Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
My Blog

Lessons from the Rugby World Cup

One of the common areas of difficulty for the new entrepreneur is that of human resource management (as they refer to it in the latest text books), or what to do about staff if you are a normal person.
I have often given tips such as:
·      Don’t employ people just for status, do it for a reason
·      Don’t expect people to have the same passion for your business as you have, they are likely to have a life outside as well!
·      Recognise that money is not a motivator, although lack of money can be a demotivator
·      Develop policies that are sustainable in the years to come as the company grows and not just for now
·      Don't try and micro-manage everyone
·      Don’t get too close to employees as you may one day have to sack them
There are many suggestions that I have made, but as I got to the last one on the list above I suddenly thought of an equally important one.
I had been consoling myself after England’s dismal showing in the Rugby World Cup where the only records the team broke were bad ones! Looking at the way that England ran its ‘rugby business’ I saw real parallels to another danger facing new businesses.
I refer to the problem of being too remote from the workforce and of seriously limiting the powers of people to make true team contributions.
It is not necessarily the fault only of the England rugby team, as the problem arises in most international rugby teams along with sports such as American football.
I refer to the use of technology that means that the senior management of the team now sit high in the stands, well away from the players and can only communicate via a cordless telephone to a minion on the sideline or an earpiece in the quarterback’s helmet.
Sport, like entrepreneurial businesses is about teamwork and passion. Setting yourself too far apart from your people is not going to make them feel they are part of your team.
Equally, in your business, if you chose to sit in the top of a metaphorical stand behind a glass shield,  you are certainly not  going to feel any passion from below and you will be unable to instill it from above.
When the business weather gets tough it may seem warmer and more cosy in the stand, but if you want to come through the bad weather you will stand much more chance if you are pitch side in the dugout near the troops.

However disastrous the English performance may have been for us supporters, there is still another World Cup in four years in Japan. Such disasters in your business may not present a second chance. So, although it may not be a good idea to actually be on the pitch, get yourself down to the dugout and experience the real game.

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