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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Successful or What? Strauss''s Eleven Captains Certainiy Delivered!

Not being one to avoid a passing bandwagon, the success of England's Ashes team in Australia just has to be mentioned today.   It has put a warm glow into many hearts during the freeze up, and decimated the gloomy predictions of the naysayers in the media.

It has been interesting to read now the considered comments of many of the so-called experts in the press, people like Derek Pringle, Michael Vaughan, David Gower and Simon Hughes being excepted as they really do know what they are talking about.

However, some of the comments have been very significant, and while there have been stunning performances on an individual basis, the real difference was in the way that the two teams prepared for the fray.

Leadership is not always visiible.  It is often subtle in its approach and does not need to be brash and visibly assertive at all times.   In many ways, the understated leader is greater by far than the loud and outspoken one because the quiet leader accepts that the team has as much to offer jointly and individually as he/she has and gladly accepts their contribution to the greater good.

One quote that I liked in Saturday's Daily Telegraph was from Derek Pringle who said that "Confidence has built through toil and forensic attention to detail".  How significant is that statement.

It has been noticeable that when interviewed on radio or TV, all the England team members emphasised the hard work that they had put into the preparation.  Fitness of body has been pre-eminent and fitness of mind has been assisted through excellent leadership and great back up coaching.

Belbin Analysis says that there are nine basic types in a team.   Most teams need a Shaper who helps determine the objectives and the style, a Plant who brings in new ideas, an Implementer who puts things into operation and a Completer-Finisher who attends to the detail, apart from other contributor types.

The lessons which business can draw from the manifestly successful team building methods of England's Test team are many.  

Whatever you are doing and whatever the project or process, total dedication to preparation and a relentless attention to detail are essential.  This does not mean that the project needs to be micro-managed by the leader; anything but that.  However, the team needs people who will deliver the detail and the preparation.

Above all, it requires leadership which understands that everyone has a place in the scheme of things and has something to offer.  As Strauss says, he wants eleven captions on the team.  Above all. the need to "get the right people on the bus" with a dedication to the overall objective of success is essential and that must be the primary objective of the leadership.

It is very pleasant and somewhat unusual to be able to draw these comparisons, and learn from an exceptionally successful English sporting team, so let's make the most of it.

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