It was with great pleasure that I watched the Women's Boat Race this year. The annual battle between the 'Blue" boats has been quite rightly been improved by the addition of the women's race, which since 2015, now takes place on the same day as the men's Boat Race.
To quash any urban myth, the athletes in all these boats come from the oxford and Cambridge Colleges and are full-time students. They come from the widest possible backgrounds that you can imagine. This year's women's race event provided the most extraordinary example of decision making under pressure and made me think about the parallels faced every day by business professionals.
In simple terms the Oxford cox (the small "shouty'' one in the back) made some incredible calls, where she decided to take her boat out of the fastest water, which at the time was incredible rough, and found much calmer water in which her impressive Oxford women could power away from their Cambridge opposition who persevered with conventional thinking which literally almost sunk them!
It was the clear thinking of the cox to make a brave, but considered call, that the majority of spectators questioned at the time she made it. How well prepared are you and your teams to make such calls? The outcome was Oxford won by a huge margin and Cambridge became the classic British plucky losers.
I see in business the "Cambridge conventional approach" being deployed every day. My pet peeve is the ability to drive sales results based on activity and call rates to create leads. i.e. Instead of "hitting the phone" and just "driving activity" when do we decide to work truly smarter to improve our performance. When are we prepared to go into the "slower" but less "choppy waters" in order to find better progress. This equates to the investment in lead nurturing over the long period, or time spent developing actual competence on the calls rather than blindly focusing on activity in making more poor ones.
Curiously there is even more to this story when you peal back the layers. It turns out the Oxford cox had spent the entire week scoping out the course and creating alternate plans depending on the conditions. She also had a full understanding of how the pumps in the boats actually worked, having spent time with the fitters and researching how to optimise their performance. So what appeared to be a radical if not foolhardy decision was in fact a highly wellplanned execution of an alternate strategy. This was supported by a clear understanding of the very tools that would keep them afloat until they found safer water. It was the failure of the Cambridge leadership not prepare and practice how to keep their pumps in their boats working which compounded their lack of an available alternate strategy.
Which blue boat best reflects your business, if you want to discuss how to develop decision effect making under pressure then we would be happy to help.
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