Having worked under a handful of mangers who got their start in the army, I'd be likely to say, if anyone asked of course, that ex-army people make crap managers. Those I've known were not good people managers at all, were rotten communicators, and didn't so much as lead by fear, as by rely on the old "keep people in their place" principle. I found it hard to respect these people as their game-playing and manipulation of people for their own ends just got in the way of the business at hand.
Alright. Spleen venting over. Those guys were obviously from a different army.
I listened to Col. Martin being interviewed on Radio Sport the other day, and after reading a few articles about him, I reckon the guy is ok. He doesn't sound like a disciplinarian, nor does he sound like a fool. He actually said he has found that NZers don't appreciate being led by people who try to do everything and dominate the organisation with their personalities. He says he prefers to involve people, to use the talents of the people he leads to the advantage of everyone. And according to the NZRFU web site, he has been "a prop forward, played representative rugby for Wanganui and Counties, and captained the latter union in the early '90s." All very solid experience.
Sounds good to me. I reckon with two new coaches and a good manager, we're in a good spot. But that doesn't mean I think we're gonna win any old world cup. All this professional management stuff is just a sign that pro-rugby really has come of age. They have other goals than just winning the World Cup, yes Sir!
Martin certainly sounds better than old Mr Hart (yes I know he wasn't the manager), but Hart asserted a huge influence on the management and morale of the team, 'cos he thought he was a good manager. Never trust people who believe that!
BTW - I once heard Mr H speak at the Addington Race Course, for one of those business lunch functions. He was expected to talk about the ABs and the lead up to the 1999 WC, which he did. For waayyy tooooo loonnggg. You ever been in a room when somebody is prattling on too long? You can sense everybody thinking "enough all-ready" and you feel embarrassed for the speaker. I sat there thinking "how can this guy, this guy who is supposed to be the top dog, be such a dork?" It wasn't hard to see that your average, red-blooded AB would not see much to respect in the man.
Personally, I think Mr H was a fast talking, slick-Rick bizo-man, who read too many trendy management books. I know, I know. Bagging Mr H is as out of fashion as Simon Barnett's jokes, and he is easy picking (being the coach of a losing team and all), but the guy did think he was a great people manager - he wrote a book about it for goodness sake!
Professional sports people need to be inspired by the personality of the person who coaches them, and be able to trust that the management of the team is in good hands. Wayne Smith and Tony Gilbert are people a player can respect, and Col. Martin sounded like he has that X factor that one sees in a Sir Edmund Hillary, Colin Meads, or Todd Blackadder.
Let's hear it for the new blokes. Good on yer mates. Give 'em heaps.