As I blog this, we await the mouth-watering semi-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
During pre-match build-up, I heard former England scrum-half, Danny Care.
He shared insight into the man-management of their Aussie coach, Eddie Jones.
Widely considered by those worked under him to be up there with the very best.
To précis a key example;
‘…what he does so well is go round to each member of the team in the final moments just prior to going out and deliver a key, single point that he feels will benefit them … in one case it was that their forwards are sometimes a bit lazy around the breakdown so you might find a chink of gap to exploit’
This was before the biggest game of his career. Away in Paris for an England v France 2016 grand slam decider. The advice stuck and believes it led to his best ever try.
I was reminded too of the background to the famed 1977 Kenny Dalglish chip.
Moments before going out, Liverpool manager Bob Paisley had a brief word.
As silky centre-back team-mate Alan Hansen notes in his memoirs, this simple message was delivered in the dressing-room before going out. “‘Watch out for Iohn Phillips [Chelsea’s keeper] straying too far off his line.’ Liverpool won that game 2-0 and no prizes for guessing that Kenny scored one of the goals — the first — with a long range chip over Phillips’s head.”
A classic goal followed.
Eddie Jones it seems has a single sentence ready for every single player.
One final word before going out. Something specifically sculpted to set them apart and on their way.
There are clear links to selling.
Whether prior a presentation, phone call or meeting. In the storm of thoughts that swirl during pitching, what sole idea brought to mind might give the edge?
I’ve even done similar in the heat of a live meeting’s pre-close.
Don’t cloud the mind with all sorts of multiple messages. Make the last steer stick. Through simplicity and clarity. Something that is super-relevant, not on the periphery, and will make a difference. Regardless of being a new nugget or reminder to enact an existing piece of best-practice.
And like Eddie, keep the cutest tip ’til last.
As an added extra, in an early-week news conference with the assembled press, this was widely reported;
Quick as a flash [Eddie Jones] asked all those present who thought England would win [vs NZ] this Saturday to raise their hand, before – shock, horror – declaring the poll closed a nanosecond later. “Well I couldn’t see too many hands go up. Your first reaction is always your most honest reaction, and if you don’t put your hand up straight away you don’t believe it. And you don’t.” Job done. Next.
Interesting idea for your next sales meeting…?!