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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Setting the Stage

When the curtain opens it's time for the performers to perform. All the preparation that is done prior to the curtain opening is the time for the leaders to perform.

The leaders set the stage so that the performers can perform at their best. If the stage is not set properly, the performance will not be the best. Whether it's Rugby or Business, the leaders set the stage.

Jeremy Guscott has a question and answer column on the BBC's Rugby website where he answers reader's questions about professional rugby, particularly the home nations (England, Scotland, Wales, & Ireland) and international test rugby. Recently a reader asked about the erratic performance by Wales and whether it was a reflection of the coaching or of the player's mental state. In one short paragraph (5 sentences), Mr. Guscott gets to the heart of the issue of both rugby and business. Since I can't say it any better, here's what he says:

"Coaches put in place an environment for players to perform. Preparation is meticulously
considered and calculated, strategies worked out and training geared for the match ahead. The players have everything they need and then they have to perform. If players don't or can't step up they have to be dropped, and others who can brought in. I feel coaches can only be blamed for poor selection or not creating the best possible working environment."

I've heard this message before. At a business presentation by former college football coach Dick Tomey, Mr. Tomey made the following statement: "To achieve Excellence you have to create the right environment."

Lest you think this thought only comes from the world of sports, I've heard the same theme expressed numerous times in the interviews I've been conducting for my forthcoming book, "Deliver on Your Promises". The leaders set the stage. The set the tone of the organization, they create the environment, set the standards, and hire and put in place the guidelines for hiring the right people. They give everyone the tools they need to meet the expectations they are given.

Then they get out of the way and let the performers perform.

If you're not creating the right environment, what can you do to create it?
If you're not hiring the right people, how can you hire them?
If you're not setting goals and expectations, how can you develop a system to do that?

It's up to you as the leader to put in place the environment so that your performers can perform.

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