Where was the ‘integrity unit’ when this wardrobe decision was made?
The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
A full-time member of the integrity unit will be added this week, while two-part-time employees will become full-time.
–‘AFL announces boost to integrity unit’ afl.com.au 20 February 2013
PERHAPS THE KINDEST thing I can say about the AFL administration is that they are sincere in their delusions.
Integrity is not something you can in-source to a few desks away from the windows on the third floor1, it is something, as this article from the Washington Post points out, fundamental to leadership.
Now, the AFL establishing an integrity unit is not the worst crime in the world — they didn’t burn down an orphanage (the AFL, not the integrity unit — although to the best of my knowledge the integrity unit has not burnt down an orphanage either) — but it does speak to an organisation that may have more than one issue in terms of culture.
If you’re keeping score at home: Point One – if you need a separate department to ratify the integrity of a decision/policy, then chances are you don’t have an all-encompassing grasp on the term to begin with; Point Two — you would be within your rights to assume that anything in the job description for the employees within the integrity unit should already apply across the rest of the organisation; Point Three — it has taken nearly ten years for this administration to recognise the significance of integrity!?
Perhaps it was lost among the zeroes of the broadcast deal signed in 2011. Although I, through the agency of Forbes magazine, would remind Mr Demetriou (pictured above with Colonel Mustard) that success will come and go, but integrity is forever.
It is also worth pointing out, from no lesser source than the Harvard Business Review, mind you, that integrity is never easy — and I would suspect it’s a complex issue not solved by the AFL’s HR Department.
But Andrew Demetriou can draw comfort in that he is not the only sporting administrator to keep meeting the dog he kicked yesterday2.
First up horse racing — mentioned here because it long ago put integrity on the Weber and doused it in petrol (not unlike what they did in the UK, although it was the actual horse they put on the Weber… and they didn’t douse it with petrol as it was intended to be sold as ‘beef’). In this comment piece Fairfax’s Michael Lynch again implores “integrity is the key issue for the sport”. I’d like some odds on the message getting through this time — from Tom Waterhouse if possible3.
Two regular punters, both seemingly unaware of the integrity issues that plague the sport
And then there’s those
little shitrags on Stillnox members of Australia’s 4x100m relay team, who last week were the poster boys for two less-than-flattering reviews of the culture of the Olympic swim team — one of which can be found here.
Australian head swim coach Leigh Nugent is one whose role has come under heavy questioning — although his honour was soon restored after he was vigorously defended by Nick D’Arcy. Wait… what?!
1.To be honest, I have no idea where the AFL’s integrity unit is housed and they may well have window views of the Docklands (sub note: It has only just occurred to me how emblematic a move it was for the AFL to up roots and move to the soulless Docklands)
2. I may have lost control of the metaphor here — the ‘dog’ is ‘integrity’; kicking it means treating it with little regard; meeting it means having to deal with it and, well… you get the idea.
3. That Tom Waterhouse pretentiously claims he has generations of racing in his blood and conveniently forget to mention that both his father and grandfather were booted off just about every racecourse in the country, suggests the sport may still have some way to go in taking integrity seriously. Actually, anything Tom Waterhouse puts his name to demands not being taken seriously.