Eddie Jones – Building Sustainable Performance Excellence – Part Two

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After going through the Japan Way Eddie then went onto to detail the Five Components of Building a Championship Team but before that he underscored the Japan Way values of Pride, Respect and Courage and how important it was to live those values not just speak them.

Leadership

  • The ability to get the best out of the people around you
  • Ability to provide a strong cohesive vision that gives the staff direction to follow
  • Need to understand cultural differences

He then delineated the key skills of leadership

  • Observation skills – Important as a head coach/manager to step back and see the big picture. Not necessary to be involved in every drill. Allowed him to maintain objectivity
  • Ability to learn and adapt quickly
  • Ability to plan and implement the plan all the while recognizing that no plan is perfect hence the necessity of staying flexible
  • High work ethic
  • Passion for details

Management

  • Staff – Get the right staff. No yes-men. Must have difference opinions to create a strong staff.
  • Players – Looking for consistency. Good today, not yesterday!
  • Creating the right environment – Values = Behaviors
  • Know when to let staff go – When to cut the cord. He emphasized this is not easy but sometime necessary.

Knowing Your Strength

  • Know your key competitive edge and work constantly to improve it. He knew his team was smaller than everyone else but turned that to a positive by emphasizing a style of play that took advantage of their fitness, quickness and skill.
  • Know where the gaps are – do thorough and ongoing gap analysis of where are you versus where you need to be and act on closing those gaps immediately.
  • Know your opposition – Understand their psyche
  • Plan and prioritize base don your strength. Work on what you are good at. The strength will pull up the weaknesses.

Develop a Culture of Discipline

  • Rules – Very few, very clear and easy to be accountable for
  • Meeting – No longer than 15 minutes
  • Communication – Clear and concise
  • Evaluation – Clear criteria, no shades of grey
  • Selection – not easy but you do not always select best players but select the best team.

Create a Learning Environment

  • Learn from other sports – When I asked Eddie about the development pathway in Rugby he cited the Belgian women’s field hockey as a model of how they used their coaches in the development pipeline. That blew me away!
  • Learn from other coaches
  • Television – Watch interviews with coaches post match
  • Internet – this is obvious
  • Books – Read everything
  • Have courage of conviction – Always look for a better way than the way you are doing it and be willing to change.

Hopefully this captures what Eddie Jones and his system is about. I know many will read this and think so what we do that or there is nothing earthshaking here. Think again, this is just words on paper but to commit and do what Eddie, his staff did takes a 24/7 commitment, a commitment few are willing to give. It is that commitment that truly separates the good form the great.

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