Winning matters, but so does how you get there.


John Neal will be writing a weekly blog throughout rugby’s biggest competition.  His blog will offer an insight into what businesses can learn from the highs and lows of the competition and the experience of the teams taking part.

Added on 18 September 2015 by John Neal

Winning matters, but so does how you get there.
And so it begins....
It is strange that with the start of the greatest festival of rugby in the world and which only happens every four years, many people are already wishing it over, as all they seem to talk about is who will win!
That's a little bit like business.  We tend to focus on the results, the monthly numbers, the quarterly and then the big end of year and the rewards that come as a result.
And there we have the problem in business and in sport.  If all you do is focus upon the result, you usually fail to get it.
Results focus increases anxiety and worry - we must win and we must not lose. But if you want to win, the focus needs to be on the process. Thinking about winning, or losing, stops you thinking about how to win and even more importantly, why we are in the sport or the business in the first place.
Stuart Lancaster is a shrewd man and understands this concept well. He appreciates that in order to win you have to focus upon the process of winning-  and that the process has to become unconscious so that it can be delivered under the extreme pressure of a world cup.
In training and in warm up games the focus and the reviews need to be not on the result, but upon the way in which you achieve results. This means that you have to create a fun environment in training where everybody is engaged, enthusiastic and excited. You can't afford to have players or support staff looking despondent or depressed because of a loss.
Losses happen and so do wins.  That’s all part of the sports and business world. The greatest and most courageous leaders accept this, they revel in it and focus on getting better every session.  They love to practice, they enjoy the journey and are excited and expectant when the games come along.
I asked Stuart Lancaster these questions, which business leaders may like to ask of themselves...
Do you love what you do?
Would you do it for free?
Do you enjoy the journey?
You can imagine what he said......what's your answer?

John Neal is also Director of Ashridge’s Sports Business Partnership which explores and applies the transferable lessons between business and sport creating powerful analogical learning experiences in the classroom.