Lessons of leadership; Eddie Jones
Updated: May 5
When England sett off for Japan at the beginning they had one overriding aim, to the best team in the world. On Saturday 2nd November they will face their final test and live their lifetime dreams in the hope of creating history and make a nation proud. England Head Coach Eddie Jones has created world news with his intense and stimulating comments since taking the role in 2015. Here are a few learnings from the 2019 World Cup….
“Practice is everything, its where you get better”:
Every session has been taken as an opportunity to fill a programming puzzle of knowledge and detail to continually move forward on the mission of becoming the worlds best. Even on non-contact days where players are restricted on their impact load (48 hours before and after a game), you will see the squad in the hotel back yard or carpark going through their ‘Walk-throughs’. Walk-throughs are about learning concepts of the game to get some learning into players before running through those at pace.
“Our environment is very much a learning environment":
Since taking over as Head Coach in 2015, Eddie has brought in and had coaching conversations with the likes of British Cycling, Judo but namely Gareth Southgate and Danny Kerry of hockey. These invitations of access to outsiders have given the England backroom staff a lot to think about; challenging the norm, understanding dynamics and training methods. Defence coach John Mitchell explained why “…we want to see what we are doing that can be improved and we like to learn off others and that's the great opportunity we have.” Danny Kerry described the experience as “they plugged me in and downloaded me.”
Mitchell says bringing in experts from outside is one of Eddie’s greatest strengths as a coach… "One of the great things I believe Eddie does in our environment is very much a learning environment,” Some have been critical about the access allowed but the openness to get better is arguably why we are seeing England in the World Cup Final.
“They’ve got an important role supporting the team”:
Throughout the eight-week campaign in Japan, the phrase ‘Team of 31’, has maybe been said more than any other. When a matchday squad of 23 is named, players 24 to 31 will not feature. A phrase that Eddie has stressed the importance of buying into. To recognise the way that his players have taken his message on board each player receives a numbered shirt, as a recognition of the value and hard work they have contributed to the squad.
“I didn’t drop him… I just changed his role”:
One response that caught the attention of the world was his reply to a journalist regarding George Fords removable from the starting 15 against Australia. Eddie candidly answered “I didn’t drop him... I just changed his role.” An illustration of belief, confidence and focus painted through the power of language. This is not the only example of Eddie's choice of language that focuses the mind differently. Where many coaches would announce their starting team and leave it there, Eddie named his ‘finishers’ to the playing group before announcing the ‘starters’ ahead of the ENG NZ clash.
Take 45 seconds to observe the clip below… What do you recognise?
In a situation where some may use this opportunity to push more tactical information into players, the words “Ready - Confident, Composed, Consistency” were quietly left on the whiteboard for players to read whilst Eddie stands to one side and says "I've never seen a team more ready than this.” What game was this I hear you ask? England Vs New Zealand.
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Eddie Jones in quotes:
“If you get it right, the chances of your team being successful are high. But in a team of human beings, nothing is guaranteed.”
“If you put learning and enjoyment together you get performance.”
“It’s a mindset, it’s the attitude of the players, the messaging the staff gives the players and the messaging the leadership gives the players.”
"I think I said when I first took over the job – my job’s to become redundant. And I’m almost redundant now. The team’s running the team, which is how it should be"
“I think you always work back from our goal. What’s your goal? Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there? I don’t have great visualisation powers, but I know where we want to go and I know how we have to do it"
"...every day is about working out how you can make the dynamics better"