Home > Uncategorized > “How can I help you?”…a message for our times?

“How can I help you?”…a message for our times?

With the depressing spectacle of the decline of political and business discourse on both sides of the Atlantic, and the emergence of a general consensus that we are living in a ‘Post Truth’ era, where simply blagging and bragging are the the new modus operandi, how refreshing to be reminded that there is another way to conduct oneself in the modern world.

I have long held the belief that sport and sportsmanship offers an alternative value structure to much of what we have learned in business. In the latter it has become ok to condone an Apprentice style, Alpha male, ‘suck it up or get out’ schtick where every dog is encouraged to eat the dog next door …and then shout about it.

“Can’t hack it?” Get out of the business. “Don’t like conflict?” Abandon the boardroom!

Maybe it is time to look away from the Sugar/Trump model and seek inspiration elsewhere…

I was recently reminded of the value (and values) of team sports and what we can learn and reapply in life, and business in particular. Here the hard yards are always on the pitch and the real battles won through shared values and an overarching and unshakeable sense of purpose, where everyone understands what they have to do.

These values are profoundly ingrained. Sacrifice; self and team mate awareness; respect and valuing of difference in others; resilience; grace and humour under pressure…and an unbending desire to help any team mate who may be struggling. If this can be done, when the bullets have stopped flying, over a few beers then all the better.

Welcome to The Rugby Business Network, where the abiding philosophy was and remains – “How can I help you?”

I joined the London organising committee of TRBN a few years back, and I have never ceased to be amazed at the authentic warmth and welcome of all the members within this happy band of rugby loving business folk. Colm Hannon, the founder, has built a global network of over 30,000 people, who all believe that the best way to counter a world under increasing pressure is to put something back through a raft of charity partnerships; building and supporting a ‘Life after Rugby’ programme, and creating a series of events built on the back of a golden John F Kennedy-esque rule that places others’ needs first.

Bob Skinstad, South African rugby legend hosted just such an evening earlier this week with James Anderson, the England cricket star; Sally Pettipher, the charismatic CEO of Jason Leonard’s Atlas Foundation and Chris Bryant, the Head of Operations at the FA and formerly Operations Director at the recent Rugby World Cup.

As I watched this group amuse, enthrall, educate and inspire the attendees in equal measure, I felt a glow of satisfaction and pride in being part of this band of brothers and sisters. Was this the ‘Best Clubhouse in the World’? For others to judge, but a very welcome respite from a rising tide of cynical, selfish, and largely absent, world leadership.

If you have a spare couple of minutes, take a look at the video below. If you’re interested in joining the RBN, by all means get in touch with me and I’ll point you in the right direction.

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