterpart, Marc Lievremont. Lievremont is known to have huge disagreements with his team. His players would say he couldn’t manage the bean bags in a crèche. They were wholly disobedient, mutinous and counter productive to pretty much everything he said. After winning their semi-final match against Wales (we was robbed, ref!), Lievremont asked his players to not party. They saw that as their queue to go out on the town. He should’ve offered them a free bar in a strip club; perhaps they’d have disappointed him by staying in their rooms and getting an early night.
My question is, what if France had won their final in the World Cup? Would success still have come from great leadership? Would Lievremont be able to claim that he’d made decisions in the build up to the tournament that laid foundations for a great performance? That his tactics were what counted, not his personal appeal by the players?
If an organisation is winning, is it really thanks to its leader? Well, Johnson knows losing certainly is.