The Experience in the Room: Guy Easterby, Leinster Rugby

IMI’s new The Experience in the Room series will see us hearing from current participants about their own experience and the development journey they are undertaking at IMI.  First up is Guy Easterby, Team Manager of Leinster Rugby, one of Europe’s strongest rugby sides and home to many Irish International players.  Prior to taking up this management role he played rubgy union for Ireland London Scottish and with Rotherham in the English Premiership.  He is currently doing a Diploma in Strategic Human Resource Management at IMI.

Tell us about your day job

I look after all of the off-field elements on the ‘ rugby’ side of Leinster, essentially managing the department that help to run a successful rugby team.  This means working with the Head Coach and with the operations team to integrate aspects like  strength & conditioning,  medical, team logistics as well as important things such as discipline and player contracting. I also have to manage the succession planning for our playing roster, who we have available to play now and who is coming through.

How is the development you’re doing at IMI relevant to you?

I have been in the Manager role 3 years now and I’ve done a lot of learning on my feet.   So I have been living the role day to day but I felt it was time to get an outside perspective.  I have not worked in the private sector – essentially I

Leinster_Academy_Aboutwent straight from rugby to the family farm - so one element is hearing from managers from other organisations – from their experience – as well as from the other professionals that have come in to speak to us. There’s a place for the academic textbook stuff but I’m looking to see what’s really out there now, what’s applicable for me as an individual in my current role and how I can use this to enhance Leinster Rugby as a whole.

Managing talent is one area that’s a live and living issue for us.  Things like retaining your best people, working out who’s ready… in professional sports - you can’t get away with not doing it. We have a number of meetings a year just to look at contracting, at planning our succession  chart. We have to be constantly aware of the development curve.

What are the major challenges you see currently in your industry?

In professional rugby, part of the challenge is just trying to stay ahead.  We’ve been growing year on year for 20 years now.  As a team, getting the finance to enable us to keep up that growth is a big part.  In terms of how we manager ourselves, the off-field stuff – it’s trying to stay one step ahead of the posse.   That means a lot of research into finding out “who is the best person to do the job?” so you can get the right people on board  so that people continue to see you at the top strategically.

What are you excited about?

One of the greatest things I’m seeing is how we are getting more and more interaction with the community.  It’s not just the season tickets sales – although that’s always an important measure of people’s interest in the game – but it’s through things like the initiatives with schools and clubs.

I’m really proud of our Academy, the way that it is set up and run – it’s a strong brand in itself – and a real symbol of excellence that shows that the opportunity is there for up and coming players.  It’s such a young, professional area and we’re continually growing.  Some of those kids coming to our games will be future players – they’re our future talent!

Guy Easterby spoke to Eva Maguire, IMI

Read more posts on the theme of talent and performance management or on sports.  

For more information on the Diploma in Strategic Human Resource Management click here or speak to one of our programme advisors on programmeadvisors@imi.ie or 1800 22 33 88. 

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