When golfers are playing great, they refer to it as a purple patch. Since late 2007, Ireland badly needed some good PR. We’ve just hit a solid purple patch. Let’s recount the events.
I’m John, he’s Edward: It kicked off pretty good – with Jedward’s high-octane performance in the Eurovision. Love them or hate them, you can’t ignore them. Eat your heart out Dustin. What’s not to like about two 19 year olds who don’t drink and do their own styling?
The Queens Speech: Then there was the queen and the brilliant choreography of events. We all became royalists for a week – even those of us who don’t normally believe in royalty or have an enormous interest in the Queens’ wardrobe were hooked (and a bit relieved that it all passed off safely). Not to mention the coupla focal. Someone should tell the Queen that she probably knows as much Irish as most of us picked up in 12 years of schooling (ok, I concede the point to anyone born in Connemara).
The Garden of Remembrance was aptly named. The exceptional speech writing throughout the week was capped by Olivia O’Leary’s crafted soliloquy in the National Convention Centre – walking right along the edge of a terribly delicate line. Diplomacy does not have to be boring. Brilliant.
The Comeback: Bill Clinton was known as the ‘Comeback Kid’ (now, now!) based on his political resurgence. Well the Leinster team might collectively be known as the Comeback Kids – having pulled off a second half performance worthy of the All Blacks at the height of their powers. Side by side with this, we celebrated the life of Garret Fitzgerald – a symbol of everything that’s good in Irish politics. He restored the notion that the term ‘academic’ stands for ideas and ideals, not an ivory tower disconnection or management by soundbyte. A man whose fingerprints were all over the peace process. And we seemed to just ‘organize’ a State funeral at the drop of a (Philip Treacy?) hat.
No Drama: We all thought that it couldn’t get any better. Barak had been badly advised and should have come at some other time. Perhaps there was too much good stuff going on and the gloss worn thin on the ‘Cead Mile Failte’. Not a chance. I got stuck in town in a traffic snarl and the Garda on duty was telling jokes to the drivers at the front of the jam. The positive mood was infectious. And all the while countless people beavering away in the background, a weeklong masterclass in event management.
Step Forward: Another person who should wear the green jacket with pride, is the Genealogist who found a link between a black American president and Moneygall in County Offaly. It is surreal – a bit like the Roddy Doyle line in the Commitments when the band member (who was white) declared: “I’m black and I’m proud”. Who would have thought that genealogy would become a sexy profession? Career Guidance Teachers should bone up on this in advance of the tsunami of enquiries that’s on the way.
Lessons Learned: So, how does all this heady stuff apply to us mere mortals? Well Napoleon said that: “A leader is a dealer in hope”. We should say a silent thanks to the leaders in government for providing so much this week for us to be proud of. Those of us responsible for managing organizations could also learn a few tricks from the sequence listed. Yes, managing is about designing clever processes, delivering commitments, maintaining cash flow and monitoring performance. But leadership is more than the sum of the managerial parts. It’s about hope, a better future, a way forward. As a positive nation once again we have begun to look outwards and upwards. Are you providing the same spirit of hope to the people who work with you?
PS And…The Luckiest Person in Ireland Award goes to the Brand Manager for Guinness. Sometimes you really ‘catch a wave’. Hey, grab a double Duvet and take a day off!
PPS Biggest readership I ever got for a blog was last week describing the death of my dog, Max. Perhaps death is a hot topic and could increase the blog circulation, so to speak. I promise to keep you up to date on all relevant obituaries.