Gold Medal Performance Needs Gold Medal Coaches

The time-stealer that is rolling TV news served me up a preview of the women’s golf open from Sunningdale.  Not in the remotest bit interested, my ears alerted when hearing that England World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward was overseeing the path of a promising 20-year old from near Derby, Melissa Reid.

Sir Clive knows a thing or two about getting the elite to perform.  His current job is doing just this for Olympic competitors.  But let’s not forget the shambles that was his kiwi Lion’s tour.  And what about his legacy at Southampton FC?  Anyway, he should acknowledge his experience on what does, and does not, precipitate success.

He has always been an advocate of surrounding (some used to say suffocating) his charges with legions of experts.   Along with Clive and her Manager, Team Melissa feature this dirty dozen, the first five being Doctors:

  1. Health
  2. Nutrition
  3. Visual performance
  4. Physiology
  5. Kinesiology
  6. Fitness
  7. Performance movement
  8. Motor skills
  9. Performance analysis
  10. Performing under pressure
  11. Golf swing
  12. Performance director

Melissa is all for it.  She’s been quoted approvingly, “Everyone out here is talented, so to get ahead you have to have an edge, to be different. Clive’s idea is that if you put together a team of experts around an athlete they can use their talent to greatest advantage. Talent is not enough.”

In the clip I saw, she talked of her most important discovery being one of dedication.  She was unaware of the sheer scale of the permanent level of hard work required on her part to become a champion.  A level of commitment that pretty much everyone else in life shies away from.

And I thought of how true this is for sales people.  And more so yet for sales teams.  I talk to hundreds of external sales people each year.  Having had a quick sift through my files, I believe that less than one in ten on-the-roaders engage in anything to improve their results beyond speaking to colleagues.  Whether listening to “tapes” in the car or studying a book on sales, the excuses I’ve heard for not doing so include “they’re all too American”, “I haven’t the time” and even “I don’t have to bother with that”.

It would be a simple addition to the next sales meeting get-together to hold a plenary.  Get someone holding the marker pen, and have the rest shout out ideas for the selling equivalent of Melissa’s dozen experts.  Then you can make a plan for getting them to have consistent, long-term dealings with the team.

If you’re a rep ploughing your lonely furrow, then who do you want to tap into?  Make your own list, approach them and make your plan.

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