11 April 2022

The Executive Institute Luncheon with Paul O’Connell

Harvest hosts a table at the Executive Institutes Platinum Members luncheon with guest speaker Paul O’Connell

Harvest was delighted to host a table at a Platinum Members luncheon with The Executive Institute luncheon on Friday 8th April. This event with guest speaker, former Irish rugby union player and coach, Paul O’Connell drew a large crowd of over 750 guests. Many guests expressed their delight to be out and networking in person again post Covid. There was a vibrancy in the air as acquaintances caught up and new introductions were made, all in the pleasant surroundings of the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road. Our thanks to The Executive Institute for organising this excellent event.

The ballroom was the stunning backdrop to this delightful lunch, where guests enjoyed chicken and mushroom or vegan mains followed by scrumptious chocolate tart and coffee, after a networking hour by the complimentary bar. Paul O’Connell made an impressive entrance as he strode through the seated room to his place at a top table with guests. After dinner, he charmed the eager audience as he spoke for a short while on being a leader and what it has meant to him as a coach. He was candid about what has worked and what has not worked for him. For Paul this started with a tip from Simon Covey’s highly regarded 7 Habits; ‘Put first things first’ and for him, this was personalised to ‘building his foundation rocks’ which he would focus on each weekend in preparation for the week ahead. He second tip was around mindfulness and how one brings that into solid practice in everyday work and life, focusing moment by moment to give your full attention. Paul was equally open about what didn’t work for him during his fireside chat with RTE sportsperson and broadcaster Jacqui Hurley. This enlightening and relaxed conversation interspersed with many laughs also gave insight into how Paul would find it difficult to switch off. As a leader, he eventually recognised this could have a negative effect on the team so knowing your anxiety can affect others if you cannot relax and when it is the right time to do so was a point of note.

Some other topics which came to light during his chat with Jacqui were around the importance of reflection and making time to do this regularly so as to capitalise on solid learnings. Writing notes and journaling were good tools for this. Paul also spoke about constructive disagreement, managing pressure well, using visualisation techniques to reach goals, perception -v- fact/science/data.

Paul interspersed his conversation with some videos of key moments at matches to demonstrate some of his points, such as knowing when someone in the team or an opponent was giving up or indeed not giving in. This was part of the learnings from reflection and using whatever is required to help reflect. Paul provoked consideration and thoughts in many of the guests on the day who were delighted to listen to his perspective on being a leader, and who just enjoyed being out and networking once again on a sunny, April, Friday afternoon in Dublin.