Winners & How They Succeed - Notes

Part 1

Campbell describes as a holy trinity for success; Strategy, leadership and teamship

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ Benjamin Franklin

OST – Objective, strategy & tactics on AC’s desk and inside every notebook since ‘94


No clear objective = no definition of what winning / success will look like

It’s not strategy until its written down – ‘think in ink as Marilyn Monroe said in one of her poems’

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.’ Joan Didion

Vision has to be communicated constantly repeat repeat repeat, its always new to someone

Don’t mix strategies or over complicate, seek simplicity. Eg Rene McPherson when he took over at the Dana Holding Corporation threw out 22 1\2 ” of policy manuals and replaced them with a 1 page policy statement.

Strategy and tactics meaningless unless drive and discipline exists to enact them. New labour had a ‘grid system’ 1 page 1 vertical column per day on which weeks planned activities laid out. (Military synch matrix)

Used principle ‘Maximum openness for max trust’

Strategy is the place to have arguments, not avoid them. Strategy is a team game. Strategy is about action, not theory. The best strategies are consistent but have flexibility to adapt.’ AC


Discipline – defined by Jim Collins as consistency of action – independence of mind to reject pressure to conform with anything incompatible with values, performance standards and long term aspirations.


Distinguishes teamship from team-building the former being the glue that hold the team together.

Team building combines differentiation which allocates people and resources to tasks in order to achieve goals & integration which is coordination of effort and tasks to achieve unity of effort

Teamship is about shared motivation for the common goal – OST gives clarity to this

3 types of player in a team (example from England Rugby), leaders, warriors and talent. Leaders set direction, warriors make the trains run on time talent makes the difference. Different people different strengths

Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress; working together is success’. Henry Ford

Ben Ainslie, world’s most decorated Olympic sailor who turned around the an America’s cup deficit of 8-1 to win 9-8 stresses the right mix of personalities in a team. You need more than 1 leader in a team but they cant all be leaders. (Leadership not leader)

David Brailsford ‘main job of the coach is compliance’ Have to get team members on board if they only do 80% of what’s needed it wont work.

When talent has to walk – when ego and individual comes before team. Classic example when Pres Trueman fires McArthur during the Korean War – ‘I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President’

Metro Bank CEO Craig Donaldson operates a FIFO policy fit in or fuck off

Energy givers or takers – oft quotes fondness of sports coaches for the military approach particularly SF.

Only the person who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat’ sign at Burnly FC

Brailsford, ‘I want a culture that is hungry and ambitious, doesn’t see barriers, constantly creating, but organised and disciplined, otherwise change can spiral out of control.’

Arsene Wenger hardest part of recruiting is knowing what intrinsically motivates a player. ‘does he have a willingness to learn, a hunger to improve?’

Mindset – section on mental attitude

Mental skills coach Andy McCann Lions psych ‘Those who get to the top have two mindsets. A go to mindset, which is where your central motivation is the desire to win. And a move from mindset where your big driver is fear of failure.’ Also talks about power of visualization brain cant really distinguish between a real and a visualized experience.

Stretch our of comfort zone.

The interesting thing about coaching is that you have to trouble the comfortable and comfort the troubled’. Ric Charlesworth

Woodward T-Cup think correctly under pressure

Brialsford hiring Steve peters his single greatest act of innovation

Part 3 qualities that make a difference

Boldness – Branson, new labour etc

Innovation – success is born out of a fascination for the process.

New opportunities

Fixing problems – eg 20:20 cricket brainchild of Stuart Robinson because county cricket format not working

Exploiting problems of others – disruptive new businesses eg Metro bank, Uber, Air B&B

Change as a constant. 100 things 1% better

Telephone took 75 yrs to reach 50m users. Radio 38 yrs, TV 13 yrs, Web, 4yrs. It took the angry birds space app 35 days.

Marginal gains, no good innovating around the edges if the the heart of the operation is failing.’ Brailsford

Using data to drive innovation and decision-making

Crisis management. Turning threat into opportunity,

Resilience ‘The winner is the loser who evaluates himself correctly’. Com O’Connell

The chains of habit are to be light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken’ Samuel Johnson – find the habits you admire in others and make them your own

10 Lessons:

  • Use your background
  • If you have talent use it
  • Love doing what you do
  • Have role models
  • Have a good team around you
  • Always maintain discipline
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Always prepare properly
  • Always focus on the next win not the last one
  • See the broader significance of winning