Quality data helped England to win the World Cup, how does that translate into doing better business?

7 minutes Mark Halstead

I was looking at a set of data today and started to think about the connection between data and sport, both of which I share a passion as I play semi professional rugby. I then recalled reading Clive Woodward’s book, “Winning”, which he laid down the blueprint used by England to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Here are 3 reasons why quality data helped England to win the World Cup and how it can help you to do better business.

You can see things clearly

Woodward talked about sharing an aerial view of the pitch in a game against France, and demonstrated that at some points, all the players of both teams had chased after the ball and ended up in a huge concentrated pile, leaving the rest of the pitch almost entirely clear.

This message can be related to data analysis for a business. When you are in the thick of things, it can be difficult to see alternative routes and find new lucrative markets. Having access to and viewing data objectively means that you can plan effectively and take advantage of opportunities your competition may not have seen; ie you can find the gaps in the market.

There’s no one to hide behind

Woodward introduced software that tracked each individual player, enabling him to break this down step by step, thereby identifying both mistakes and successes.

In a business world this can be translated into KPI’s with clear measures. Using data and technology to measure performance helps to keep things objective, makes it clear that individual contribution is valued and important, and increases motivation. Indeed, quality data will support and enhance the performance of your team.

Make the process fun and play it like a game

Woodward explained that most of his team were suspicious of incorporating data and technology into their training programme. However, once the benefits started to become real, their attitudes changed and they used it in a fun and competitive manner to continually improve their performance.

There are a number of examples of where major blue chip companies have seen improvements in their financial performance by incorporating training and performance tracking in a manner which translates into a friendly and competitive surrounding. This shouldn’t be confused with setting hard targets, it is more around using data to create a positive environment where the rules and reward structures make your staff feel that they control their own performance, and an environment where fun and success are achievable together.

If you would like to explore in more detail how you could create business intelligence from data and “do better business”, please contact me direct.

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richard west Mark Halstead Partner

Mark's experience is big data analytics, financial services and building businesses provides Red Flag Alert with strategic direction.