As some of you may know I am a big rugby fan and a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Ireland v England Six Nations game in Dublin. While the result and performance of Ireland was not what we hoped for it was still a great occasion to see two world class teams play. There has been a lot written and said about the game since and it got me thinking about performance and winning whether on the rugby pitch or in business. I am too young to remember the bad old days of Irish rugby, thank god, but I can still remember watching what appeared to be the same game every year in the Five Nations between Ireland and Wales to see who would avoid the wooden spoon. Then professionalism arrived which the IRFU seemed to embrace more than other countries. Soon after this it was Munster in Europe and Brian O’ Driscoll in Paris and something had changed in Irish Rugby.
Since then it has been somewhat of a steady climb to the top bar the odd failure which tends to happen to us in World Cups, the pain of the defeat to Argentina in 2015 still lingers. Plans and strategic goals were put in the place. Additionally the right coaches and backroom staff were hired. Performance was measured and expectations grew which culminated in the awesome year that was 2018 for Irish Rugby but…
This brings me back to this year’s game with England, the Irish team and public expected to win after all we were at home and it was only England but they are ranked 3rd in the world. We had forgotten the years where England used to beat us quite comfortably. Ireland’s coach Joe Schmidt has created a way of playing that has bought incredible success but unfortunately on that day it didn’t work. This doesn’t mean how they play needs to be radically changed instead it needs improving with new moves and ideas added.
How does this all relate to business? We can all think of companies that started off doing business one way and then when they got successful either consciously or unconsciously changing not for the better. For example if you are a customer focused company then everything you do should be to reinforce that, whatever changes should be for the benefit of the customer not to just save money and increase profits. Good companies tailor their business for whatever part of the market they are targeting while still maintaining their core values.
Like the Irish Rugby team, businesses need to focus on performance and keep improving but not forget what made them successful in the first place. Ireland can still win the world cup in 2019 but so can many other nations it is not our right just because it would be a great fairy tale ending. This is also the case in business there are many companies that can offer a service as good as yours but you have to keep striving to be better than they are. Small margins in rugby and in business can mean massive gains in the long run.