As a died in the wool Welsh Rugby supporter, Saturday was a good day. I did not expect a record victory, though I thought Wales might shade it.
But I cannot help looking at it for business lessons as well. The first minor lesson refers to the “as long as we beat England” supporters. It is not good enough. Beating the top dog of Britain (historically, politically and economically) is one thing, but we should measure ourselves against the best in the world. The same applies to business – being a big fish in a small pond is sustainable only so long as the predators keep to the large pond.
The more important point though is how Wales turned around their season from 8 consecutive defeats to winning the 6 nations. How did they do it?
1. They recognised the problem – not very difficult in the circumstances. Possible they could have done so sooner.
2. They too a realistic view. They recognised their own abilities, that several games had been lost by narrow margins, and that injuries had played a part.
3. Most of all, they brought their game back to a defensible core based on defence and fitness. These were two areas where they were confident. Their attacking game on the other hand was more vulnerable to a lack of confidence. That is exactly what a business in turnaround needs to do, bring things back to a defensible core.
4. They added, somewhat unexpectedly, a strength at set piece. This nullified the strengths of other teams. A different approach in one area, if available at limited cost in time or money, can pay off.
5. They held together as a team, The championship involved several difficult selection decisions, yet they were all accepted by the players concerned without complaint. There is a need for everyone to hold together to execute the same plan, even if it is not perfect.
So while business and sport are not the same (there is no finishing line in business) there are still lessons that we can learn.