England's Rugby Transition

Let’s not carried away. England are not yet quite the world beaters we crave. Despite walloping New Zealand and now winning in atrocious Dublin weather.

The Guardian wrote this interesting piece on how the building blocks for this turnaround are being built.

The adoption of the immense Dave Brailsford’s “Head of Marginal Gains” approach is a real winner. I love this vibe. Some larger salesteams do have a kind of 2 i/c. They can be called such as Sales Operations Manager, or National Sales Manager (without portfolio). Their responsibilities often extend to “special projects”. Yet when these feature primarily organising the annual conference it is a crying waste.

True marginal gain thinking is way beyond the scope of most sales outfits and that surely must change if you want to become, or stay, world-class.

A second point of interest, is that the coach does not diffuse responsibility. Mainly on the grounds of realising the culture must be set from him and him alone. A glimpse here of the classic tension between management aloofness and busybodying, hey.

And thirdly, how about this revealing quote from a former World Cup winner.

“We spend a hell of a lot of time together watching copious amounts of rugby. While we’re doing it, ideas will get thrown in and we’ll debate it. But if we try out an idea in training and the players don’t like it then it’ll be dropped. The players drive it all. That’s the relationship Stuart and we have with them at the moment. There’s a massive amount of trust.”

Whoa! I can see sales leaders squirming already! Giving the prisoners the keys to the jail? You must be crazy!

But maybe there is something in this.

Imagine introducing a new piece of thinking, say, every month. Some will adopt, others will not. But if it reinforces the culture of continuous change, improvement and thinking, then the winners will soon rise to the top. And your winning culture will surely set down and spread.

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