"The decision to recruit Richard Graham was a proactive one made by Queensland Rugby to ensure we can sustain ongoing success both with the Reds and in the community game." Photo: Anthony Johnson
There has been a lot of speculation about the Queensland Reds coaching structure for next year and beyond, so it would be remiss of me not to at least clarify a few key points.
The decision to recruit Richard Graham was a proactive one made by Queensland Rugby to ensure we can sustain ongoing success both with the Reds and in the community game. It was a decision made purely in the best interests of the organisation and one which will allow us to stay ahead of our competition.
What is overlooked by many is the need to plan for the future and the need to take the team to the community. There is a constant need to represent our code.
We have identified Richard as a person who values the need for this type of work. He will allow us to further broaden our exposure and efforts on this front while ensuring we have a person in place for the future who understands there is far more to coaching than just techniques and tactics.
The bottom line in any good business model is the need to manage growth. You need to create an environment that doesn't hinge on the winning or losing each week. It's about engaging with the community and creating strong foundations that allow you to prosper outside of the rollercoaster ride that is rugby.
You often don't get the time to make considered and long-term decisions as the pressure of the moment gets in the way. We're blessed we have an organisation that has the forward-thinking to make this a reality.
For the Reds, I will remain the head of the rugby program while Richard will transition into the role of head coach.
It's a process that may seem bizarre to some but which is common place within rugby, especially in Europe. There is barely a European club that does not have a multi-level structure to their rugby department. This is done so organisations get the best out of their investments both on and off the field. Clubs are constantly adapting their structures and titles to maximise their skill sets and to overcome new challenges.
For Queensland, we saw an opportunity six months ago to capitalise on our recent success by putting long-term plans in place to protect the progress being made. At this point in time, which was near the end of the World Cup, I was only contracted until the end of next year.
A forward-thinking strategy and opportunity to be proactive was an urgent priority, and in the fullness of exploring all possibilities, I suggested staying on until the end of 2014. This would allow a transition process to take place that would see unprecedented development of a genuine succession plan for a new coach and for every other aspect of the rugby department.
This was well received and as a result I agreed to extend my commitment at the beginning of the year. The search was then on for the right person to compliment and help me develop the rugby program.
Ultimately, the shape and hierarchy of your model needs to optimise the people and deliver results. It's important to recalibrate and change job descriptions, and people to try and improve. Regardless of the structure or job titles, we have been very successful in investing in the right types of people and morphing them into the best possible team. This includes both players and staff.
There is also a need to deal with recruitment and retention. This is one task I will continue in a director of coaching role next season. It's one area, however, that takes up a massive amount of time. When I arrived at the Reds it was one of the biggest areas that needed to be focused on and I'm satisfied with the job we have done. However we can improve.
When it comes down to it, someone needs to be responsible for rugby at the Reds and, despite my changing job title, I will still be accountable until the end of 2014.