This is awesome #AHRINC 2015

What a great start to the day!

Epic first key note from Ram Charan (#gotmybooksigned) and now am sitting in waiting for Gary Pert (CEO Collingwood Football Club) to speak about creating a high performance culture (something I blogged about recently on the AHRI National Convention Blog).

I’m very excited to hear what Gary has to say about the lessons he’s learned on the sportsfield and how they’ve been applied to a successful organisation.


From Gary Pert’s intro I’ve learned he has done a lot of very impressive stuff… a lot. He isn’t here to convince us to be Collingwood supporters (“good” says a lot of the crowd).

In Gary’s initial takeover of the CEO at Collingwood FC role he realised that self belief was great… but they hadn’t won a permiership in 20 years, membership hadn’t changed from 40,000 in years, in recent times they’d also not been making huge financial gains either.

In assessing the figures he realised that they just didn’t make sense. They owned the Beach Hotel and the Diamond Creek… income against rent just didn’t play out to their advantage.

First meeting with Westpac – Gary was told (at the start of the GFC) that if they were a normal organisation Westpac would have taken the keys… so things were grim!

But crisis is a great reason for change – and the fundamentals for creating high performance teams in those environments are the same.

These fundamentals are:

– establish and create a vision for the club/organisation: “To be the biggest and best sporting club in Australia” (BRW named them the biggest sporting franchise for the last 5 years)

This then drove everything the CEO and the exec has done in the last 8 years

– create our purpose: “To win AFL Premierships”

Gary asks us all to make sure we can write down the purpose of our organisations (I’m happy to say I can do this in working at YMCA Victoria 🙂 )

– our mission & clarity within the organisation (to give a counterbalance to that drive for performance) – this is what sets us apart. “To create a club where players, staff and supporters can live their dreams and ambitions”. Asking staff “are you living your dreams and ambitions working us here at the Collingwood FC”

Best memory was when Gary took the cup to a retirement village and they had their kids and grandkids there. Gary had a long drive back to Melbourne – a son and daughter asked Gary to take the cup to their mother in high care (the son and daughter we in their early 70s). The whole family was in the room, they asked for a photo with the cup – the family had been told that Mum was going to pass away and they believed she stayed for this event because she was such a big Collingwood supporter. Gary had a call on the Monday saying that the Mum had passed away that night.


– who are our key stakeholders? 

1. Supporters

2. Players

Could your exec articulate who their key stakeholders are? Gary thinks that’s because poor decisions are due to the key people not knowing the difference between parterns and stakeholders. Partners = AFL, media. Stakeholders = the people that you build your strategy around.

“Our people are our most important thing” In a high performance environment you can’t build your strategy around your current people (because if you do you will never do better than those people can do). You need to set goals that are in excess of what your people can do. That will create change. In footy you often understand how/why people need to be ‘superceeded’ 

– create your leadership proposition

Collingwood FC’s values: side by side, excellence, discipline, relentless, community.

Big organisations often say… I’m big on values, but our people won’t embrace the values. But when the exec/board were asked to write down their values – none of them could. Out of the 7 values, the average they got right were 2.5. 

99/1 rule – as a leader you get judged on the one.

Gary asked the Captain to set the values with the team. Critical that the players (or team) are on board with what the values are and why they’re recognised as being important.

“Those five words aren’t where the power sits” – it’s in everyone living the values through real accountability. If you can’t or won’t live the behaviours then you’re not welcome in the team.

The first part of the induction for new staff members is with Gary, the CEO, saying how critical the values are at Collingwood. They promote those who live the values, reward them with bonuses etc. 

Once the leadership proposition was set then they set their goals. (Which were all unrealistic and unacheivable)


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