High Performance Moves – Lessons from Sport

The London Wasps beat the Leicester Tigers against all supposed odds in the Heineken Cup in May this year. As I’m not a big rugby follower, this fact passed me by until I went to a recent presentation by the Wasps about how they train, develop and prepare top performers. Business leaders could learn a lot…

The Wasps’ approach starts with relentless focus on high quality, immediate feedback.  Within 24 hours every game is segmented minute by minute on video to allow each player to see exactly the minutes and seconds of the game they were involved in. Your individual performance against your KPIs for the game is reviewed with the appropriate coach and your personal improvement/practice plan for the week ahead agreed. Each person is given just 3-4 things to focus on – keeping its simple.

How could your business or personal performance improve if your review conversations had these elements of immediacy, relevance and regularity?

Another striking thing was the players’ attitude to feedback – they were hungry for it. For them it was the route to getting to and staying a top performer. The Wasps try to build this attitude throughout their organisation. Top class performers such as Lawrence Dallaglio go through virtually the same performance monitoring and enhancement process as the younger players coming up through the training academy.  Senior players are encouraged to give and receive feedback to/from juniors when they train together – which they do regularly.

So how did they beat the Leicester Tigers? By using the same detailed analysis of the performance and style of each of Leicester’s players. In this way they highlighted to their players the key weaknesses of the opposition – at individual and team level. Then they practiced moves that exploited these weaknesses. When it came to the big day or “the moments of truth” the underdogs were ready, had a clear game plan and confidence in their success.

How much more effective could your team be if they were this well prepared and how can you help them?

To contact Rosie Miller, please email her at