#356: Performing on- and off-the-pitch with Philip Quinn

Our Guest Mentor: 

Philip Quinn is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Munster Rugby and an experienced senior executive with 15 years in a professional sports environment. He is ambitious and energetic with a strong track record of delivery and continuous development of skills and expertise, with a proven ability to formulate and execute short- and long-term plans.  

Phil is also a clear communicator who builds effective relationships with colleagues and stakeholders. He is decisive but based on consultation and assembling relevant information, with successful experience in negotiating complex contracts with commercial partners and playing/coaching staff. Calm, quietly self-confident and with a distinctive work ethic, Phil is comfortable with responsibility, committed to the highest standards and continuous improvement. 

Phil holds an ACMA designation and is based out of Cork, Ireland 

Key Quotes from the Episode: 

[On passion and career] “Now the one thing you have to do when you combine your passion with your job is you have to find something else outside of that because you don’t switch off. And it is a 24/7 job, especially the COO or CEO roles. There you are constantly switched on.” [13:06] 

[On switching off from work] “It’s more awareness for me. Okay. That noticing there’s a trigger saying, I know I’m stressed, whether that is not sleeping, whether it could be just not feeling fantastic. And it’s literally being able to notice the triggers and then take action, whether that is going for a walk, going for a run.”  [15:54] 

[On managing working from home] “One of the big things for him was, do it in 50 minute blocks. Okay. So don’t do a full hour. 50 minutes. 10 minutes. Walk around for five minutes. Okay. Get off your chair, sit, lift, breath in, and switch off. And then come back. Then you’ve got your five minutes to prep for your next meeting and off you go.  It’s all around your time management. It’s making sure your schedule is clear that when you’re planning things, you’re not doing complete back to back from nine to five.” [18:11] 

[On the importance of people in performance] “We can work on our weaknesses, but embrace your strengths, find and get the right people around who can make up for your shortfall or your weaknesses. That’s the key thing. We’re an organization. That’s all about our people. Everything we do is about our people. It’s number one for us. On pitch obviously is all about players performing, but off pitch it’s the exact same.” [24:00] 

Key Points from the Episode: 

  • Finance and business in sports 
  • Balancing your job and your passion  
  • What was it like being acting-CEO during a key period 
  • Managing working from home 

Time Stamped Show Notes 

[03:14] Phil gives a brief introduction about himself, his background and his journey in accounting and finance 

[07:44] Memorable experiences that impacted the way Phil sees the world now in his career  

[14:56] Phil explains how he switches off from work and get the balance 

[17:47] Phil answers how he manages the work from home environment 

[19:14] Phil shares what’s exciting him most about his current work 

[23:42] Phil mentions the best advice he has ever received 

[26:21] Resources that Phil recommends 

[26:51] Phil mentions where to connect with him 

[28:05] Phil gives his parting thoughts for the audience 

Resources Mentioned: 

Legacy Paperback – December 17, 2013 by James Kerr (Author) 

Connect with today’s guest: 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/philipjquinn/   

Full transcript: 


[00:00:29] Andrew: Hi everyone. And welcome to this week’s episode of strength in the numbers. Really excited to share with you an interview or recorded together with Phil a Quinn during the summer. 

[00:00:39] And although Phil trained in accounting and finance. He’s actually currently the chief operating officer. One of Europe’s most popular sports clubs. Or in this day and age, we should say maybe sports brands 

[00:00:52] and with the recent happenings of the last couple of years, you can imagine the, 

[00:00:56] the challenge is such an environment. Has. On the P and L of such sporting organizations. 

[00:01:02] So fail is very open about some of the challenges that he had to face and given his role is not just finance, but also the day-to-day operations of the sports organization we delve into to how some of those were solved in a practical way. And also perhaps how the organization might actually might become more resilient and stronger into the future. 

[00:01:25] I know the key thing that comes out of this conversation with Phil is not just his passion for the sport or rugby, but just sport in general. And I think it takes a special type of person to operate with all that pressure, because not only have you got to deliver strong financials for club members. 

