All Black Winning Strategy Has Wider Applications

The success of the All Blacks does much for the general morale of the country, and the pleasure of following a successful team has some value, but at the end of the day it still a sport and any team is only as good as their last game. However, we now have such a culture of success around the All Blacks that losing is not an option. After any loss serious questions are asked and we are not satisfied until mountains are moved and we are regarded as the top team again. There has also been considerable investment in making sure the RWC is a successful event and immediate Government intervention occurred when Auckland experienced one or two hiccups.

Why can't we have similar expectations applied to all that we do, whether it be economic or environmental management, or even education? It appears to me that when our Prime Minister is questioned on our performance in any of the above, he feels comfortable to claim that we are not the worst and he is happy following the lead of other countries. Why should we spend more money on ensuring a sporting event goes well than addressing our polluted rivers, down graded economy or the drop in the international rankings of our Universities?

If you think of the sort of approach Graham Henry may use and apply it to water pollution it may look something like this (I have replaced the Prime Minister or Nick Smith with Henry for this fictitious news conference):

Journo: Minister Henry, we appear to have lost quite a few rivers recently to high levels of pollution?

Henry: Any loss is unacceptable, we don't like losing and are already examining the deficiencies in our game and planning the necessary action going forward.

Journo: Minister, do you think your policies were appropriate, considering the extent of the losses.

Henry: We are spending much time analysing what occurred and we think we may need to make changes to the team, we are disappointed with the lack of intensity from some of our players and there is not the commitment we would have liked.

Journo: Federated Farmers have claimed we need more analysis and that we don't want to take any action that will reduce their earning capacity.

Henry: Now there's a player whose performance concerns me greatly, Fed hasn't been operating as part of our team and he has been particularly selfish with water possession. He may be our highest paid player but at the end of the day he's just one of the team. I think we may need to toughen up on our rules and expectations to get the sort of performance we expect. I think we also need to look at the outside coaching and advice Fed has received, I think sponsors such as Fonterra have had too much sway and let commercial interests get in the way of good play. The environmental ball has been dropped too often.

Journo: Some say that our "100% pure" brand has lost the credibility it once had because of a series of poor performances, what would you say to those critics?

Henry: I think we have rested on our laurels for too long and it is a bit of a wakeup call for the boys. They know how much value the country puts on our success, it is something that opens international doors and provides us with valuable opportunities on the world's stage. Our brand is everything and the boys should remember that.

Journo: There have been suggestions that in times of economic crisis we need to focus on cutting back spending and clean rivers are a luxury, what are your thoughts?

Henry: There are huge economic benefits from being a winner and it gives us a psychological advantage. Everyone wants a piece of the action if you are the best in the world, investing in being the best is a no brainer.

Journo: Thank you, Minister Henry.

Henry: (Away from microphones) I hope you you write this up positively, otherwise I might be losing my job in November. I don't think the voters will tolerate another loss unless I can produce a credible game plan going forward.


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