51 | Mon Dieu!

February 18, 2019

As I was watching a DISASTROUS French team playing England in the 6 nations last weekend this blog started to form in my head.

 

Yes, England were VERY strong and played really well and that did make the French team seem even worse.  When France are good, they're amazing. And when they aren't, they're dreadful.

 

And in that match 10 days ago there seemed to be nothing.  No energy, no direction, no belief, no purpose.  Seemingly no idea of what anyone was supposed to be doing.

 

And they were no match for an England team with a full head of steam.

 

But this isn't really about rugby - it's about leadership and culture 

 

Johnny Wilkinson, former England and Lions fly-half (who also played for Toulon in France), got to the nub of what went wrong in a 60 second slot during itv's post-match analysis.  You can watch it here

 

He talked a lot about the power of leadership and having players who were willing to stand up and take accountability.  But, in the same breath, he talked about how the money in rugby now is breeding a culture and a pressure to win at all costs - and some of that cost is going to be giving new players the time and space to grow.  The culture isn't perhaps where it needs to be?

 

And as he put it, all of that results in one of two things - either an anxiousness because players are worried about performing or a sense of malaise because they don't think there's room for them on the team.

 

In the world of professional sport - any sport - having either of those situations on a team is potentially very damaging.

 

And that's no different in business. 

 

CEOs talk about wanting their businesses to be agile and innovative, yet in many, people don't believe it;s OK to fail, to get it wrong, to 'not win'.  As a result, the business finds it hard to move over to a culture that's perhaps a little more willing to 'give things a try'.

 

My very first blog post, exactly 50 posts ago, was about some of the things that our coaching team did with our then U8 players (now U10s and really coming on I'm happy to report!) to bring them on and teach them the skills, rules and, most importantly, the spirit of rugby.

 

It's my most read and shared blog post and still carries true today - whether in business or for the French rugby team.

 

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