Posts Tagged ‘andrew strauss’

The Spiral of Success

The Spiral of Success

Of all the great athletes I have been fortunate to meet or coach in Cricket, I have yet to meet one who isn’t consistently successful over a period of time who doesn’t have a ‘positive’ and ‘aggressive’ attitude toward life. Likewise for winning teams, they are made up of characters whose predominant mindset is shaped by this outlook on life. Not aggressive in the violent sense of the word, more an approach to life based upon seeking opportunity, taking the initiative and making their own circumstances, rather than waiting for them. The ‘positive’ side of this equation is that the individual and team actively engages and participates in making their own future, even to the point of recreating themselves where it is required. Now this is not only in sport, it is in every field of endeavour, all the great Captains of Industry have had these traits, likewise in Politics. In my field of endeavour, professional cricket, the Champions Trophy has just finished in South Africa, the England side after being thrashed in the One Day series on home soil by Australia, came to the southern hemisphere looking a decidedly broken side.

And yet, in the space of a flight down south and some dark nights of reflection, the side came out and surprised even the most optimistic of England’s supporters by playing with a refreshingly ‘positive’ and ‘aggressive’ attitude. It culminated in them making the semi finals, they then fell, but not before they looked as if they had thrown off some of the previous 17 years of inferior performance in this format of the game. (In professional cricket each format is called a ‘product’ as it is being sold to a particular TV and advertising market place. England have been woeful pretty much since the 1992 World Cup Final. )

Nothing has changed with the skill levels, the fitness or technique of the players, the only thing that has moved has been England’s attitude. From without it is not possible to pinpoint where the shift has come from, only those in the dressing room and inner sanctum of the team will really know, if I were to surmise though, I would look to Andrew Strauss and his leadership. He showed both generosity and steely focus when it was required in this competition, it will take more than one competition to shift England’s fortunes and a semi final doesn’t mark dramatic success. Yet this could be the seed of success from which England begin to build a team that will match the world’s best consistently. I flag this because I believe England may well have a Captain who has the necessary VISION and COURAGE to move the side into becoming a more successful outfit, playing a more successful ‘brand’ of cricket in this ‘product’.
Every success spiral has a beginning ……..


The Importance of Timing

What an amazing world we live in today, I am sitting in my living room in Pretoria watching the 5th One day International between England and Australia in Nottingham ! There is a light breeze coming from the garden carrying the amazing fragrances of a highveld spring. Well I have waited a while to blog after the Ashes Victory and for the rejoicing to die down after Andrew Strauss and the England side did indeed hold their nerve. Congratulations on an emphatic last test victory to the England set up, it is amazing though where victory can come from. The otherwise unsung and obscure Stuart Broad swung the final test England’s way with a spell of bowling that quite literally turned the game on its head. It opened up the opportunity for England to take the game away from Australia and then close it out for victory. Broad up until then had been under pressure to hold his place because of his under performance with the ball, so how does he then go and turn the game upside down?
His selection had been based on potential rather than performance, flattering to deceive wouldn’t be far from the mark. He would chip in with small contributions but nothing that would markedly move the game England’s way. There was no doubt though about the intensity and passion in his play, looking like an angelic choir boy and playing with a healthy streak of mongrel. Now I would think that that there is many a CEO that wonders what they really want in their key staff, what are they looking for and who will make the difference in the short, medium and long term.
As a coach and manager at the sharp end of sport, this is what makes the difference in the composition of the team ……. some thoughts for your own talent identification process.
1. Sign the best players, full stop.
2. Passion, Intensity and Attitude go a long, long way.
3. Do your key players still want to challenge themselves, if not it is time for them to go.
4. Sign players who are driven by a desire for excellence.
5. Build the team around one cast of characters, core players who lead and set the benchmarks for the other younger players.
6. Your core leaders need integrity, courage, determination and the skills to close the deal when it really matters.
7. Sign the best players, full stop.

The selectors didn’t know that Stuart Broad was going to break the game open at that critical moment, but they sat with him as he developed and trusted what they believed they saw in him. As it happens with those who begin to learn to write their own script, they find the right moment to make their entrance.

Richard Pybus


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