Leadership And Culture – Lessons from ‘Le Gentleman’ Bradley Wiggins


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Bradley Wiggins actions at yesterday’s Tour De France were an example of great leadership and say a lot about the ‘culture’ of the sport of cycling. When tacks were thrown on the road and a number of cyclists, including some key race leaders, got punctures, their Tour was potentially at an end. Yellow Jersey wearer Bradley Wiggins got the remaining riders to slow down to let his competitors catch up.

That is leadership at it’s best – utilising his ‘position’ of influence as Yellow Jersey wearer (the race leader for the ininitiated!) and it reflects well on, and I think, reinforces the ‘culture’ of the sport, as well of course, on Bradley Wiggins himself.

Culture is the ‘way we do things around here’, and this is often set and reinforced by the ‘rules’ set by the leaders. Not the ‘legal’ rules that people are calling for to deal with the bankers, but by their actions and the guidelines and ‘values’ they reinforce in their actions. (You can see what I wrote about that recently here)

This was not in the ‘rules’, it wasn’t in the ‘procedures’ and it certainly wasn’t ‘obligatory’. Wiggins said “I thought it was the honourable thing to do, nobody should ever profit by somebody’s misfortune like that” Now, THAT is leadership in action!

The ‘unwritten rules’ are often the ones that reflect and reinforce the culture of a business both positively and negatively. The recent stories in the press about John Terry’s court case appeared to highlight how the actions of the game’s ‘leaders’ and the ‘unwritten rules’ shape and reinforce the culture of football and they don’t appear to compare well with cycling!

Bradley Wiggins has been christened ‘Le Gentleman Wiggins’ by the French press – not something I could ever imagine being said about John Terry!

So, 3 Questions for you:

  • What are the ‘unwritten rules’ in your business?
  • How do you promote, reinforce and live the positive ones?
  • How do you challenge and break the negative ones?

And a couple of final ones…

  • How do you know?
  • How can you find out?

You might also be interested in downloading our latest toolkit which expands on this as a key element of Creating An UBER Culture’ It will help you to see how you measure up and it might prompt you to start doing something about establishing and reinforcing the appropriate ‘RULES’ in your business now!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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