What is a club in any case?

by | Sep 26, 2019

This Saturday, two clubs will do battle in the AFL Grand Final. One of those clubs, Richmond, is the reason I love the game. I fell in love with the Tigers before I fell in love with the game.

It is therefore no surprise that this quote from the remarkable Sir Bobby Robson, a legend of the world game, is a favourite.

It reads:

“What is a club in any case?

“Not the buildings or the directors or the people who are paid to represent it. It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.

It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.

It’s a small boy clambering up stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at the hallowed stretch of turf beneath him, without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”

In our game, it is a parent holding a child’s hand, as our sport is becoming a game for everyone.

All of us can relate to that child. The day you fell in love with something and not being able to do a thing about it. It stays with you, and then as an adult, you get to watch your kids do likewise. From dinosaurs and superheroes, to rockstars and sport, and a new set of heroes.

But how does this apply to your world and your organisation?

What if we were to change the Bobby Robson quote just a little, exchanging the word ‘club for the ‘name of your organisation’.

ie. “What is (name of your organisation) in any case?

This conversation goes to the heart of your organisation’s purpose.

It is not a ‘faster, higher, stronger’ conversation that most people associate with elite sport as per the Leunig cartoon below. It is  a ‘slower, deeper, wiser’ discussion, so often avoided or lost in our sense of overwhelm…the busy.

In my experience, there is no competitive advantage in your Inbox, but that prospect exists if you can build a habit of reflection into the rhythm of your life, and that of your organisation.

The ‘deep work’ starts with two simple questions:

  1. Who we are?
  2. Why we do it?

From this process of reflection you are trying to find meaning, connection and belonging, three core components of purpose, and with that that a deep sense of belief, something that sport is inherently good at, but ultimately as leaders, a higher-purpose goal to aim for, remembering:

“People want to believe in something bigger than themselves.”

Enjoy the footy.

Go Tiges.

I always enjoy the opportunity to talk all things culture and high-performance, and the development of leaders to achieve it.

Here are three ways to start the ball rolling:

  • I teach and coach an integrated leadership performance system utilising sophisticated learning models and systems garnered from elite team sport, ideal for leaders who are committed learners, who understand the responsibility of leadership. To learn more, please arrange your FOC 30-minute leadership telephone consult to discuss your personal, team or organisational challenges or aspirations, please use this link.
  • Participate in our next one-day Leadership Masterclass which I personally facilitate. It is a sophisticated, intimate and practical leadership intensive for aspirational leaders, both current and emerging. To learn more, and to register, please use this link.
  • Sign up for the “More to the Game” weekly email, and receive a copy of my “What business can learn from football” White Paper. The emails are short leadership reflections, no more than a couple of minutes to read and we will always treat our communication with respect. Please use this link.

You can also contact me at cameron@designCEO.com.au and let me know how you think we can work together.

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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