5 Things I Learned from Sir Clive Woodward about ‘Know How’

Sir Clive Woodward & Mary Collin

Last week I had an amazing time – some time invested in reading Sir Clive’s book ‘Winning!’ which was given to me by one of our team, Christina Jackson.  Some additional time with the man himself at a Masterclass organized by Nigel Botterill & Entrepreneurs Circle.


Here are 5 things I learned – they are easy to take action on and implement:


  1. Know How – what is it?
    Know is the knowledge of the factors which drive performance (in your business); How is about how you apply that knowledge. This resonates with me as I know many people who ‘know’ a great deal but implement very little.  I’m obsessed with seeing how I can apply new learnings or deeper understandings of what I already know to ‘tweak’ for better results.

    He said his first question to people he coaches is:  ‘What’s your training programme for the next 12 months?’.   Great question.  Worth thinking about how you’d answer it.  It’s also worth considering how clear we are on our own business know how.

  2. Are you a Rock or a Sponge?
    Sir Clive described himself as a ‘professional sponge’ and gave great examples of rocks and sponges. I also noticed he took heaps of notes when he wasn’t speaking.  I bet he’ll be implementing some things he heard that day too!   I know I am.

    Sponges have a thirst for new knowledge and understanding.  Passion drives people to learn, grow and practice.  Small improvements can, and do, make a big difference.  Rocks, on the other hand, become harder, less porous and less open to learning and implementing improvements.  They may test and measure but they probably don’t make the necessary adjustments.  Sir Clive’s view is that ‘only sponges become High Performing Teams’.  That makes sense.

  3. Focus on the Real Key Areas
    This is about identifying the 3-4 key things in each of the key areas of what you do that, done well, will smooth your path to success. He explained that the Rugby World Cup-winning England Team focused on 7 things.  It was the key things within each of those 7 areas that done well, consistently, would lead to success.  That gave me a whole new level of understanding of mastering the core basics.

    Imagine if we all focussed on our ‘business basics’ this much?  And got really good at them?  Game changing.  And fun!

  4. Collaboration is powerful
    Yes, we know this and it was reinforced by those 7 key things – the England Team had 7 posters of them up in the team room. That was their focus and they collected everything they could about those 7 areas.

    When everyone pitched in their knowledge, experience, challenges, successes, the sharing and collaboration led to far greater levels of understanding.  Everyone was listened to, in a safe environment.  Everyone’s contribution was valued.

  5. ‘Whoever Wins in IT, tends to Win”
    That’s a direct quote from Sir Clive and he gave some meaningful and inspiring examples of how this works in real life – in business as well as in his time as Head Coach of England Rugby and Director of TEAM GB for the Olympics.

    This was a big one for me as it boiled down to ‘opinions –v- data’.  People can have opinions about their performance and results but the hard facts remove all the mystique.  The data gives you the facts, enabling you to make better decisions.  Data, KPIs and such like give you the ability to analyse your performance and make changes.   Data puts the reins firmly back in our hands.   What would you change if you had good data instead of opinions?


Sir Clive talked through 4 different sections:

1 – Know How

2 – Pressure

3 – Teamship

4 – Attitude


His content was world class, inspiring, delivered with humour and style and he clearly has a real passion for helping people build High Performing Teams.  He was friendly and helpful too and made time to speak to everyone who wanted to speak with him.  A gentleman, a visionary and a leader.


It’s been valuable for me to review just the first sub-set of my notes, pull out some key actions to implement in our own 3degrees Social team and I hope they’re useful for you.


Although if they’re not then I’d suggest re-reading point 1 . . . if you’re not a rock you may well be stuck under one! ;-)


I’ll be sharing my top 5 learnings in each of the other areas in upcoming blogs.  It will be great for me to review my learnings, check out what I’m implementing and share with you.


Let me know if this prompts you to take action, and what.




Mini bio:  Mary lives and works with her partner, Andy Gwynn, in the Midlands (UK).  They are passionate about helping businesses grow.  They are focussed on building a Franchised team of coaches and trainers – specialising in Linkedin – to help businesses maximise the potential of this powerful platform.  They support their team in building great businesses so that their team can support business owners and leaders throughout the UK and overseas.  Find out more at www.3degeessocial.co.uk


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