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Howard's End: C'mon Kiwi - Get The Spirit!

The talkback lines have gone ballistic across the country following the IRB announcement that we have lost our fight to co-host next year's Rugby World Cup. There is a fundamental lesson we forgot in all this; - never upset the mind you are trying to convince. Maree Howard writes.

If there is one thing the Aussies will love to see, it is this; - a nation of Kiwi's whinging and crying woe is us! So we lost our bid for the world cup - so what?

C'mon Kiwi - Get the spirit!

Turn the negative into a positive and, in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, get out there and "knock the bastard off."

That's not to say we don't have some real lessons to learn in this country from this experience. Lesson 1: Build relationships. Lesson 2: Never upset the mind you are trying to convince.

For crying out loud, these lessons are so fundamental in dealing with people from all walks of life that I never, ever, thought I would have to repeat them.

The Rugby World Cup was never about rugby per se, it was about commercial decisions and money - bums on seats.

John D. Rockefeller once said; "Competition is a sin" and that's what the Aussies did - eliminated the competition.

The world of commerce today is so cut-throat and sophisticated that when we're dealing with other countries we must know everything it is possible to know about the people we are dealing with. And you don't deliberately set-out to upset them.

For example, what was the culture and mindset of the people we were dealing with, did they like fishing, or cricket, what are names of their family, what are their interests, etc. etc.

Build your relationships on that basis and be genuine and sincere about it. I'll bet pounds to peanuts the NZRFU didn't do its research at that level.

Worse, it then upset the mind it was trying to convince by making some disparaging remarks about IRB Vernon Pugh before the final Board meetings. What a way to build a relationship?

This sorry saga has been simmering for months and I simply cannot believe that our rugby leaders were so unsophisticated as not to see this decision on the horizon.

We are a small country in the global scheme of things and, of necessity, we must deal with people who don't think the same way as we do.

So, knowledge is power and ignorance punishes.

The Chinese, for example, who have as a basic culture the need to save face, wouldn't tolerate the behaviour exhibited by executives of the NZRFU. The result would have likely been, in the business context, a loss of export orders

Our leaders - sports, political and business, - have to learn the lessons of life and grow up and toughen-up!

Having said that, now is not the time for whinging and recriminations because it won't change a single thing.

Get the spirit and "knock the bastard off" by winning the Rugby World Cup - again.

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