World Cup Winning Coach Knows Talent Alone Is Not Enough

Sir Clive Woodward knows a great deal about preparing both championship teams and individual superstars.

Recently he ‘chaired‘ a BBC broadcast hour with a tearaway footballer. One that doesn’t necessarily fit the stereotype and is currently undertaking a degree in philosophy. (26mb mp3, right-click and save here).

About 41 minutes in to what at times was difficult to stomach although certainly discussion-seeding philosophising from his interviewee, Sir Clive ventured that to be successful,

“talent alone is not enough”

It is an oft-heard refrain. Those that label the ‘natural ability or hard work’ debate in the same frame as ‘nature versus nurture’ are missing the point completely.

He continues;

“Your mindset’s got to be; there’s a lot of people with talent. What else do you need on top of talent? The number one thing, I think, is this thing called ‘knowledge’. Meaning, how much do they really know what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it? How much do they study their game?”

To illustrate his thinking, he pondered;

“If you asked a footballer, ‘how do you kick a football?’ How many could really show me in detail? They could take me outside and show me. How many people on a flipchart can actually show me technically how to do it?”

There’s much to admire about this thinking.

I often stand in front of salesteams and talk about how the true selling winners are so in large part because they are ‘self-aware’.

They know what works and why and continually refine it. Crucially, they can explain it.

The blank expressions I typically face when saying so though are usually a worryingly large majority.

Sir Clive is right. And so it is with top sellers.

Do you actively pinpoint where you win? Can you articulate why you succeed? Or even more revealingly, can you draw it me?

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