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I’ve just sat through a very interesting and informative presentation by Sir Clive Woodward (the World Cup winning England Rugby coach) at the “Art of Work” seminar from SAP and Microsoft Azure to announce their strategic partnership.
What is perhaps a bit less well known about Sir Clive is that he is also a very successful business man having founded a number of businesses in areas ranging from IT Leasing through to speaking and coaching high performance teams.
The theme of Sir Clive’s talk today was using technology to win and he pointed out that in both business and sport
Whoever Wins in IT Wins
3 D Learning
Sir Clive talked about the 3 D’s of learning
- Discover – get ideas on how to improve from anywhere and everywhere. Be a sponge.
- Distil – select and simplify and communicate the best ideas.
- Do – practice practice practice to implement the good ideas. This bit is critical – other people can have the same ideas but the quality of execution is the most important thing.
Sponge v Rock
Sir Clive made the point very well that people that are successful in both sport and business have one really important thing in common in that they are receptive to new ideas and approaches (they are like a “sponge”) rather than rigid and unchanging like a “rock”.
Sir Clive described how that he felt he wasn’t a great ideas person but he was very good at spotting good ideas so he used to invite people from all walks of life to observe how he worked in England Rugby training camps with one condition – at the end of their time with the team they had to suggest at least one thing the team could do better.
Sir Clive said that without exception the 50 or so people who attended the camps came up with good ideas on how to improve.
Sir Clive recalled that one of the things that made the leaders in his World Cup winning team so effective was their deep knowledge of the game and one of the ways this had been achieved was the use of the Prozone system.
After watching the Prozone animations of the game the England players were asked to present back to the coaching team their thoughts on
- How they played
- How England played
- How their opposite number played
- How the opposition played
Sir Clive said it was a very worthwhile exercise for both the players and coaching staff that always brought out useful ideas and concepts.
Overall it was a very thought provoking presentation from a proven winner that made a lot of points about how collaborative leadership and encouragement of individual and team “self” awareness are critical ingredients in the formation of high performing teams.
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