A few months ago, I had the tremendous pleasure of meeting Sir Clive Woodward and hearing him talk.
Given that Woodward is the only living English coach to lead a team to a World Cup win, it’s fair to say that the wisdom he had to share was worth hearing!
(I’m hoping a certain Mr Southgate will join Sir Clive in that exclusive list, but perhaps it won’t be in Russia – who knows?!)
Quite rightly, Sir Clive is regarded as one of the great sporting leaders of the modern era, but somewhat ironically, his talk focused not on ‘leadership’ but rather ‘teamship’.
Which is rare.
Fire up Amazon or look at the business bookshelves in Waterstones, and you’ll find a huge volume of books on leadership, but precious few on teamship.
It was a huge focus for Clive during his stellar period as coach, and the last result notwithstanding, it seems to be a huge focus for Gareth too.
Sir Clive distilled his approach to teamship down into four interlinked attributes – according to Woodward, these are the four key factors in getting a team performing:
Responsibility, unity, pride and respect.
Woodward encouraged his side to focus on those four things, and ‘responsibility’ is the interesting one that jumps out at me.
Rather than issuing diktats from on high, he ensured that each member of the side was involved in a decision-making process, and – somewhat surprisingly – he had a rule: if someone disagrees, he has the power to veto.
For a leader, who had a vision, this must have been tough. But what it did was promote responsibility within the team (everyone owned the decision) and sparked unity – everyone was on board with every decision.
It’s fair to say that Sir Clive’s approach can be used in any organisation – it’s certainly what we’re trying to achieve at Verbatim.
The more I can create an environment where everyone feels part of something and that everyone feels a sense of ownership over, the better I know the end experience will be for our customers.
And at the end of the day, that’s why we exist: to serve our customers, help their businesses to flourish – I’m confident that the better we are at teamship, the more effective that process will be.
Have a great day,