Monday, 9 April 2012

Fans view on Bath Rugby Inside Out - 'The Perfect Storm'

First things first, why have I likened Bath Rugby to a Hollywood movie that was made in 2000.

Well the movie portrayed what happened when three storms combined, forming a killer storm. The fishing boat, ‘Andrea Gail’ didn’t survive.

So, rewind two years, is Bath Rugby creating its own ‘Perfect Storm’:
• A new, fanatical Bath Rugby multi-millionaire owner
• A new HQ and training facility
• New headline hitting coaching staff and players

Perfect Storm or not, two years ago Bath Rugby started a transformation programme, the dream/vision is to get Bath, ‘back on top’ and one thing is for sure, Bath now have firm foundations for success. Bruce has amazing credentials and has previously proven to be an extremely successful business man. But what has top flight Rugby got in common with business?

Given the current climate, profitability is one, but leadership, culture (yes that thing everyone talks about, but can’t explain) and a common goal that all must, not only believe in, but live or die by.

I am sure Bruce has read books such as, ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins. Both books track the path of success (or mediocrity) by leading businesses. Having read both books and experienced successful transformation, there are a few key points that serve themselves well, in any walk of life; I believe those to be, in no particular order:
• You need a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)-Everyone should know your BHAG, tea maker to prop forward.
• The BHAG is a journey; you need a vehicle in which to travel (let’s say a BUS), the right people on the bus and sitting in the right seats.
• Everything, everyone does works towards achieving the BHAG-or don’t do it.
• Culture-were all in this together
• Teamwork-no-one person will achieve the BHAG on their own, know your place in the team, achieve your goals and help others achieve theirs. Do not throw stones.
• The Bus will stop, all of them do, when it does, it’s ok for people to get on and off the bus.
• Bad news-Transformation takes 5-7 years
• Make investment feel like, well investment and not debt.

The complication comes when you throw a bunch of professional athletes into the mix. They just want to do what they love and are extremely good at, playing Rugby, everything else to them, is just ADMIN (it has to be done, you just hate doing it). So let them do what they are good at, playing Rugby, sure they have to pop up to the boxes and smile at the cameras. But separate the noise of planning permission and balance sheet worries to those who are employed to look after those items. The cost of operating the club is what it is, burdening the players won’t help, the ground extension is 2-3yrs off, both of these are facts and therefore generating additional revenue should not trouble the players. Hold them accountable for winning, the coaches for coaching and the financiers to making sure there are enough beans to count.

Bruce will have experienced all of the above and know exactly what he and his team needs to do. The club has the desire and passion to succeed. The confidence that Bruce showed recently with his open letter, shows that he is comfortable with the bumpy ride, but will not tolerate under performance (failure).

So what do the fans need to do, well simply trust our new leader(s), shout louder and play our part in transforming Bath Rugby into a world beating Rugby Club. Of course we will be unhappy with under performance, we pay the players wages. But ask yourself these questions, if Bruce had not taken charge, would we be in a better place? Would our future be as bright as it does today?

In summary, keep it simple, let people do their part, that means us, as supporters should be held accountable to shouting louder at ‘The Rec’, the pub or at our Smartphone’s. We have to wait and believe that Bath will be the best. We will taste success, when we do, this period of unrest will feel, well, just like ADMIN, we don’t like the feeling of unrest, but we just have to go through it.
Unlike the ‘Andrea Gail’, Bath Rugby, will survive and will be victorious. Besides the ‘Andrea Gail’ set sail from Gloucester (USA), so deserved to fail...

Written by Jason Keegan
Follow him on twitter @jkshrek

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  1. Great post Jason!
    Let's hope Baths 'storm' has a happy ending!

  2. I think the atmosphere and fan voice can be abit of an issue at the Rec, the HT guest speaker even asked the crowd to get behind the team last week (think it was Hooper).

    I think we all need to get cheering an create an environment at the Rec like the Glaws fans do in the shed!

    PS good post BTW Jason