[00:01:45] We’ve also got the playing staff coaching staff. You’ve got supporters, sponsors, third party suppliers. Or the people associated with the club, just so many stakeholders to keep happy. 

[00:01:57] And Phil shares how we managed to go about that also, how he had to adjust being offsite and how he handled working from home and the sort of the return to work. During that period. And he was also happened to be the COVID manager as well for the organization. Phil was also the acting CEO during a very key period for the club.  

[00:02:17] So we also explore what that actually involved a taste of having that CEO role and how it differed from just being a finance or operating officer. I started to recommend you’re listening to this one. And if you want to learn more about Phil, 

[00:02:34] some of his key quotes, a timestamp show notes, as well as a full transcript of our conversation, you can find that and more at sitnshow.com and we always really appreciate it. When you recommend the show to your friends and colleagues. We’re on all the major platforms you can subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon music. 

[00:02:52] so that’s enough for me. So without further ado, over to Phil and the show. Phil, welcome to the show.  

[00:03:02] Philip: Thank you, Andy. I’m delighted to be on the show and thank you for inviting me  

[00:03:06] Andrew: It’s our pleasure. Finally, cause you had a busy few years. A lot going on. But I know we’ve chatted previously so really excited to bring you to our audience. But before we get there, would you mind maybe introducing a bit about yourself and your background and journey in accounting and finance?  

[00:03:21] Philip: Yeah, sure. So it goes right back to college for me, to be honest and back into school, for some reason, business and accounting was what I specialized in from the fourth year in school. From 16 years of age, I knew I was going to be an accountant and might come across as quite sad, but that was just me and numbers and everything. 

[00:03:37] And when I left school, I went straight into UCC, University College Cork. where I did a degree in accounting. When a lot of my classmates would have gone down the route of going into The Big 4 and going into the auditing side of things, that was never for me. And I ruled it out quite early and it went straight into industry. 

[00:03:53] So alongside doing my CMA exams, I worked in the motor industry. I worked in the pharma industry for a couple of years. I worked out with Eli Lilly. I worked in the oil industry, working with ConocoPhillips. It was probably at that time that I needed to decide where did I want to go career-wise. The key thing for me is when I’m starting off, it was usually about two years in each role and it was all about, okay, what experience can I pick up here? 

[00:04:14] How can I develop and broaden that in each role kind of a stepping stone for me. But it got to the stage in ConocoPhillips whereby I have to decide, okay, do I want to go down the multinational route where I’m going to travel all around the world? Because look there isn’t that many senior roles in Ireland. Am I going to stay in Ireland and look at various opportunities. So made the decision at the time to stay in Ireland, moved from the refinery white case to Reox Holdings, part of the Dairygold group. So I was there for a short period of time, and then a role came up with Munster Rugby. So it’s only six months into my time. And in Dairygold stroke Reox, a finance manager role came up with Munster. And for somebody who’s extremely passionate about all sports, to be honest, the opportunity to combine that with accounting, was for me it was my dream job.  

[00:04:58] So that I can put my CV in at the time that was back in 2006. And three interviews later, and a lot of surprise on my front, came out with the finance manager roles. So joined Munster in 2006. At the time, quite a small organization, there’s two of us in the finance department. Turnover of four or 5 million, but Rugby had only become professional about 10 years earlier. So it was growing significantly at the time. And 15 years later here, I am still in Munster Rugby and my role has changed significantly over time. There’s been increases in head count, decreases in head count. We’ve had, I’d say three restructurings over time. My role was expanded at one stage to include operations. So that would have been overseeing both stadia. So we have two stadiums in Munster Rugby, which is very unusual for a sporting team, but our main one is in Limerick. It’s total parking capacity of about 26,000. We have a second one in Cork, which is Musgrave Park and it came out to about 8,000. So we play all our big games in Thomond but then we have another stadium in Cork where we play smaller ones. So my role has expanded to and manage, along with our stadium directors in both facilities, making sure that everything we do on match day and non-match date was up to the required standard.  

