Over the years, I’ve cursed our legacy as a nation when it comes to sporting achievements. We were always the ‘almost there’ country.
Finally we’re enjoying an epic era of achievement in the wake of a tremendous Olympic legacy. From Murray winning Wimbledon to England sailing through the Ashes, we’re celebrating triumphs in every field.
When it comes to the business world, there are points to be learnt from this theme of global sports domination. If we can only channel that culture of success to infiltrate all areas of business, we could translate our nation’s sporting triumphs into economic prosperity.
As a sports fanatic, something is becoming more apparent to me than ever. It’s not simply down to recruitment of raw talent. Superstars are not made in isolation: they are the product of a tier of support, and behind every rising star stands the coach, driving that success. For the first time in history, coaches and support networks are taking centre stage, placed on a par with the individuals they are charged with developing. It’s about time our own managers were recognised in the same light.
In my time, I’ve seen many top-performing employees progress into management. However, not every star player becomes a star manager. Dave Brailsford, driver of “marginal gains”, made Team GB the most successful track cycling team in history. His own cycling career was limited, yet his unique skill set brought that ‘extra something’ to push the team to greatness.
It’s vital to recognise that coaches need hands-on, grass-roots experience of practising what they preach, but the skill sets required to successfully coach and play the game are often at odds. What we need are managers who will tread that fine line between the tactical and strategic, the individual and the team. It’s taken 15 years for English cricket to realise the greatness set by the Aussies: but with Andy Flowers pioneering, the team recognised that they needed to do more than simply recruit rising talent.
With a star manager to match those star players and a culture that places coaching at its heart, England has become the proverbial phoenix: rising from the ashes.
Isn’t it time UK business recognised a coaching culture and rose also?