HERE IT IS
Paul Roos likes to say that an organisation’s culture isn’t what’s written on posters on the wall. There are few coaches who speak more authoritatively on the subject, having built the team ethos at the Sydney Swans, and achieved a near turnaround with the formerly hapless Melbourne Demons.
Truly, a better sense of culture – how a team builds it, what keeps it going – is found in these pages. After a tremendous playing career with the Swans and Fitzroy, Roos sat down and wrote 25 thoughts he had on the way he was coached. These became the foundational principles for the way he went about his work on the sideline.
A lot of what Roos and the Swans helped to usher in: leadership groups, peer reviews, a near-obsessive devotion to “behaviours”, became standard operating practice across the AFL, and much of Australian sport. In the process, the model of the dictator-coach ranting and ruling by force of personality can be seen to go by the wayside; in its place, there’s a vaguely new-age relationship management between the coach-as-guru and his well-paid players. In this light, winning isn’t everything, because there’s so much more – as Roos notes in point no.4 of the 25, “Never lose sight of the fact it is a game of football.”