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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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World Cup winning coach gives Cumbria leaders a competitive edge

WORLD Cup winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward gave Cumbria business leaders a competitive edge through an insight into his world-class winning strategies during a masterclass.

As the man who guided England to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup and Six Nations tournaments, and played a vital role in London 2012 as Director of Sport at the British Olympic Association, Sir Clive knows how to create high performing teams.

He shared that knowledge with more than 200 representatives of companies and organisations including senior leaders from across the Cumbria supply chain community, talking about leadership, the power of knowledge and how to be the best.

The masterclass was sponsored by Lloyd BMW Carlisle and Cockermouth and organised by the Centre for Leadership Performance funded by Nuclear Management Partners. The Centre’s primary aim is developing Cumbrian leaders for today and tomorrow through innovative programmes, which aligns with a key objective for Nuclear Management Partners to enhance the performance of Cumbrian business by supporting the development of leadership and management skills and building supply chain capability.

Energus sponsored the venue, and the audience included young people from schools and colleges and some of the county’s brightest young sports stars.

Before becoming a professional rugby coach, Sir Clive worked for Rank Xerox in the UK and Australia and then used what he learned there to start his own sales & leasing business, so he fully appreciates the cross-over between business and sport for techniques used to develop and manage high performing teams.

He places huge importance on capturing & sharing knowledge; not only must his teams have an appetite to know everything about their chosen discipline but they also must always be hungry to learn more. He compared ‘sponges and rocks’ within a team – the ‘sponge’ soaks up information and has a passion for their subject, whereas the ‘rock’ absorbs nothing new, because they think they know everything already. A rock will inevitably weigh down a team.

Sir Clive also highlighted a second characteristic he believes champion individuals and teams possess: the ability to Think Correctly Under Pressure. Sir Clive dubbed it ‘T-CUP’. ‘Performing under pressure is entirely coachable, it’s about predicting those pressurised situations and rehearsing accordingly to a huge level of detail.’

Sir Clive is a great believer in hard work. He says: “Talent alone will only get you so far. To be the best you have to keep improving, to learn about your skill, sport or business, to keep learning and work hard at continually developing and refining talent – that is what makes winners. Talent is just the starting point.”

Asked by the audience whether his principles could be applied to building a safety culture, Sir Clive explained: “Safety is like any other discipline; study hard at what you do, analyse all the scenarios, determine what you must get absolutely right, what makes a difference, practice and document it so that you can pass on that knowledge to others.”

Sir Clive was also asked what makes a good leader?

He noted: “No-one has the automatic right to be respected as a leader just because they carry a title; the position of leader has to be earned, and that confidence, respect and trust has to be continually reinforced.”

Centre for Leadership Performance Managing Director Al Mather commented: “Sir Clive delivered a fascinating and entertaining presentation which gave his audience plenty of food for thought. His experience in the sporting arena provides many parallels with the issues faced by businesses here in Cumbria and I am certain everyone took away lessons they can use to encourage and achieve excellence.”

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