This month we had the pleasure of attending a talk by Sir Clive Woodward, former England Rugby coach who managed England through to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. The event was held in conjunction with Seven Investment Management 7IM and BCL Legal and was held in the Deansgate Suite at the Manchester Hilton. This was a fantastic talk – we were truly in the presence of a true legend.
The talk was entitled “The DNA of a Champion”. It was all about what a winner is truly made of. It is not just someone who is talented, there is so much more to it than that, and I totally agree. Talent alone is not enough. As a recruiter, part of my job is interviewing candidates before putting them forward for potential positions, as well as interviewing people for my own team. There is so much more to being successful than just being talented, and that applies to any job, sport or skill.
There are two elements to becoming a champion – character, and coaching. Character is difficult to teach, but it can be further enhanced by effective coaching. Not only do you need to be talented, but you need to be an effective student, who is willing to learn, and absorb new information like a sponge – not resist like a rock. You need to be a warrior, and by that I mean be that is you need to be resilient, quick thinking, and be able to “think correctly under pressure” or “T-CUP” as Sir Clive called it. A warrior cannot be a champion without perfecting the art of thinking correctly under pressure. Sir Clive told a few amusing anecdotes where sporting heroes had choked under pressure in an unexpected situation, losing focus and thus losing that gold medal. By thinking correctly under pressure, there should, in theory, be nothing that can throw your off your came, allowing you to maintain focus, regardless of what is thrown at you.
And finally attitude. Attitude is absolutely key when making a champion. Without the right attitude, you are destined to fail. The right attitude does not just come from within, but it is also reflected in the attitudes of your colleagues and teammates, both senior to you and junior to you.
As a new manager I found this talk incredibly helpful. It helped me build up a picture of the all round traits and attributes needed in a successful candidate, but also how I am best equipped to help my team reach their full potential.