The Message is in the Performance

End of year reflections tend to focus on momentous events and the stunning ineptitude in handling them by the politicians who are meant to lead us.

However, my reflection this year is centred on a more positive example of leadership, especially as it fits so closely with the teachings of John Adair, my favourite leadership writer (and whose works feature in Thorogood Publishing’s fascinating and rewarding business book list).

I want to look at, of all things, Saracens, the rugby stars of the 2015/16 Premiership season and 2016 Champions of Europe.
When I reflect on John Adair’s holy trinity of TASK, TEAM, INDIVIDUAL, I am struck by how well team Saracens comes to exemplifying the theory and practice of his teachings.

This comes through in the summary of their approach that is even laid out and displayed on the clubroom walls at Allianz Park. It is set out in four columns, as follows:


Live the values, don’t just talk

Embrace, don’t resent, other opinions

Be honest with yourself first

Only expect what you are willing to give


Do the right thing at the right time

Know your individual role and responsibility

Maintain self-control, actively influence others

Promote and defend our culture – always


Earn respect by working hard

Always out-work the opposition

Inspire others by striving for new levels

Always be ready to do TSPDS (The sh*t people don’t see)


Be humble in victory, gracious in defeat

Accept the group matters more than you

Enjoy the ride because it can end at any time

Respect everybody’s contribution

I think you’ll agree that they form a good set of values – and have created a winning culture. Business and Politics would do well to copy them.

Published on Dec 21, 2016 by Neil Thomas