Developing a winning culture: going for Gold at the Commonwealth Games
Many congratulations to the England Roses Netball Team on their first gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. It is a huge achievement; they did not lose a single match and beat the best teams in the world!
Last year (2017) I spend six months working with England Netball on a significant change programme that involved a restructure and relocation. This included redesigning roles in the context of limited funds, consulting staff at all levels and supporting managers to deliver the changes.
I learnt from this assignment about the challenges faced by an organisation whose purpose is to deliver elite sport. Funding is dependent on performance and that puts great pressure on a few people to excel. However, England Netball is also responsible for growing the sport at grass roots level so they invest in local clubs, walking netball for all ages and routes from school and county level through towards the national squad.
England Netball reviewed the organisational culture and developed a shared ambition for the future. Led by the coach and senior leaders, the Roses have embodied an amazing team culture which has involved:
• Challenging themselves to be the best they can be
• Leaving no stone unturned in their quest for excellence
• Looking at themselves individually and working out what they needed to do differently
• Understanding the team’s strengths and weaknesses so that they can play to their best
• Absorbing pressure as a means of succeeding
• Total clarity about the goal and intention of the team.
The Roses team has elevated the sport to a new level and this will have the knock-on effect of bringing attention to the national league, local teams and potential sponsorship partners. The lessons for organisations are all there. We need to transfer these principles to our own staff to build great teams with every chance of success, which will rub off on others across the organisation, potential incomers, funders and customers.