Last year we wrote about how Eddie Jones had turned the England rugby team from a team who lasted just 16 days at the World Cup to a team who won a series against Australia in Australia just 9 months after taking over, for the first time ever.

Since then Eddie Jones has made England unbeatable. They have now won their last 13 matches including the Grand Slam at the Six Nations in 2016.

Which is impressive when you consider that he has exactly the same players as the last manager. Same talent, same expertise, same bodies, same minds.

And remember – he doesn’t get to work with his players every day. He has to pick them up and make them winners in a really short period of time before they play.

The recipe for success for Eddie Jones is incredibly simple, (although number 15 surprised even us).

And yet one thing is clear, Eddie Jones has incredibly high standards and will not settle for second best. The odd mistake, yes, complacency, never.

Why are we sharing this approach with business leaders? Because these points are a must do for anyone who wants to have a team that can deliver the win.

1. He is clear about his vision
Which is to be the number one rugby side in the world and every action he takes is designed to make this happen.

2. He asks his players for attitude
His captain Dylan Hartley was considered a risky choice as he can be hot headed, but personifies everything else Eddie Jones asks for – steeliness, people person, hardworking, committed, good EI.

3. They go out to win every single game
Their mindset is that they will bring home the victory every time.

4. He gives the players crystal clear instructions about what they have to deliver
So they know exactly what is expected.

5. He has harsh words with his players
If they aren’t fit enough or playing well enough he tells them and then if they don’t improve he drops them, everyone knows what is expected and where they stand.

6. He expects 100% commitment to the cause
He only chooses players who are desperate to play for England and who are desperate to win.

7. He makes tough decisions quickly
If he has brought a player in who isn’t cutting it he gets them out fast – less pain for them and him.

8. England do more than the competition every single time
He asks his players to be disciplined and to control every single element of the game, no weak links.

9. He knows what he wants
He aspires to play the perfect game of rugby and more importantly he consistently communicates that that is what he expects.

10. He admits that he makes mistakes
He allows himself a 10% bad decision rate and admits he’s brought in players who weren’t ready, he admits leadership is a little bit of guesswork and gut feel.

11. He has agreed the criteria a player must meet to play for England
This makes selection easier as he and more importantly the players know exactly what he wants.

12. He understands the power of the team over a group of individuals
The players have got to be able to work in a team, although he admits there can be one or two who are aside from the team, but never more than this. He expects the players to ‘bust’ themselves for the team and if they don’t he expects other players to step in and help deal with that.

13. He wants the team to be better tomorrow than it is today
He makes incremental improvements consistently even when the team are winning.

14. He expects players to over perform
Over performance for Eddie Jones comes from talking about the evil of complacency and explaining what it takes to over perform – not on occasion but every single day.

15. He sees his most important job as selection
Incredibly he spends 60% of his time getting his selection right because he realizes that having the right people on the pitch and in the right position is the foundation for everything else.
Question for leaders: Which of these do you do? And which ones do you need to start doing to win?


Sarah McDowell is Head of Chairman Development as well as chairing her own North West based Academy group.
Rob Brown, Speaker, had this to say about her: “When it comes to leadership, Sarah is a rare breed of teacher and practitioner. As well as being a world class mentor in leadership development, she successfully leads leaders and would be leaders in her peer group sessions. The Academy for Chief Executives is a phenomenal platform for professional development, and her passion and insight into leadership is driving both her individual clients and the organisation a whole into new realms of effectiveness and growth.”


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