June 13, 2018

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Safety & Health Expo

Sir Clive Woodward OBE: Lessons in creating a championship team

Sir Clive Woodward OBE will divulge secrets of creating successful teams and constructing the right environments for leadership to thrive, during his Inspirational Speaker slot at Safety & Health Expo next week.

The coach behind England’s famous victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Sir Clive was also Director of Elite Performance for the British Olympic Association between 2006 and 2012, playing a large role in the unprecedented success of the British Olympic Team at the London Olympics.

Sir Clive Woodward Safety & Health Expo 2018

This success, as well as the other luminous stops in his multi-sport career (he is currently developing a high-altitude performance centre in Tignes), have been built on the mantra of Thinking Correctly Under Pressure (T-CUP), preparing for every eventuality so that you can maintain focus and make the correct decisions while being bombarded with distractions and setbacks.

Sir Clive became England coach in 1997 and was immediately tasked with guiding English rugby from the amateur era into the professional game. Built on a foundation of back-room expertise, close attention to detail, competitor analysis and ruthless decision-making, the side improved continuously, being crowned Six Nations champions in 2000, 2001 and 2003 before its World Cup triumph in Australia.

That final was a 17-17 tie with less than a minute of extra time remaining. After 99 minutes of draining rugby, the England team drove up the field, culminating in the Jonny Wilkinson drop goal that clinched victory. Sir Clive credits the hours of training and preparation for the team’s ability to produce and succeed under the intense pressure and physical stress of the dying minutes of a World Cup final.

This approach for coaching and leadership, far from being limited to some of the world’s most famous sporting arenas, can be the recipe for excellence in any walk of life. Sir Clive has described how his time working for Xerox and running a successful computer leasing business in the early 90s helped him develop his coaching technique.

Since leaving the BOA in 2012, Sir Clive has been spreading these lessons as a speaker and consultant and has established Hive Learning, a social platform for leaders and managers from all walks of life to share tips and experiences.

A bumper crowd is expected when Sir Clive reflects on these lessons at next week’s Safety & Health Expo.

Taking to the Keynote Theatre at 11.30 on Thursday 21st June, Sir Clive will discuss what makes the DNA of a champion and how to encourage leadership throughout a team. The hour-long session will end with a short Q&A session.

Sir Clive Woodward on establishing goals:

“Other coaches before me had asked themselves ‘How can we be victorious with what we’ve got?’ or, in other words, how could you coach and manage the players effectively to earn victories. To me the question was flawed; I took a different view. Instead, I started with an end in mind – winning – and then worked out what it would take us to get there. I asked myself: “If our goal is winning against the best teams in the world, what would our organisation need to have in place in order to succeed consistently?’” (from ‘Winning! The Story of England’s Rise to World Cup Glory’).

Sir Clive Woodward on continuous progress:

“If you go into every aspect of what you do and break it down and improve those things by 1%, it all adds up. It has to become part of your culture. You have to be always doing it and just because you’ve improved something one day doesn’t mean you can’t improve it the next. It has to be the ethos of everybody. Everyone in that team has the obligation, if they think we can do something better, to hold their hand up and say it.”

Sir Clive Woodward on direction:

“I broke rugby down into seven different areas – defence, basics, pressure, attack, tactics, self-control and leadership. If I’m coaching a business person now, I ask them to imagine we’re writing a book together and say the most important page is the contents. What would it include in seven to ten key headings? You can break down any job into categories like that to give you a sense of direction.”

Sir Clive Woodward on being prepared for pressure:

“There are all those horrible words in sport – to freeze, to choke, to bottle. If you’ve thought it through beforehand, and I mean properly – sitting in classrooms, discussing it – then the chances are that you will make the right decisions. If there’s a positive [drugs] test we have to be prepared: how to handle it, where does that athlete go, how do we handle the media? It’s all in place, because again, if we handle it wrongly it could affect others.”

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments