Giving business a sporting chance
Posted by: WDMP Limited
Date added: Fri 08 Jun 2012
Gavin firmly believes the same principles of coaching and teamship that apply to Rugby can be effectively used to manage, lead and grow a successful business:
1. Keep it simple:
In coaching it’s essential to keep things simple and the same is true in business. Implement straightforward , realistic solutions that you can employ effectively. When training or presenting, simplify concepts by breaking them down to the most important factors.
2. Use the ‘whole-part-whole’ teaching model:
When coaching Rugby we implement a whole-part-whole model: We play the whole game, then stop and focus on a particular aspect that needs improvement and then apply what we’ve learned back into the game. When learning a new skill, or tackling a new project this can be a helpful technique. It helps staff to look at the bigger picture and to understand how a new approach or idea can be applied to current tasks.
3. Pose questions, don’t tell:
Kids say they understand what you’re saying – even when they don’t. But so do adults – no-one wants to look ignorant. So, explain your objectives, requirements and tactics. Ask questions and establish how someone would approach the problem to determine exactly what they understand and where additional insight might be needed.
4. Build team confidence:
In India last year I taught children who had never watched a game of rugby, let alone played it. Their confidence was therefore incredibly low. To get the best out of them it was important to start achieving quickly so we just got on with playing, stripped out all the rules and, significantly, let them score. As their confidence grew we then slowly introduced new rules. The same is true of training staff; first task them with things they can succeed in. As they start to believe in themselves, they will then be ready for the next, harder challenge.
5. The importance of being a team player:
It’s crucial to teach leadership and ‘followship’. In Rugby, no individual is more important than the team; players have to think of the good of the squad as much as personal glory. In business, team play, within a company and also as part of a team working with clients, is essential.
6. Preparation matters:
In Rugby preparation is about fitness, game tactics and match planning. In business it’s about having insight into your team and your clients and how you can help them all achieve their goals. Knowing your competition, planning and having tactics ready and practiced to handle the unforeseen are all important too.
7. Performance evaluation is crucial:
After each game it’s essential that overall performance is evaluated as a team, by the team. In so doing, and providing constructive feedback, you are ensuring that, as a unit, you identify ways to improve and, most crucially, understand the activities it has excelled at. This is equally important in business. Encourage your team to regularly assess its performance both as a team and as individuals to enhance team spirit, spot ways to improve and give recognition for jobs done well. This also helps you understand if staff members are playing in the ‘right position’– by recognising what they are best at you can adapt their role to play to their strengths. Quarterly and annual reviews with clients help you fine tune performance along the way and makes sure that there are no nasty surprises.
8. Be passionate and enjoy yourself:
Rugby naturally inspires passion, and it’s fun. Your business should be about enjoyment and needs equal amounts of passion for your team, your products, services and clients. If you’re not passionate about your business how can you expect your clients to be?
9. Be decisive and accept that mistakes will be made:
Be decisive; in Rugby there is little time to spend contemplating decisions on the pitch. The same is true for business; make your decisions and move on to the next; being indecisive means you’ll stagnate and your competition will pass you by. You will make mistakes, but learn from them and stay focused – it’s the only way to be effective both on and off the pitch.
Rugby teaches many lessons but perhaps the most important are discipline, respect, enjoyment, sportsmanship and team work. It’s also one of the most physical and intensive contact sports there are and it requires you to be mentally tough too – an absolute prerequisite for working successfully.
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