Saturday, August 9, 2008
Are We Victims of Our Own Mediocrity?
We have had quite some exchanges in the past posts to do with what the Union should do, is doing and should not be doing as regards Rugby In Kenya. The people who visit this blog seem to be on the same page, but the Union appears to be on a totally different page. We have accused them of management by crisis and moving along from one situation to another without forward thinking or forward planning. Arguments have been mooted that sevens rugby is our platform to build on the fifteens without any focus seeming to be made in this direction by the union. For instance, what prevents the sponsors of the Elgon Cup, who happen to be the same sponsors of the Safari Sevens from making it as big a party as the Sevens? It is no secret they are only after direct sales of their product at the event, but why the lack of hype around it?
This is actually not a post about the sponsor, but more of our managers at the top of the game. In most businesses, there is a critical component of self evaluation called benchmarking. This is where you compare where you stand with your peers or competitors in the market in terms of everything you do. This will give you an idea of where you are and where you can be. That seems to be the problem of the Union. Who do we benchmark against? It is a given we cannot use the so called Tier 1 and 2 nations as these are 'way above us'. However, hearing Union officials talk, you could think we are in these Tiers. Hearing the Chairman complain about being made to prequalify for the World Cup when our "Team 3" can beat the likes of Cameroun and Cote D'Ivoire shows this mentality. Perhaps we do not understand such terms as benchmarking. My belief is that you must benchmark against the same "standards" throughout. We are very ready to compare ourselves with the top rugby nations of the world in terms of playing, but we are also very comfortable being compared with the lowly nations in terms of management. What do I mean? We claim we can take on the best in the world on the field, but when our management is found wanting, we are ready to say "we are better than countries like A, B, C..". That to me, is where our problem lies. We have variable height posts that we adjust according to who is watching the game or the training session.
The IRB top brass have been here for a meeting and apparently are very impressed with our "top brass". They are amazed at the quality of management and amazed at what we are doing with the resources at our disposal. They believe our union is one of the best managed on the continent and can be a model for other unions. With that judgement, the heads of the "top brass" have grown 4 times larger and wait and see the arrogance and impunity with which they will run the sport from now on. They are in fact complaining that they are working very hard, but the rugby public is not content and they don't understand why. Well, I'll say this. Kenyans set very high standards for themselves and are not content with mediocrity. That we Kenyans benchmark ourselves against the best in the world is a testimony to our self belief and commitment to being the best. Such attitudes as they want us to have will not see us win any gold medals at the ongoing Olympic games! Such attitudes are not what make Kenyans the most sought after captains of commerce and industry within Africa and the World at large! Such attitudes are what is slowing down sport, the fastest growing industry in the world, in Kenya.
Have a good weekend.
Posted by ruggerbug at 10:15