Tuesday 1 March 2016

The Red Rose Turning Over a New Leaf

change management
When choosing new team members, one of the leading considerations is, without a doubt, the alignment of the individual to the core beliefs and values of your organisation. Whether the role is for a junior or senior position, this is relevant and becomes increasingly so as the person progresses through the organisation, responding to new demands and taking on more responsibilities.

Sometimes though, bringing in new blood creates an opportunity to consolidate and realign an organisation’s brand values, where simply singing from the same hymn sheet and following the accepted way in which the company must progress just won’t cut it. Take the example of a manager who is recruited to work under an MD who wishes to bring about a change or realignment in the organisation and therefore selects a second-in-command which many may view as controversial. A new manager with explicitly alternative methods can, in this case, provide a breath of fresh air, reinvigorating and reinventing what the company stands for.

The case of England Rugby Union’s new captain is a perfect example of such rebranding. Dogged by poor performances which were preventing the team from achieving the success which their potential suggested they should, the coach and his staff made a controversial decision to elect Dylan Hartley – a man with a year’s worth of suspensions due to a raft of disciplinary offences – as the captain and the leader of the team in practice on the field. In so doing, the coaching team (SMT) has ‘screamed from the rooftops’ that England will now look to play through a specific style of rugby that the hard-nosed Hartley epitomises. Such decisions are never easy ones, embroiled in risk as many criticise the unorthodoxy of following a new course, yet for success to be achieved, Eddie Jones et al feel there is a necessity for a change to the perception of English Rugby, which Hartley represents.

It is a shift in brand values that many will disagree with and find uncomfortable; a captain and therefore a team who are praised by the very fact that they have been selected, despite poor discipline. One consequence of such a change is that, whether it breeds success for the team or not, this new England Rugby brand could be perceived as advocating foul play and ill discipline and may lose many supporters in the process. Perhaps for Eddie Jones, this is a necessary evil in order to achieve his objectives, but nevertheless the change of brand values will have a profound effect on the reputation and popularity of the team. This begs the question what is the ultimate goal for English rugby? To win, or to establish role models for young people to aspire towards?

The recruitment of an individual outside of the company’s core beliefs and values can change the brand perception drastically, particularly when that person occupies a significant role. It is the job of the employer to establish their priorities, and weigh up whether the company’s new path for success is worth the change in perception which may come with it.