[00:06:10] Would have also included IT as part of my roles overseeing that. We have no intern in IT resource. So it tends all fall on my head at time, but obviously we have some external supports that we lean heavily on. And then it expanded as it goes further than in terms of going into even the strategic planning process. So I oversee our strategic planning process across the club, the risk management and clear and coach contracting. It’s something that’s been very interesting for me to get involved in, especially on the rugby side. 

[00:06:39] But I’d be heavily involved in that over the years and especially in the last couple of years as well. And luckily for me now, the circumstances were very difficult. Our previous CEO got sick. So I stepped in as our acting CEO for a period of 15 months and our CEO at that time then retired. And so I was the interim between Garrett Fitzgerald, our previous CEO who subsequently unfortunately passed away earlier. Or last year. I’m nearly losing track of time. And so Ian Flanagan, our new CEO’s come in and I’ve moved formally into the COO then the chief operating roles. So it’s an extremely varied role. And as I say, 15 years on here, I am still in Munster, but still very hands-on on the finance side. We do have a finance manager, Cillian Kenny, and his team. But obviously recently we’ve all had to been hands-on for everyone on the finance side. 

[00:07:27] Andrew: Isn’t it very interesting just within one club, one team there’s been so much growth opportunity for you, Phil, to try out different things and even become acting CEO for a period of time. Are there any sort of particular memorable experiences that stand out for you that really impacted the way you see the world now in your career and you’re role in it?  

[00:07:45] Philip: Huge number. There’s been like every single year brings different challenges in Munster. Like there’s huge ups and these huge downs and the weight of expectation that we feel as Munster staff is unbelievable because we’re a small club and what we’ve a fantastic support base who expect us to be winning every year. And it’s no different to some of the premiership soccer clubs. And that weight of expectations, I suppose the knowledge that everything we do, if we don’t do things right, it impacts everything on the pitch and that impacts everyday life for some people, because they’re so engaged with Munster and Munster is a massive part of their life. And if Munster Rugby are not performing in the pitch, it puts them in bad form. So the knowledge there that you work hard, you get things right, and things are going right, you can impact so many different people, but it brings a huge amount of pressures.  

[00:08:31] Looking back in terms of one of the highlights, there’s been so many highlights for us. I joined in late 2006, so we had just won our first European champions, Heineken Cup as it was at the time. We won again in 2008, that was a fantastic experience. We redeveloped our stadium in Cork. We opened a new high-performance training center in University of Limerick, a state-of-the-art three floor training facility that’s dedicated to us, in conjunction with the university of Limerick. But the big standout for me over the 15 years is definitely the redevelopment of our main stadium of Thomond Park. And we did that between just when I came in 2006, the project had just started. We completed in 2008. So that was expanding the capacity from 13,000 to 26,000. Our old stadium didn’t have any corporate boxes, corporate facilities. So it was bringing all of those into play. 

[00:09:18] I suppose it all culminated then in 2008, when we opened the stadium and had New Zealand biggest team be coming to Thomond Park. And there’s always a story told about Munster beat New Zealand, the All Blacks back in 1978. And here we were, 30 years on having them back in Thomond Park. And unfortunately we were just beaten by a late drive. I knew they, but even come to that, it’s just hosting that and being so proud of what we could do as a Munster Rugby attracting the best team over and hosting what we thought was an absolutely amazing experience. 26,000 capacity crowd. And just the event itself, as I say, our match day experience is all about our supporters. We don’t do anything special in terms of what we bring to the table. It’s what our supporters always bring to the table. And that night was truly unbelievable. And it’ll always stick with me. 

[00:10:06] Andrew: Yeah, it’s weird how, even if in a defeat, the night was so memorable and there was so much positive that came from it. I do remember the night in question and probably our audience know that I’m a big Munster fan myself and we boast about it, but I actually think it’s backed up by numbers as well. Munster had the best fans, I believe.  

