Is the war nearly over? Ashes Day 18

It looks like Ashes victory is in sight by the end of day 3 at Melbourne.

But how did England recover from their comprehensive defeat at the “WACA”? And what have been the ingredients of their success here?

My view is that sport mirrors life. Its lessons have direct parallels in business and the community.

Mike Atherton’s excellent summary of what went on last night could just as equally be applied to a successful company.

Highlights for me were:

  1. Great leadership;
  2. Great team work;
  3. Great individual performances

In that order.

Leadership is key to winning the task. England’s selectors have chosen their players masterfully. Australia’s players have had to try to pick up the pieces after their over-played masters of the past have gone; Messrs Warne and McGrath, for example.

Ponting, the Australia captain, has had vain hope piled upon him, for two years too long.

There is a side lesson in succession here: It makes sense to move on and let newer players learn the lessons of responsibility. In other words: become a great player (senior, manager, guitarist etc) but don’t linger, find your next level.

England’s players have mastered playing as a team. That can mean one guy getting the plaudits for, in this case wickets, such as Bresnan, but another (arguably stronger) guy Swann, grafting away at the other end, wearing down the resistance.

It’s exactly the same in business. No marketing? No sales. But who gets the plaudits when the sale comes in? Yes, it’s usually the saleswoman, and everyone forgets the marketing team who generated the lead.

Atherton draws out the subtleties too. For example he skillfully spots the glaring gaps in communication skills as the Aussie batsmen stride out to the crease 40 yards apart. Maybe it leads to a key wicket lost: Hughes was run out.

So too in business. I remember an important meeting with a prospective client. Half way through, another partner strides into the room, and we have to get him “up to speed”. The prospect looks aghast at our ineptitude and we wave goodbye to new business.

You would think that “open-plan” would improve communication. Not so. Try “send me an email”, the response I once received when I tried the novel idea of speaking to a partner sat 15 feet away!

Finally there have been some great individual performances to deliver the team to the brink of victory. Trott 168 not out. Tremlett 5 for. Bresnan 3 key wickets so far.

But great leadership, great team-work and good performances are all needed for success, particularly against opposition with this pedigree.

Ashes Series key posts 

About drstevelewis

Good leadership is essential for any project to succeed. I specialise in the most difficult leadership challenges; those involving the way we relate to other people or the way they relate to us. With a background of many years in business and an earlier training in medicine I combine the two in a unique consultancy.
This entry was posted in Ashes, Finding success in business, Leadership, Sport mirrors life, Success, Succession, Teamwork, Why we need other people and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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