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Relentless learning is the key to a winning culture

Written by Sir Clive Woodward on Thursday, 02 September 2021. Posted in Leadership, People

Sir Clive Woodward highlights the importance of learning and collaboration in high-performing teams.

Relentless learning is the key to a winning culture

Sir Clive Woodward highlights the importance of learning and collaboration in high-performing teams.

Are you a sponge, or a rock? Neither, you might be thinking, but this is the analogy I use to describe people’s ability to absorb new information. It describes whether an individual has a fixed, or a growth mindset. A growth mindset describes an individual with a passion for learning, who’s open to new ideas and excited by capturing information and knowledge from everyone within their team. This is what I believe is crucial to creating a winning culture, something that with the correct training, can be fostered within any workplace environment. 

I recently spoke about developing a winning culture within a business at the 3rd Horizon Event Series, by the Executive Development Network (EDN). I strongly believe that while talent is obviously important for any team, talented people alone are not enough to create a winning culture. From my experience working with the England Rugby team and the Team GB athletes at London 2012, everyone I worked with was talented – but it didn’t make everyone a Champion. 

Talent should be seen as the starting position of a team, not the finishing position, and this is true for both sport and business. The skills I use when I’m coaching sports people, are no different to those I apply within my business organisations – in both settings, you are delivering results through people. 

Creating a winning culture is all about the ‘teachability’ of your team. This means the ability to listen to ideas; take on knowledge; engage with the wider team; and have a genuine passion for what they do. I’ve developed a system for enabling this called 3D Learning, which is broken down into three simple steps: Discover, Distil, and Do. 

‘Discover’ is all about collating information – gathering insights on everything you do from your entire team and chunking this into ‘chapters’, or broad themes. Then you ‘Distil’ this into key points, or a checklist of the most important elements of your work or your team – in sport these are the things that make the boat go faster. Then the third point is to ‘Do’. This is about how you leverage the key points so that you can do them better than your competition. The key is deliberate practice. In rugby, one of the things that we focused on was drop goals as this enabled us to “build the score” which was one of our key metrics. Understand what your organisation’s drop goal is and focus on it. If you engage in these three steps with your teams, this is the process of relentless learning.

Sometimes the people within your organisation who have turned into rocks, rather than a sponges, are the ones who have been there the longest. It’s easy to drift into a fixed mindset where learning and training no longer feel as relevant, but it is crucial to remain focused on growth, learning and development in order to create a winning culture within your team.

About the Author

Sir Clive Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward is a former England International and British & Irish Lion, the Rugby World Cup winning Head Coach who led England to victory in 2003, and Team GB’s Director of Sport for the Beijing, Vancouver and London Olympics. He is currently the Founder and Chairman of Hive Learning, Director of Sport for the APEX2100 International Ski Academy, and a renowned speaker and business consultant.

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