[00:10:22] Philip: I’d have to agree with you on that front. Even going before I joined Munster as part of the supporters level, I was one of the early members of the support staff. So I use traveled all over Europe with the team. But the interesting thing is yes, when we’re drawn against certain teams, European competitions, and we travel away from all the other teams are delighted because of our traveling support. And it’s not only those traveling from within the Munster region going abroad, but it’s the amount of Irish that are, whether it’s in the UK or France or anywhere we play matches, that follow us and come to the games. And the could ends up in sell-out crowds for the home team, which is great for them, but the atmosphere we can create and what we bring in, it’s just that belonging, the sense of belonging. I think it’s something we all want in our lives, to belong to something and be part of something. And it’s not something we take credit for ourselves and Munster Rugby. It’s just something that’s grown. It’s down to our support base and the spectators. And everyone really that’s part of Munster. 

[00:11:11] Andrew: Do you feel like it added pressure then to you and the rest of the team there, Philip, that added pressure, having to deliver good results, not just financially but also from a playing perspective for the support base. And then on the other hand, having that pressure, making sure that decisions are financed appropriately. The playing resources and playing teams and coaches are in the best position possible to deliver for the supporters too.  

[00:11:34] Philip: Completely. It’s a massive pressure. I know from talking to our coaching tickets, they live it every single day of the week. And it’s so public facing. Ireland is a small country, so there’s a lot written about professional sports as a result. Besides, if we lose a game, it’s like the world is coming to an end of times. 

[00:11:49] And it just adds a bit of pressure the whole time, so it can be stressful. And it’s how you manage that is key. You can bring it to a positive as well in terms of, because we’re quite, high-profile here in Ireland and that we’ve great crowds, with things in the money and everything around it, but that level of expectation weighs heavily on everyone, including the players. 

[00:12:08] And they spoken about it. The history of Munster. The expectation where we have to win trophies. And it’s been a long time since we’ve won at a major competition. So it’s at the forefront of everything we do in our strategic planning. How are we going to get to this stage? And it’s sport. It can be won by the bounce of a ball. 

[00:12:23] It can be extremely cruel as we’ve seen in penalty shoot-outs in the Euros and all of these kinds of things. So a lot of the time you can do everything right off the field, but an injury or the bounce of the ball goes the wrong way or refereeing decision. Everything falls apart not achieving your strategic objectives, but that’s why we love sports as well. 

[00:12:41] And it’s something having worked in as well as multinationals pharma. To have this passionate, I personally had only I could recreate it in any role. That’s why, like when I came in day one and I remember speaking to our CEO at the time and every year, Phil how long do you think you’d stay here? And we had that conversation every year. It became a bit of a running joke at the end because I was just so engaged with everything, it was my passion. Now the one thing you have to do when you combine your passion with your job is you have to find something else outside of that because you don’t switch off. And it is a 24/7 job, especially the COO or CEO roles. There you are constantly switched on. If you don’t do something on a Saturday or Sunday evening at nine o’clock at night, somebody else will. And then that’s a fair signing. And that’s where the expectation, the pressure can come at times. But on the other side, the returns are just massive. 

[00:13:34] I’ve heard loads of people say if you enjoy your job, it doesn’t feel like a job every day. That’s definitely the case for me. Are there things I don’t like doing my job? Of course there is, but getting up every morning, there’s the energy there. I’m looking forward to the day ahead, completing tasks, getting things done, engaging with all our stakeholders. 

[00:13:51] We’re lucky we have a huge volume, like our staff, we have about 90 to 95 staff. We’ve got another 60 players, including our senior and academy players. So a small club, smaller organization, what we’re driven by our volunteers. So we have volunteers structures and we’ve treasurers, boards, all of that, but there’s so many people that can add so much value, even past players staying involved with the club on various committees that can guide you in the right direction or have the experience. 

