Ross Lyon

Ross Lyon, headhunted former coach of St Kilda has accepted the senior coaching position at Fremantle. The approach, the sacking, the resignation and the move has got everyone talking. What I find most interesting is the parallels to industry, it’s just the AFL is a microcosm of society.

Consider the situation …

  1. The Fremantle board made a decision to gain another Coach to take them to their next stage of development as a club and playing group.  This is not dissimilar to organisations, who are always reviewing their structure and determining the skills needed to reach their goals.
  2. With only 17 clubs at the elite level of the AFL the pool from which to source a Senior Coach is small. Likewise, many companies find themselves in an industry where there is a war for talent. These include Mining, Energy and Resources, Health and Professional Services. The need is great yet experienced talent few, so companies engage Executive Search companies to approach managers and specialists that are housed within their competitors.
  3. The Fremantle board narrows it down to Ross Lyon and approach him for the role and nurture his interest.  Often candidates who are approached are flattered by the gesture. However, it takes time to convince them to leave a company they have been loyal to. It is not a knee jerk reaction, instead a lot of weighing up pros and cons.
  4. Ross Lyon made his decision and with it, the announcement and ultimately the fall-out. I have witnessed even some of the strongest managers come undone here. When it comes time to announce your resignation to your managers, peers and subordinates are you ready for their reaction?

We have witnessed the commercialisation of the AFL and there is the growing question of who is loyal to a club? Is it the players or indeed the coaches? More often it is the supporters … the fans. Coaches come and go, even key players leave, yet the club goes on.

In business who is loyal to you? Your managers, your shareholders, your employees, your peers, your customers or your suppliers? We need to think of the hierarchy of who we need to be loyal to first and foremost so that, regardless of the changes that happen within, our business carries on.

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