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What Leaders Can Learn from Winning England Rugby Coach Eddie Jones


Last year I wrote about how Eddie Jones had turned the England rugby team from a team who lasted just 16 days at the World Cup to a team who won a series against Australia in Australia just 9 months after taking over, for the first time ever.

Since then Eddie Jones has made England unbeatable. They have now won their last 13 matches including the Grand Slam at the Six Nations in 2016.

Which is even more impressive when you consider that he doesn’t get to work with his players every day. He has to pick them up and make them winners in a really short period of time before they play.

I recently heard Eddie Jones talk about how he has created his team of winners.

What he does is incredibly simple stuff, (although number 15 surprised even me) and here is the thing - he has incredibly high standards and will not settle for second best. The odd mistake yes, complacency, never.

Why I share these, is that it is a must for business leaders who want to win.

  • 1. He is clear about his vision

    Which is to be the number one rugby side in the world and every action he takes is designed to make this happen

  • 2. He asks his players for attitude

    His captain Dylan Hartley was considered a risky choice as he can be hot headed, but personifies everything else Eddie Jones asks for – steeliness, people person, hardworking, committed, good energy

  • 3. They go out to win every single game

    Their mindset is that they will bring home the victory every time

  • 4. He gives the players crystal clear instructions about what they have to deliver

    So they know exactly what they are working on

  • 5. He has harsh words with his players

    If they aren’t fit enough or playing well enough the tells them and then if they don’t improve he drops them, everyone knows what is expected and where they stand

  • 6. He expects 100% commitment to the cause

    He only chooses players who are desperate to play for England and who are desperate to win

  • 7. He makes tough decisions quickly

    If he has brought a player in who isn’t cutting it he quickly gets them out

  • 8. England do more than the competition every single time

    He asks his players to be disciplined and to control every single element of the game, no weak links

  • 9. He knows what he wants

    He aspires to play the perfect game of rugby and more importantly he consistently communicates that that is what he expects

  • 10. He admits that he makes mistakes

    He allows himself a 10% bad decision rate and admits he’s brought in players who weren’t ready, he admits leadership is a little bit of guesswork and gut feel

  • 11. He has agreed the criteria a player must meet to play for England

    This makes selection easier as he and more importantly they know exactly what he wants

  • 12. He understands the power of the team over a group of individuals

    The players have got to be able to work in a team, although he admits there can be one or two who are aside from the team, but never more than this. He expects the players to ‘bust’ themselves for the team and if they don’t he expects other players to step in and take responsibility for dealing with that.

  • 13. He wants the team to be better tomorrow than it is today

    He makes incremental improvements consistently even when the team are winning

  • 14. He expects players to over perform

    Over performance for Eddie Jones comes from talking about the evil of complacency and what it takes to over perform, every single day

  • 15. He sees his most important job as selection

    Incredibly he spends 60% of his time getting his selection right because he realizes that having the right people on the pitch and in the right position is the foundation for everything else.

    If you want to develop you and your senior team to this level call me on 07725325104 or email sarah.mcdowell@chiefexecutive.com and together, we’ll help you and the team work this way.

  • Don’t tell me show me.

    At The Leader Centre we understand that it takes a leap of faith to work with a business you haven’t worked with before and that when your senior people are already busy it can feel like added pressure to take time out for training and development.

    The problem with that is that when you don’t invest in training and development more of the pressure falls on you and your people and your business fall behind.

    So we take that leap of faith with you and instead of just telling you what we do, we show you by offering half a day’s training for your senior team at our expense.

    On that half day we show you how your business can achieve more and how senior people can reduce their stress by doing less than they are now.

    To book your session simply get in touch via our contact page.

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