[00:14:16] So as an overall collective, it works really well. And there is people there to take some of the pressure off because as I said, making the decisions as a collective makes it a lot easier and taking into account everyone’s experience knowledge is massive.  

[00:14:29] Andrew: It’s great that you’ve got all that resource to draw on, Phil. It comes across in your energy, like you absolutely love your job. Really appreciate you sharing that because we’ve not had many guests on the show that have come from a sports team background from a finance perspective. 

[00:14:44] So appreciate you saying that, but you also noted on it’s important to have something else outside, so you can switch off as well, because it seems like otherwise it could be very consuming, although enjoyable, but there’s other people in your life as well. So how do you switch off from that and get the balance?  

[00:14:58] Philip: That for me was something I’ve definitely have been challenged for years. My kids are now six and eight, but I found even when they were born, there are some days it will still happen, where I’m not switched down with them. Especially with the remote working that you’ve got your laptop upstairs and you’re said I’m at home four days a week. And when you go back down to the kids you’re still thinking work. And it’s how to really switch off and be able to know that. This is where we get into the plug line of things. We run a Munster Rugby high-performance leadership program. Okay. So with the view of diversifying our revenue, we’ve tried various initiatives and this leadership program is about how we bring us a little spot we learn in sports to business. They’re so intertwined and you speak about the Legacy book from New Zealand, where it’s what they learn in sport and how that can be applied to business. And that’s what we do on it. I was lucky enough to be able to go on a class, just before COVID. I had been scheduled to go on it the previous year, but unfortunately, the acting CEO role, it just wasn’t an option. 

[00:15:50] What, I’m not really used about how you manage yourself. It’s more awareness for me. Okay. That noticing there’s a trigger saying, I know I’m stressed, whether that is not sleeping, whether it could be just not feeling fantastic. And it’s literally being able to notice the triggers and then take action, whether that is going for a walk, going for a run. 

[00:16:08] Since I’ve done that course, I’m exercising most days. So when I start every morning, I get up it’s half an hour run or it’s a HIIT sesh or some bit of exercise because it just puts me in the right frame of mind when I sit at my desk. And personally I play the golf as well, but when time allows with young kids and everything. But that’s another one where I find once I go to the golf course, I switch off for four hours. I can focus on not focus on the competitive side. As I say, if there’s no thinking work or anything to come off it. So they’re the kind of times when I managed to switch off, but I don’t always do it very well. 

[00:16:40] Andrew: I appreciate you opening up and sharing that I couldn’t agree more. Awareness is super important, particularly of self. And having those routines as well to level set at the start of the day. Very important. I’d actually read a great blog on the Legacy book as well. Fantastic book. I know I’ve mentioned it on the show before we’ve had other people mention it as well. I’ll put that into the show links and also about the high-performance program as well. I’ve heard great things about that. But not had the pleasure myself of being on it. But switching back, I was wondering I had read somewhere about transitions in between meetings because, you said about working from home and working remote. That’d be difficult to switch off. I actually found it difficult switching between different meetings and calls. Then we figured out a way of maybe, how’d you say, finishing meetings five minutes before an hour or a half hour, or if it was an hour long meeting finishing it 10 minutes earlier. And then using that time in between to figure out and transition to the next block of work, before you had to go from say a meeting to then some strategic work and then back onto a meeting. 

[00:17:35] How have you managed the work from home environment yourself? And then I suppose looking forward with things opening back up again, that must be great for you as a finance leader for a sporting organization. There must be good optimism about the future as well. 

[00:17:49] Philip: Yeah, I suppose first to do with how do I move between meetings? And we’re lucky in the environment, right? I spoke about the expertise available to us. One of the things, once COVID hit, our sports psychologist, Pieter Kruger, who was around the pro team, did work with the management team. So he did a couple of sessions about how to manage during COVID. Not only managing your staff, but also managing yourself. One of the big things for him was, do it in 50 minute blocks. Okay. So don’t do a full hour. 50 minutes. 10 minutes. Walk around for five minutes. Okay. Get off your chair, sit, lift, breath in, and switch off. And then come back. Then you’ve got your five minutes to prep for your next meeting and off you go. It’s all around your time management. It’s making sure your schedule is clear that when you’re planning things, you’re not doing complete back to back from nine to five. We all do it. 

