Cheating from the top

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By Strategic Partner Tom O’Meara

The fact that Australian cricketers premediated a disgraceful ball tampering scandal is bad enough, but the killer which has Australia mourning and the world outraged is that the decision was made and approved by the captain and vice-captain.

Captain Steve Smith is ranked number one Test batsmen in the world and his off-sider David Warner fifth in the world.

Does this mean the best two players make the best captain and vice-captain? The appointments by Australian Cricket now have to be questioned as to the process and reasons why they selected Smith and Warner.

For decades the two iconic leaders in the country were the Prime Minister and the Australian cricket captain –  how times have changed.

Smith is banned for 12 months and won’t be considered as a leader for at least two years, Warner also has a 12-month ban and will never return to the leadership group.

Cameron Bancroft, the junior of the team who used sandpaper to tamper with the ball, has received a nine-month ban.

Cricket Australia said Coach Darren Lehmann was not involved in the decision but the pressure on Lehmann and his family resulted in his resignation. He did suggest that for there to be a change of culture there needed to be a new coach.

While evidence suggests Warner was the instigator, the buck has to stop with Smith, who is equally at fault for allowing a flawed and arrogant approach to try and win the Test against a typically tough South African team.

Many around Australia don’t give a toss about Warner being kicked out of the Test side and missing the opportunity to be the first $6 million-a-year-man.

There certainly is sympathy for Smith but he will have to live with the stain of the ball-tampering scandal.

What does sadden me is the reputation worldwide that Australians don’t play fair and will break the rules to win.

Apart from tarnishing Australia’s reputation world-wide, the action has also shattered the dreams of thousands of young Australian supporters.

The word cheat is an anathema to me but from the Prime Minister down, Australians are rightly saying the leaders of the Australian cricket team are cheats.

But there is a bigger message which doesn’t stop on the sporting field.

The scandal opens up a Pandora’s box about leaders and captains world-wide making extraordinary decisions to win an event or improve profits at the expense of clients and supporters.

While the cricket cheats were on the front page, the business page of the Mercury carried a story about Telstra facing a $10 million fine for charging more than 100,000 customers for digital content such as games and ringtones which they had no idea they had purchased.

A few days earlier the CEO and Chairman of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, apologised after days of silence that data of 50 million Facebook users had been shared/sold to the Cambridge Analytica company unbeknown to his clients.

“This was a breach of trust and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” Zuckerberg said in full pages in the UK and America.

Ongoing in Australia, the Government’s powerfully appointed inquiry into Australia’s top four banks is sadly finding clients have been misled on mortgages, with the banks refunding millions in credit card stuff ups and other questionable products such as insurance.

It certainly shakes the foundation of business and the community when the banks are on the dock and are hardly coming up smelling like roses.

All of these disappointing stories are in the category of that horrible word, cheat, or cheaters.

The definition of cheat, as I’m sure you know is; to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.

There’s nothing wrong with making an advantage through smart, creative ideas, or implementing high end training and strategy programs to win a grand final within the rules.

The frightening aspect of the above examples are the decisions have been approved by the CEO, or at least the upper management team.

Do we put too much pressure on CEOs and leaders to meet budgets and grow the business, or is it a case of not supporting physically and academically the people they select to run their companies?

Research as to why the leaders, under some pressure, made their decision would be invaluable for every club and company in the country and would hopefully help avoid similar recurrences.

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