Fit For Purpose?

Are the ECB Management Fit For Purpose?

“Fit for purpose” is an interesting phrase.  One of those business bullshit phrases but one that carries some actual clout.  It is subjective; who decides what constitutes “fit for purpose”?  What one may hold as a definition will differ from that held by others.

Perception is reality where FFP is concerned.  Top management at Southern Railways argue theirs is the only company capable of running that franchise. The Commons Transport Committee says otherwise. So do loads of inconvenienced and very upset passengers.

The reality may be somewhere in between.  Actually, that’s a bad example since Charles Horton, Southern Rail CEO has a track record of exceptionally poor rail service and customer satisfaction wherever he’s worked. The reality in this case is that Southern top management are not fit for purpose.

Generally the reality may be more likely to be somewhere in between.

If you asked Yates “Is the ECB management fit for purpose?” you can probably guess what his answer would be.

That isn’t to say that those people don’t hold a deep love for cricket but that they should be consistently outstanding in their conduct and performance.  They should be and be seen to be beyond reproach.  Mediocrity should not be tolerated.  Conflicts of interest, whether perceived or actual, should not be tolerated.

And that is the problem.  Where is the outstanding leadership?  Money and a big mouth do not make a great leader.  Donald Trump demonstrates this beautifully.  Taking a “Shut up and don’t ask questions” approach is not great leadership.  Coming into a high profile role with a great big chip on your shoulder is not great leadership.

If there is any truth to the recent story about ECB top management then we are talking about a severe lapse in standards, a severe lack of awareness, a severe manifestation of mediocrity; in other sectors this would be grounds for disciplinary action or even dismissal.

Today’s report in the Telegraph about counties targeting Mr Mediocre (that’s Colin Graves to non regulars) over conflict of interest comes after a piece in Private Eye about this very subject, including the use of the term “sniff test” IIRC.

Just because someone has been loyal to a county for a period of time is not sufficient reason for them to be elevated to a senior management position. Just because someone is seen as a “good egg” and doesn’t upset people by asking awkward questions is not sufficient reason for them to be elevated to a senior management position.

Counties should look for exceptional people to hold high positions in their clubs and in the ECB.

Tom Harrison and Colin Graves are mediocre. And that’s the polite word for it.  The “shut up and don’t ask questions” approach in the start of the City 20 stitch up and the continuing lack of transparency in the Durham shafting demonstrates this in spades.

How do you find these great leaders? Some can improve over time to become such.  A great leader is a mix of characteristics.  Top of those must include impeccable conduct, impeccable ethics and understanding of cricket as a game, as a social construct and how it fits into communities.  Yates also feels that a lack of business and a lack of public outbursts are a good thing to have.  Looking like a younger version of the Major from Fawlty Towers isn’t a good thing.

This regurgitation of more teenagers recognising John Cena than Alastair Cook is an example of that. It’s like some kind of neo-Brexit “OH MY GOD! THIS IS AWFUL!”.  Will we be seeing this as a headline in the Daily Heil?

Whatever your opinions on the product, WWE has a mightily impressive marketing machine and a magazine aimed at youngsters than has been available in the UK since the mid 1980s.  Did the ECB top management know that?  Magazines get passed around (stop sniggering at the back there!), that’s how word was spread in Yates’ younger days.  That’s how Wembley Stadium got sold out for Summerslam 92 despite almost all WWE shows being on Sky.

And if ECB top management didn’t know that or how that came to pass then that’s another demonstration that they are not fit for purpose.