[00:18:35] And I’m not saying that I’m brilliant at scheduling my meetings. No, I’m not. At times, I can go straight through our meetings and you don’t have time for lunch, but if you can really plan it well, like everyone’s in the same boat at the moment. There’s very few people who are back in an office environment. 

[00:18:48] Most people are working from home, so everyone appreciates it. And if you’re even saying that I have a meeting in 10 minutes, can we shortcut this, finish it a bit earlier. There’s never an issue because we all understand. So it’s just getting that discipline is the key thing. 

[00:19:01] Andrew: Yeah, it does seem a lot more appreciation about where people are coming from and the confidence out there to say, Look, guys, we need to start wrapping this up. 10 minutes before the hour or whatever. People are getting that a lot more. And then I suppose looking towards the future, what’s exciting you most about your current work at the moment? 

[00:19:17] Philip: Look, if you asked me that question about 18 months ago, it would have been completely different. And the last 16 months, from a sporting perspective, has been unbelievably tough. We’ve seen our income decimated. So we are heavily reliant on gained income. We’d have gained income five to six million a year, which for us is a massive part. It’s about 40 to 50% of our overall turnover. That’s gone. And as a result, we’ve had to go through cost-cutting, restructuring. The same as any other business out there. And during that period, we’re still playing matches. So one of the roles I’ve inherited, I was our COVID manager as well. I still am at the moment. 

[00:19:49] So we had to make sure we’ve all the process. There’s protocols in place over the last 15 months to allow us to continue playing matches. And that’s our weekly PCR testing. So dealing with the results of that. We’re now looking to, based on where we finally think we can get crowds back. And Ireland’s a smaller behind some other nations in terms of test events, crowds. We all saw the Euros, the soccer where you had full capacity in Wembley for the finals.  

[00:20:12] We’re just at the early stages. We had three and 6,000, at the Aviva for the two Irish Rugby matches there in early July. We have GA matches, the local matches and we’re starting to expand our capacity. Our first game of the season kicks in early September. So we’re hoping that will be our first test event we raised $8,000. 

[00:20:29] Again, you’ve all got your social distancing. One meter social distancing, and planning around that. And then hopefully by the end of the year where we get back to tour, close to full capacity. This is all subject to COVID. It’s completely uncertain. It makes planning a nightmare from a finance perspective, from an operational perspective, from everything. Because at the start, we did a huge amount of planning on all different scenarios. And we realized to be honest, you’re wasting your time because things are changing by the week and you’re wasting huge amount of staff resources you’re planning. We all like to plan, but it has to be realistic plans, especially when people were already stretched in their roles, going to that level of planning, just wasn’t an option. 

[00:21:04] So stepping back, what’s exciting right now is definitely getting crowds back into our stadium, looking at September and saying finally, we’ll have people back. I’ve been in the stadium all year. I’ve been fortunate to be in there as the COVID manager, because it’s very limited that’s been in there. But 26,000 capacity stadium with nobody inside there. And all you’re hearing is the sobs and the team management cheering on each side. It’s just surrealto be honest. And as I said, Munster is hugely dependent on our support base. That’s what gets us over the line. Our players have set at 10 years, our team management, and our coaches, and there’s been games this year we narrowly lost out that we feel if we had our crowds, we’d have won that game. So for us, it’s really exciting, from the financial perspective, firstly, which is most important.  

[00:21:46] Andrew: Yeah.  

[00:21:46] Philip: Okay. 

[00:21:48] Andrew: Yeah. It’s tough talking to a finance leader like yourself, Phil, because it’s yes, obviously you’re a fan. And so you get to the sport to results side, but also there’s the money side as well like, yeah, it’d be nice to have that bit of income the fans being back. 

