Tuesday 20 October 2015

England Rugby and the reality of failure

As most of you will probably already know, either from reading my posts or knowing me personally, I am a huge rugby fan. Therefore, it goes without saying that the last couple of weeks have been incredibly tough to digest. Feedback of this magnitude for any England team is embarrassing, but to lose at Twickenham twice as a team that many touted as potential winners of the competition, is a hard pill to swallow. (For those of you unaware, England bowed out of a home World Cup in the group rounds, the first host nation ever not to reach the quarter finals.)

Even when a long term plan is established, with intimate detail applied to the strategy of achieving the long term goal, no matter how much achieving that target means to you, your team or your company, sometimes your best just isn’t good enough. It’s the harsh reality of life, sport and business, which unfortunately we must all accept as part of what we do, and do our best to learn from the experience so that it does not rear its’ ugly head again. In this instance, the RFU will have time following the competition to absorb the consequences of this result, and make rational decisions about the best way to move forward.

With this being said, the reality is that there is a strong likelihood that members of the squad and the coaching staff will be dropped. When a result as drastic as this occurs, sometimes the only option is to overhaul the staff and start afresh, with a new long term plan in mind. My prediction is that Ian Ritchie (Chief Executive of the RFU) will not act so strongly. There will be changes and certainly some will lose their jobs as a consequence, but on the whole I am of the opinion that the team we see in four years time at the next World Cup will not be a million miles from what we have seen at this one. This is because despite a clear need for improvement, a team needs consistency and familiarity. Ritchie will be aware of this, and will make the necessary changes while causing minimum disruption.

If a company fails to achieve growth from one year to the next, perhaps they even regress in some way, tough decisions have to be made. But the time to make these decisions is not in the immediate aftermath. Don’t be tempted to pull the trigger and act irrationally, allow the dust to settle and assess with a clear mind the good and the bad, undisturbed by emotion, as Ian Ritchie should do.