Coaching expert Gary Keegan on the business of leadership

Gary Keegan, left, guest speaker at the 'Growing Something Brilliant' event in Belfast, pictured with Dermot McArdle, Head of Markets at Electric Ireland, and Louise Turley, Head of Campaigns & Events at the NI Chamber of Commerce.
Pic: Kelvin Boyes

ONE of the most astute minds in Irish sport was in Belfast yesterday - passing on his insights to business leaders.

Gary Keegan, who played a key role in improving Irish boxing, has more recently worked with Dublin's all-conquering footballers, plus Irish rugby and cricket.

Speaking at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 'Growing Something Brilliant' (GSB) event, in partnership with Electric Ireland, Keegan emphasised how critical leadership is when it comes to a change in mindset of any large organisation.

“If there was one key strand throughout my experience, it has been the importance of leadership when instigating change," he said.

"While the organisation may need to change from the bottom up, without leaders that believe in the direction of travel, the organisation fails to convince others of their shared goals and the development breaks down.

“Leaders, in this regard hold the most powerful levers of change and often the speed of this change will rest on how ready they are to ‘buy-in’ to the new normal. Without their influence, they offer an umbrella of protection for others to stay beneath, creating resistance to future success.”

In addition to this, he argued that many people underestimate how quickly an organisation can be transformed with good leadership and are intimidated by the perceived scale of cultural change that is needed.

"Contrary to popular opinion, a determined drive to change the culture in an organisation can take less than six months. Once new values and standards are common-place they become part of our identity and an understanding is reached among team-mates and employees that these are now the expected norms. Once this happens, it is only a matter of time before this becomes the lived ‘culture’ of the organisation and lasting change occurs."

Louise Turley, Head of Campaigns & Events at NI Chamber, said: “The aim of the Growing Something Brilliant events is to show how leadership can transform a company for the better.

"The wealth of experience Gary has brought should be a lesson to leaders in attendance how critical their role is in setting those cultural parameters and how important it is to ensure they are implemented”.

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