Oval Talk

‘French are shambolic for a reason’

Oval Talk

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Trying to
work out how the World Cup final is going to play out?

In the
football version of the 2010 World Cup, things were simple. You could simply
turn to the wisdom of a psychic octopus.  

The New
Zealanders tried something similar earlier in the tournament with a sheep
, but it went awry
when 'Sonny Wool' only picked one result correctly in the quarter-finals.

So how
about having a look at how the two nation's workplace attitudes shape up to
indicate Sunday's result?

Oval Talk
isn't going to slip thoughtlessly into the stereotypes of lazy French workers -
especially when a risk management company has done the work for him.

Yes, Towers
Watson has done some research on employees' feedback on their management and
styles, and come to the conclusion that New Zealanders' attitude in the workplace
points to a culture of leadership in the country and backs up the bookmakers'
predictions of a victory in the final for the hosts.

Oval Talk took a look at the evidence and busted through the jargon to see if there was any merit to their findings:

"Executing Tasks - New Zealand 83% vs. France
60%.  New Zealand companies achieve
higher scores when it comes to their reputation for quality, which may
translate into executing better quality play."

Talk translates:
'Executing tasks' is business-speak for 'doing stuff'. On a
rugby pitch, the All Blacks have been consistently doing stuff better than
their French opponents. They've not lost to Tonga, for instance. Advantage New Zealand

"Energising Change - New Zealand 74% vs. France 52%.
Enjoying a more open approach, the All Black team members are more likely to
speak up if things are not working, enabling the game to change direction when

Oval Talk translates: Not entirely convinced that these numbers apply on the
rugby field. The All Blacks look like a strong, cohesive unit, but therein lies
the rub. They haven't needed to speak up when things were not working. As for
the French, there are many things you could accuse them of, but not making
their voices heard when they disagree with management isn't one of them. Advantage France

"Acting with Authenticity and Building
- New Zealand
73% vs. France 47%. New Zealand's management style, with a greater emphasis on
trust and authenticity, could be more effective at encouraging players to give
their best on the field."

Talk translates:
France can't even win a World Cup semi-final without the coach
fuming at his players. Marc Lievremont told his men not to go out and celebrate
- they did anyway - so he called them 'spoiled brats'. In public. The New
Zealanders don't need to waste any time on blindfold-based trust exercises in
practice this week - this is one battle they've already won. Advantage New Zealand

"Delivering the Deal - New Zealand 90% vs. France
55%.  New Zealanders are more likely to
feel valued for what they contribute which again can drive their engagement on
the day."

Oval Talk
Rugby dominates in New Zealand, and the home fans are baying for
their team to end a 24-year spell without winning the World Cup. There'll be no
shortage of players 'feeling valued' if they are on the winning side - but what
this doesn't take into account is the extraordinary pressure on the All Blacks
not to lose. That pressure has been building with every tournament. And they have an unfortunate and well-publicised knack of not 'delivering the
deal' in the games which count. Advantage


Watson's research backs the prepared and disciplined All Blacks. Oval Talk
reckons it might just be a smidge closer than that.

Duhaldeborde, OSI Director for EMEA at Towers Watson (and, as the name
suggests, keen fan of Les Bleus) says: "We should remember that as this is
a one-off knock-out sporting event and not the long-term game of organisational
cultural improvement."

Way to discredit your own press release.

the French aptitude for upsetting the odds," Duhaldeborde continues, "already
seen on two occasions in this competition, anything could happen on

Which is why we'll all be glued to our screens for the final at Eden Park, rather than watching at our respective workplaces for the first hints of long-term organisational cultural improvements...

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