Sunday, 1 April 2018


This was said by Vince Lombardi coach of the Green Bay Packers, the American Football team.

Since then it’s been used in virtually every management conference, sales meeting or leadership group I’ve ever attended. Jack Welch legendary ex-CEO of GE – then the biggest company in the world, actually wrote a book called “Winning”.  I want you to think locker room; the smell of sweat and tired feet, male banter, nick names like Turd, Ball-boy and Snot-Gobbler and a vocabulary stripped to the minimum – more grunts than words. Underneath a kind of rhythmic chant of “winners, winners, winners…back of the net….” This is a world where a red mist rises, rationality flees and the team bonds in a messy heap of self-belief.

This isn’t going to be another analysis of the already over-analysed ball tampering issue traumatising Australian cricket. Interestingly many Australians and others are already beginning to justify the sandpapering of balls (my wife read this and said “Australians really do that – are they crazy?”) by saying everyone does it. In a post Weinstein world that seems a pretty limp excuse. The idolised Indian cricketer Dravid did it, we do it and even educated fleas do it…but it’s cheating and it’s wrong. Umpires have been lax and cricketers over-paid prima donnas. The Australians made it all worse by lying and being generally very stupid.

I recently read a piece in the paper describing a You Tube video on “How to shoplift in H&M” and on the self service check-outs in supermarkets about which some idiot arrogantly said: “Anyone who pays more than half what they should when doing this is a moron”.

This and the Lombardi quote are the two most moronic things in this blog. Because cheating is catching and if it becomes epidemic we are going to be in deep trouble. I even heard a 9 year old recently saying a certain footballer hadn’t dived “properly” by which he meant theatrically and convincingly enough to be awarded a penalty. Don’t blame the boy, blame the men who have allowed cheating to be OK …”because everybody does it”. Remember Maradonna palming the ball into the net and calling it “the hand of God"?

It happens in business as much as in sport. Auditors like KPMG with Carillion are insufficiently scrupulous to notice or feel it appropriate to notice what is sitting there in plain sight. The sorry story of BHS is one of failure to call out the cheats. Everyone is cheating it seems.

But cheating like graffiti is something that grows exponentially the more the culprits think they can get away with it.

As the daffodils thrust their way up cockily throwing two fingers at the beast from the east we can see how courage, determination and energy work to help nature win.  Winning comes as a consequence of all these characteristics.

But it isn’t the most important thing. Winning well and being a classy role-model is.

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