[00:22:00] Philip: For us, it’s so interrelated. Okay. If we went on the pitch, more money comes in more people to come to our matches and everything kicks on. You lose. It goes the other way. That makes it very difficult. When you go down the cost-cutting route and having to go through a restructure because there gets to a point where, as I said, what we do on the pitch determines our financial success. 

[00:22:19] And if you cut back too much on your core product, your core, it looks same as any other businesses on that, if you suffer from a revenue perspective. So there’s a certain level of which you can’t go lower than that, without impacting our whole model. Because what you find is, especially as an accountant, you take 10% off your costs and suddenly your revenues down by 20% because you’re hospitalized, your gained income everything. 

[00:22:39] So it’s trying to find that balance between the two, which is extremely difficult at times. Because as I say, it’s a downwards spiral, if you go down that route of taking too much out of your especially the professional game or equally so our ropey development, which is the underage structures right through at the province.  

[00:22:55] Andrew: So longer term planning.  

[00:22:56] Philip: We’re weakly reliant on players coming through the Munster system. We’re very proud of where we’re at because over the last few years, we’ve improved that. We have more players now in the coming season in 21, 22, who’ve come through Munster system than we’ve had in the last six or seven years. So that’s a huge thing that we know we have to have because that’s our connection with our supporters and our community. 

[00:23:15] So the investment at underage teams and our academy level is absolutely critical, in addition to the professional side. 

[00:23:23] Andrew: Yeah, it’s preparing the ground for the future. Keeping those connections in there with the community and then making sure on the playing side of the business side. There’s a lot to manage. I can see why you enjoy your job so much. And I think that’s come across with our audience.  

[00:23:35] So I just wanted to say thanks for giving us such great advice, but I’m also curious to know what’s been the best bit of advice you’ve ever received.  

[00:23:42] Philip: The biggest thing, I suppose really it’s about be yourself. Probably authentic is the buzzword at the moment that’s out there. Okay. But it is true. It’s about, don’t be trying to be something you’re not. And for me, it’s acknowledging we all have failures. We’re all human beings. We can’t be strong in every area. 

[00:23:59] Yes. We can work on our weaknesses, but embrace your strengths, find and get the right people around who can make up for your shortfall or your weaknesses. That’s the key thing. We’re an organization. That’s all about our people. Everything we do is about our people. It’s number one for us. On pitch obviously is all about players performing, but off pitch it’s the exact same. 

[00:24:17] So are we all just true to that? No we’re not. We can improve as a club and as an organization and how we treat people and ourselves, but that is so important. So being yourself for me is absolutely critical. There’s no hiding anything. You can be as I keep saying yourself. But it’s just being true to yourself. 

[00:24:34] Andrew: You just reminded me, Phil. I was reading up about this guy called Tom Landry. He was a coach of the American football team, the Dallas Cowboys, I think for 29, 30 odd years. And he was innovative in the way that, when he came in, a lot of the other coaches at the time were looking at the place where they made mistakes, going back over the videotape and saying, we made a mistake here. We made mistake there or whatever. Tom Landry came and he goes, I only look at winning plays, and we do more of the winning plays and he focused on his people and he looked at their strengths. So he just kept focusing on people’s strengths. so it’s just that awareness. The people being true to their strengths. A people first approach. Sounds like a very good recipe for an enjoyable career. And I can see it in your enthusiasm for Munster in your work. That comes across. So I really appreciate you sharing that advice.  

[00:25:18] Philip: It’s the positivity. Look, I am not really a very positive person and we all make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. So it’s about dusting ourselves down or dusting your staff members down, not being too hard on them, but just go again. Let’s go stronger. Let’s come back stronger. 

[00:25:32] And as a team, Munster, we’ve had a lot of downs. Okay. Whether it’s been on the pitch and off the pitch. It’s about how we come back. It’s resilience. Bounce back and give it everything. And once, you’ve given it everything, I can say safely on the pitch and off the pitch, we’ve given it everything this year. We came up short on various competitions, but that’s life. 

