When the England cricket team tamely exited the World Cup last week at the earliest possible stage, it was widely reviewed as their worst ever performance at the event since it began in 19751. Expectations may not have been sky high before the World Cup began, but the way the tournament was designed, there was a clear path for the world’s top 8 teams (England included), to ease into the quarter finals. They didn’t even manage to get that far.
Many pundits and fans have been quick to point to a number of factors. These include the proficiency of Coach Peter Moores; an over-reliance on data driven performance; ‘safe’ selection policies; and poor planning to name a few. In my opinion, these factors act as red herrings which mask the root cause of their poor performance. This root cause is something that organisations should also be considering when they’re thinking about the future of their business.
So what went wrong?
Put simply, the game of one-day cricket has moved on and England have been left way behind. They failed to spot vital warning signs that the one-day game was changing and now find themselves years behind their rivals’. Compared to their own previous standards, England’s performance hasn’t declined, it’s more that everyone else is playing a different game. This has left England looking slow, inflexible and old-fashioned.
What were the signs that England missed?
The outcomes achieved by teams such as New Zealand, Australia, India and South Africa haven’t happened over night – they are the result of 5 years of experimentation and innovation which have stretched what is possible in the game. This has been driven by the massive financial reward going to those who can become a global success at Twenty20 cricket. Rather than embrace this change and use it to drive innovation and development of their players, as most other top nations have, the ECB have actively restricted England players’ part in it.
All the signs that a change was in progress were there, England just didn’t spot them or and adapt. They didn’t necessarily play bad cricket - they were just too busy trying to get the most value out of their existing methods of playing one day cricket to notice things had changed.
What this means for you
Just as one-day cricket changed, the world of work is changing too. It’s changing fast and the signs are clear to spot if you are looking for them. This may mean that the way you currently do things may not be the best way to do things in the future. These include:
- The rate of technological change - new ways of working are constantly emerging. These include: big data; the cloud; automation; video; and collaboration platforms. If you’re not questioning what these mean for you and taking advantage of them, someone else will be.
- Increased mobility and flexibility - where you are located is starting to matter less and less as people, information and companies can more easily be connected anywhere, anytime. Are you using this to your advantage to become more efficient and empower your employees or are you losing out on top talent to rivals who are more flexible?
- The importance of attracting the right talent – new generations of employees are flooding into the workplace who come with new expectations for what they want from their career. People are what makes organisations and attracting and retaining the best of this bunch is going to be key to success. Are you creating an environment where people want to work, rather than being there because they need to be?
These aren’t the only drivers of change in the business world. Other factors including complexity, globalisation and new operational models also impact greatly on what performance will look like the future.
Learn from the England cricket team by not wasting time making your current method as productive as possible while those around you heed the warning signs and change the game completely. The drivers of change for the future of work impact on every business. Just as England found out the hard way, ‘late to adapt’ can mean ‘left behind’. How are you planning for the future of work?