The power of uniting goals – six nations rugby final day games

The final day of six nations rugby produced a thrilling finale and some amazing, attacking rugby (from all six teams). It also provided some insight into the enormous motivational and performance benefits of some clear, shared and uniting goals.

Clearly all three of the teams chasing the six nations title had the same overall outcome goals – to win the six nations title (and build for the world cup later this year). What the set up of the final day gave those three teams was a really clear focus on WHAT they needed to achieve (a win that put them top of the group on points difference by as much as possible) as well as HOW they need needed to play – with tactics that would firstly secure them a win and secondly an adventurous style of play that would allow them to score the points they needed.

With a large group of people (in these cases squads of 20 – 30 players) needing to be as on the same page as much as possible, then this context helped the shared focus and the alignment behind Why, What and How goals to happen much more easily. With this in place the individual responsibility and the energy to execute the plan is harnessed… with an absence of egos, but just a desire to deliver maximum personal impact for the cause. What all three teams had were great conditions for some team and personal choices to happen, with minimum doubt and maximum belief and conviction.

How does this translate to teams on the workplace?

  1. In the first instance by being clear in your teams on your why, what and how goals
  2. Secondly to make sure that you and everyone else (whether your team leader or team member) is aligned and united behind these goals
  3. Thirdly, that individual performance completely support the team goals and nothing else. Team first, individual second





Knowing you in your world

England’s cricketers’ failure at the current World Cup is probably due to more than one cause, despite the media effort to pin it down to a single factor (the captain, the coach, the preparation, the overuse of statistics, the failure of the senior players, the selectors, etc, etc.).

One comment that caught our eye was Michael Vaughan’s (the ex England captain), that the coach was in the wrong role and is much better suited to being the coach to the England elite youth development players where his skills and experience are perfect for the job.

We got thinking about other examples of performers who have been very successful in one role or place but less so elsewhere, such as Sam Allardyce as a football manager at Bolton (success) and Newcastle (failure) or Gordon Brown as Chancellor and then Prime Minister.

In the Corporate world there are at least two dynamic factors going on when it comes to the role you play and where. You can choose your role, or where you’re planted, by applying for jobs or expressing your preference for roles that match your abilities, preferences and ambitions. Secondly the business can choose how it wants to employ your resource, with your boss or the team asking you take on certain roles or be part of certain projects etc..

Typically there’s a constant interplay between the two, and the Performance Intelligent performer readies themselves to perform in the current and future role, and the conditions, and seeks to prepare themselves and influence those conditions where they can. By being aware of where you’re going to be planted and making sure you’re ready to make the right choices, that will give you the best chance of flourishing.

Continuing the plant analogy, the immediate conditions might not be ideal to bring out your most beautiful blooms, but by preparing the ground and looking for some other plants to benefit from, you can still thrive.

In teams and organisations, this becomes a vital ingredient for success and sustained performance excellence. Knowing, valuing and using your strengths – that’s you knowing them and your colleagues knowing them – allows superb tactical choices that will benefit the collective performance.

This also enables the process of role transitions, from the first inkling of a move to high performance in a new role, both quicker and smoother. Knowing why your team is better for having you on it is useful knowledge to have and use.

So how true Michael Vaughan’s observation of Peter Moores is, will depend in part on the depth, extent and accuracy of his knowledge about Peter Moores’ capabilities, and strengths.

For yourself, it’s worth constantly reflecting on how well you know yourself and how well you know and understand the world in which you’re performing, and doing what you can to improve your intelligence in both.


Storytelling in Business

This blog post comes from Matt Beresford, a successful Theatre Director & Business Coach. We really enjoyed Matt’s piece so we’re delighted to have the opportunity to share it with you. Let us, and Matt know what you think.

Once upon a time

….four little words that instantly grab our attention. They make us listen – promising adventure, humour and a message.

As a theatre director I tell stories, using every resource at my disposal – actors, set, costume, lighting and sound – to make those stories compelling enough to keep an audience entertained and engaged. I want to make them think of course, but my primary aim is to have an emotional impact – to move them – perhaps to laughter, perhaps to tears. This emotional impact is what makes plays, movies, novels (not to mention sports events) more ‘sticky’ than much business communication that we see and hear.

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Encouraging responsibility

This blog post comes from Matthew Scott, one of our K2 Hall of Fame performers We love Matthew’s piece because it reflects something he’s very, very good at and is written by someone who’s “been there and done it”. Let us, and Matthew, know what you think.

Leadership: Helping Individuals & Teams find out how good they can be
by Matthew Scott

I still meet a surprising number of people who seem to believe that being a leader means “telling people what to do” or “making all the important decisions”.

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Charley and Sophie Radcliffe trail running above Montenvers, Chamonix.

Human Performance – not an “adults only” arena

Many of you know that I’m passionate that the opportunity and resources to be the best performer you can possibly be, the chance to be the best version of yourself as consistently as possible, should be available to everyone, not just people who are on a particular pay grade so their organisations are prepared to help them learn this stuff or just for those people who are rich enough to afford it for themselves.

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Senior succession planning – 5 top tips

We’re delighted that this blog post has been written by Chris Voller, Claims Director at AXA Insurance, sharing his personal expertise of senior succession planning. We love its honesty and practical nature.

Bringing Development for Succession to Life in a Corporate Environment – 5 top tips

Despite very best intentions, succession planning can often become a tick box exercise in the corporate world. Filling out the right forms and getting them into HR on time will normally be enough to keep you out of trouble.

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New Year – and if you’re a high performer, Same Old You

A bit of New Year philosophy to kick 2015 off seems in order… so here’s some Heraclitus for you – ‘no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’ Fortunately for us, Heraclitus was better at wise words than he was at curing himself from dropsy (a story worth looking up!).

Given the title of this post and the wise words of Heraclitus, we thought this was a good opportunity to focus back onto some of the fundamental reasons why all of the New Year – New You concepts you’ll be being bombarded with right now are really much ado about the wrong things.

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Learning from Formula One

Lots of column inches earlier in the week were on the subject of Formula One, and in particular the this season’s all conquering Mercedes team and their two drivers, world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team mate (phrase used deliberately) Nico Rosberg.

One headline that caught our eye in The Times was by the excellent Matthew Syed (@matthewsyed) which stated that F1 is a “Culture where ‘standing still is tantamount to extinction’”. This neatly sums up an attitude we frequently see in consistently top performers. Irrespective of how successful they already are they are looking for new ways to go further, faster, higher. If they are already number one they’re thinking about what they need to change or do more of to stay there, and if they’re not already performing as well as they would like they’re considering what they need to do differently to improve. Read More



Some of you may be aware of Movember, the men’s health charity that encourages people (men, we think) to grow moustaches through November and be sponsored for doing so.

We wondered what it would be like if Movember was also all about motivation at work – not in a party way, with cakes and superficial initiatives –  but in a way where everyone seeks to understand motivation (their own and others in their team) and there’s a collective effort to work on it and keep it high.

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Do you have any myths that need busting?

This article based on an interview with Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll sees him addressing “some of the game’s fundamental truths”. There are a number of “myths” (nine of them) that O’Driscoll busts, which we recognise translate directly to business. In particular myths two, three and seven can be applied simply and easily to performance at work. We think the others can too but would invite you to see how you could take the learning from one incredibly consistent elite level team performer and consider what they might mean to you in your world. We think two, three and seven are obvious (see what you think) and would be interested in your thoughts on number nine! If you want to take this further see what other performance myths you’re believing and perpetuating which are getting in your way…