[00:25:50] Andrew: Yeah. That’s all you could ask for of yourself, and those around you. You’ve given it your best and it’s the same in the finance department. Sometimes we’ll nail the plan. Sometimes we won’t. But you know what, as long as you’ve given everything. Play to our strengths. That’s all you can ask for.  

[00:26:02] Actually, you just reminded me also that one of our favorite books, the Legacy, one about the All Blacks, even the best team in the world internationally, they only win 80% of the time. That’s the best in the world. They also have a really great chapter in authenticity as well. 

[00:26:15] So again, that’s another plug for that book. Which brings me to my next question, Phil. Any resources you can recommend our audience go checkout?  

[00:26:22] Philip: Legacy. 

[00:26:24] Andrew: Yeah. We’ll add that one to the list.  

[00:26:27] Philip: For me. I know it as the All Blacks book. That’s what I refer to it. So sometimes they say Legacy. I kind question, what are you talking about? But I have it on my locker and I don’t read very often, I’ll be honest. I’m very active in trying to do things, especially with young kids and everything. But when I do get time, just refreshing myself on some of those things.  

[00:26:44] Andrew: Yeah, one of my favorites. It’s definitely in the top 10 books for me. Phil look, if some of our audience wish to continue the conversation, where’s the best place to connect with you at? 

[00:26:52] Philip: And you can connect via LinkedIn or like I’m happy to share my email address as well. If anyone wants to make contact as well. There’s no problem. Very open person. Anyone wants to chat or advice, feel free to reach out. 

[00:27:04] Andrew: Okay. Even for tickets, Phil?  

[00:27:09] Philip: No.  

[00:27:09] Andrew: Good. Thanks for the clarification.  

[00:27:11] Philip: And normally I’d be saying, no problem. Come to us.  

[00:27:14] Andrew: Yeah, exactly. I got to say, yeah, we’ll do a deal. Yeah.  

[00:27:17] Philip: We’re going to have limited capacity. 

[00:27:18] Even with parents who are in their mid seventies, they traveled to every single game. They’ve already been asking me, do we get to go to the first game? I was thinking, I hope so, but I don’t know wether they even have tickets for you because we need to take care of sponsors. Everyone who’s taken care of Austria in the last 18 months who stopped, what else we want them in that stadium. We want them back in there. And it’s just trying to keep everyone happy, but it will be a great place to get to. 

[00:27:41] Andrew: Yeah, no, exactly. Hopefully it’s for not too long, but yeah, in normal times, it’s oh God, yeah, we could do something for all your tickets or whatever. But it’s just the way of the world at the moment. It’s important to look after those that have invested so much, so Phil, that’s really great advice there. We’ve covered loads of areas. Thank you so much for taking us through your career. And what’s exciting you most at the moment and just some of the challenges you guys have faced and overcome. Before we wrap up, do you have any other parting thoughts for our audience?  

[00:28:05] Philip: No look, the biggest thing for me is communication. We’re in an age now where everything is done digitally. Everyone’s on their phone. Everyone’s doing everyone by email. Pick up the phone. Meet people face to face. Create those personal relationships because email can be taken out of context. 

[00:28:23] And I’d love to say I live by this all the time. I don’t. Because sometimes it can take 20 minutes to make a phone call. Whereas your email has gone off in 10 seconds. But look at the long-term impacts of that and the personal connections you can need, because it’s all about people. 

[00:28:36] Right communication goes back to having clear strategic plans, visions that everyone is aligned to. Talking things through is the only way we need to do things. 

[00:28:45] Andrew: Awesome. Would love to explore that point with you further, Phil, but I know time is precious for us all. I really appreciate you making time for us today and coming on Strength In The Numbers show. 

[00:28:54] Philip: Not at all. It was a pleasure coming on and thank you for your time as well. 


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