Over the weekend I watched in awe as the RBS Six Nations climax unfolded on the BBC and RTE over the course of Saturday afternoon. One dramatic turn after another and at the end of a marathon session of rugby indulgence Ireland were quite rightly crowned the 2015 Six Nations Rugby Champions and my beloved Scotland were once again to receive that much coveted Wooden Spoon Award. I now have enough of those blasted Wooden Spoons to build a log cabin in my back garden!
Then to add insult to injury and just 24 hours after the slaughter at Murrayfield the Irish Women’s Rugby team humiliated their Scottish counterparts and ooh joy of joys I was to receive my second Wooden Spoon of the weekend courtesy of Irish Rugby. The second award was of course made all the more palatable by the fact that the Women’s Captain is of course Niamh Briggs from Waterford, my adopted home.
It really was a great weekend of sport when on Sunday the Waterford hurlers secured promotion back to the top division and the lift that this will give the City and County cannot be under estimated.
I have always said that our various sporting achievements, locally, regionally and national do reflect our mood and to a larger extent our outlook. If we regularly celebrate sporting success then we are more likely to have a positive outlook for our place of residence and we are also more likely to celebrate commercial business success as well. If we have been hard wired to celebrate on a regular or annual basis then we will be more akin to beating that “drum of positivity”.
We only have to look across the recently named Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge to see that Kilkenny City (Town) and County oozes positivity. This is in no small part due to the phenomenal recent success of the hurling team and it is this positive aura that permeates right down through every citizen of Kilkenny. No matter how business is actually operating, good or bad, the business people and businesses of Kilkenny will always give the impression that they are doing exceptional well. This constant positive outlook certainly brings it own success and own additionality to Kilkenny and the City (Town) is a tourist trap for a huge percentage of overseas visitors. And remember that it was only in the late seventies that Kilkenny really decided that it would become the “Medieval City of Ireland” and as such would draw hundreds of thousands of annual visitors from around the world to visit its Castle and bustling retail sector.
The success of Kilkenny as a destination has mirrored the sporting success of the County and the many smaller club hurling teams that annual compete in GAA fixtures. Their own sports stars are seen as the envy of many and they are elevated to superstar status, and boys and girls throughout this County want to be the very sport stars they see week in week out on the playing fields.
In business you need staff to fulfil roles and positions that best suit their individual talents and skill set. These must all be cohesively combined by the CEO, General Manager, etc into a “well oiled machine” with everyone knowing their place and function.
However, just how many staff members are communicated to effectively so that they know what is expected of them? How do they know if they are performing correctly? How do they know if they are contributing to the company’s profitability and therefore the company’s future stability? These questions are often left unanswered in many businesses.
Perhaps businesses that are clearly underperforming need to take a lesson from the likes of Schmidt and Cody. Both of these Managers are completely different people yet they both get the absolute maximum out of the players at their disposal. They evidently have two completely contrasting management styles yet both are achieving astonishing results on an regular basis.
What links the two men is their ability to communicate with those around them.
They both have an uncanny ability to get their message across, get their instruction out on to the field of play, get their game plan embedded into every player’s mindset and they always seem to have a plan B that can be turned on at the bark of an instruction. These two men are some of the very best communicators you will ever come across and there are many lessons to be learned from them.
Many businesses assume that their staff are fully aware of the function of the business, the role they play within that business and the contribution they make to that business. But the stark reality is that many businesses are very poor at internal communication. There is often no clear messaging route for staff members and there is more often than not no communication strategy for staff whatsoever. When a business is not communicating with its staff how can they expect that business to perform in the market place?
It therefore follows that if a business is not communicating properly with its own staff members then how can they be communicating correctly with their very own customers? Remember that every staff member is a band ambassador for their place of work and if they do not know what a company’s communication messaging is, then how can they be expected to interact on a one to one with a customer?
Many businesses spend literally thousands of Euros a year on PR and communicating strategies and yet forget to communicate these very messages with their own staff members. The result is a lost opportunity and more often than not confusion of messaging.
To get the very best out of our people we need to take a leaf out of the Schmidt and Cody book of management and put communication at the very top of our priority list when dealing with staff members.
A winning team requires clarity and communication of messaging and as Waterford looks to a more positive future we need to see a better communication of the positive messages from around our wonderful City and County.
Maybe I should ask Joe Schmidt if he would like to move to Edinburgh for a wee while, as the last thing I will require in 2016 is another bloody wooden spoon.