England Rugby: It’s only a game – NOT!

Whether you follow rugby or not … you’d have to be impressed with the way Eddie Jones, the coach, has transformed performance and results.

Winning the Grand Slam  –  and, for the first time, achieving a series win in Australia  –   with more or less the same squad who were humiliated in November at their own World Cup by failing to make it to the play-off stages!

Anyone interested in improving performance in any area  –  especially in business  –   should take heed and apply the five key factors Eddie Jones has employed.


1. Inspiration

Every team needs inspiration. The eloquence and confidence of Eddie Jones and his pithy remarks before any big match can be a game-changer – literally. And it’s something we shouldn’t forget either. Never go into a team meeting without having prepared at least some of the words you’ll say. It’s easy to forget, but when you were new, I’m sure you looked to your team leaders for words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement and to be sure your passion was ignited to exceed objectives. Things haven’t really changed on the rugby field, or any meeting room.

2. Trust

Coming back from the defeats of the World Cup, the players really needed to trust their new boss  – and each other. It goes without saying, trust is vital in any team situation. Eddie Jones gives team members the opportunity to play to their strengths, and trusts them to perform. Choosing Dylan Hartley as a captain was a master stroke. This decision, though risky, has proved beneficial for both the team and Hartley himself as he has found confidence in his role.

In the business world, just like Jones, we too are ultimately responsible for the end result. While it can be hard to let go, building trust within teams remains one of the best ways to maximise their abilities.

3. Listening 

While communication is necessary, if players are to be effectively instructed and inspired, we should remember that it’s not a one-way street. A coach who doesn’t listen to his players can’t keep in touch with morale or feedback with solutions to problems affecting the team. It’s the same in business. As well as keeping in touch with your team’s morale through regular communication, listening and providing feedback is essential.

Eddie Jones, even after leading England to great success, is still pushing the team to strive for even greater things  –  to be the number one rated team in the world.

Whilst celebrating the teams’ well-deserved achievements, Jones took the time to openly discuss past failures with the players to see what they could improve on individually and as a team in the future. Whether it is through concrete actions or simply an acknowledgment of particular issues, letting your team know you care about their opinions will build loyalty and help you move on together, to greater successes.

4. Communication

It is widely acknowledged that clear communication is crucial for good team management. It’s not just any old communication. It’s lots of open communication, not just between coach and players, but also with all the support team involved, that will ensure that everyone is aware of the goals they are all working towards and the progress they are making.

Similarly, engaging communication in the workplace is communication that cuts across department, team and all the silos.

5. Collaboration

While you are the leader, it’s important to remember that your team is made up of individuals who each have a huge amount to contribute. Jones, having brought a successful turnaround for the team, still insists that it is the team that deserves the most credit, especially the former captain, Chris Robshaw. Robshaw has been praised by Jones for his work on and off field, being known for helping out teammates after training so that they can improve their skills.

Collaboration is about enabling colleagues and peers to work together on and off the field and share some sense of ownership of the team’s successes and failures. As Jones caters to the individual temperaments and strengths of his players, nurturing each one’s role in the team, so too can managers develop their employees qualities to create a balanced, high-performing team that is bigger than the sum of its parts.


How do you and your organisation match up on these 5 areas? Building and developing skills and strengths in these 5 areas will transform performance, morale and results more than any system or process improvement.

In business, success is not about having a great product … it’s about making people great who are involved with the product.

You may want to know more about this … our expertise? (Developing leaders in any business who are able to deliver improved and sustainable business performance)

  • As a result of our work with an organisation in the  automotive industry they had seen their sales up by 20% … in a market up by 4%
  • Another organisation in the financial services industry had finished £250,000 ahead of target in 2016
  • Also, after working with an organisation in the transport industry they had seen profits up by 68% in just one year

We go beyond excellence, beyond expectations … and the results our clients achieved are breath-taking. If you want to achieve similar results contact us now for a no obligation chat: 01244 681 068 or email tellmemore@sewells.com … you’ll be really glad you did.

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