Jim Gavin is a passionate student of psychology. Get him talking about psychologists Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor or Daniel Gilbert and then onto the Hierarchy of Needs, Theory X or Theory Y and you'll never get around to asking for a prediction on a GAA match!
Famed for winning 33 trophies as player, coach and manager - and winning 18 out of a possible 21 trophies as Dublin Manager, while also setting a record of playing 35 consecutive Championship and League games without defeat - Jim is a deep and thoughtful leader on and off the pitch.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jim twice in the last twelve months as part of his work with the DCU Educational Trust and with the RDS, which awarded him Honorary Life Membership in recognition of his "contribution to Ireland, over and above [his] normal employment."
Each time, Jim has offered unique insights into how a higher purpose, community, preparation, failure and resilience all play in our sporting, professional and personal lives.
On Saturday at 10am on Reignite 2.3, I’ll talk to Jim Gavin about his leadership philosophy throughout his career with the Irish Defence Forces, the Irish Aviation Authority and Dublin GAA.
Reignite 2.3 will aim to answer the question: How do I lead?
Jim is a leader who never talks about 'winning’ but instead about always optimising for performance. He believes that preparation is nine-tenths of performance, and contends you can only get the best out of people by honing your approach to their specific needs. There is, according to Jim Gavin, no ‘master key’ when it comes to team members, on or off the pitch.
Underpinning much of his leadership approach, which has been shaped by his service with the military, are three fundamentals: Culture, Environment and Values. These values centre on respect, discipline, humility, community. Jim’s approach was also shaped by early wise words from former Defence Forces chief-of-staff, Dermot Earley, that he took with him into the world of GAA: "The greatest reward that you’ll ever get in life is the satisfaction of doing something well and doing it to the best of your ability."
Tune into Reignite 2.3 at 10am on Saturday 14 August on RTÉ Radio 1