Rod talked about his time at British Airways and how leaders have to be able to deal with pressure, not least that cause by unanticipated events. His account of how major decisions had to be made on 9/11 with planes in the air heading for North America was compelling. He used one pertinent example to remind us how important it is to acknowledge and respect people at all times and at all levels. When many B A planes were diverted to Newfoundland on that fateful day, there were hundreds of people potentially stranded at a military airfield. Local residents took people in and cared for them. Rod told us that he personally wrote to everyone who had helped in this way- a slightly different take on leadership, but hugely important.
The discussion group that followed Rod’s talk included James Kerr (author of ‘Legacy’ about the All Blacks), Maj Justin Baker (i/c Army Leadership programme), Helen Weir (CFO Marks and Spencer), and former Army Chief of Staff, Gen Sir Peter Wall.
This was followed by a group discussing the business of sport, led by Simon Halliday (Chairman of European Rugby) and including Rob Andrew (CEO Sussex CCC), Richard Bevan (CEO Football League managers Association), Mark Evans (Former CEO of Harlequins Rugby Union and Melbourne Storm Rugby League, now Chair of netball Super League), Polly Handford (Legal and Governance Director, Football Association) and Bill Sweeney (CEO British Olympic Association).
Finally, those attending were involved in a fascinating discussion about the changing world of sport from a playing and coaching point of view. Fascinating contributions were made by Alastair Hignell (ex County cricket and International rugby), Frank Dick (Former GB Athletics Head Coach), Gordn Lord ( RFU Coach development manager), James Farndon (performance adviser, UKSport) and former England cricketers, Vic Marks and Chris Tavare.
Such a high-powered group of people was bound to produce important and meaningful debate, as indeed it transpired. Brief highlights can be seen here, with the whole workshop available in the members only section of this FLS website.