Wednesday, 9 July 2014


Sir Clive Woodward on KM


Sir Clive Woodward, the legendary sports coach (London Olympics, Rugby World Cup), says this about Knowledge Management - "I believe it is those athletes and coaches who truly understand the importance of capturing and sharing knowledge that have really excelled".  


 The above is an extract from a guest column Sir Clive wrote last year for the CBI which contains much of his philosophy of the importance of managing knowledge, in business and in sport.

I reproduce most of the key points from his column below, because it is so simply and elegantly explained (my italics and emphasis)

"When asked why I think we have achieved this success (of the London 2012 Olympics), there is one element that stands out, and that is knowledge. I believe it is those athletes and coaches who truly understand the importance of capturing and sharing knowledge that have really excelled.  
"This is based on my understanding that the first step in developing talent relies on that individual’s ability to learn. On top of all the physical ability and technical skill, I look for what I, in my coaching vernacular, call “teachability”. I consider athletes as either “rocks” or “sponges” and, to put it simply, you want athletes with a sponge between their ears. It is those athletes who have the ability to absorb knowledge, and who I believe can go beyond being merely talented.  
"Without realising it at the time, within the World Cup-winning England rugby team (of 2003) we were very effective at capturing and sharing knowledge .... together we formulated a process by which we were able to collate our knowledge and share it with the players. ..... We also made it the players’ responsibility to do the same 
"As England coach I broke the game of rugby down into seven key areas and collated my knowledge within each of them. I would then identify what I thought were my “winning moves” and shared everything with my coaching team and players, and they did likewise.   
"When I work with athletes and coaches today I encourage them to do the same thing, except now I ask them to imagine they are writing a book (a knowledge asset), breaking their sport down into chapters and capturing as much knowledge as possible under each heading.  
"I have been lucky enough to work across all 26 Olympic sports with coaches from around the world. What I have found without exception is that the best coaches, athletes and teams dedicate time and resources to formalising a process to capture and share their knowledge. It is by no means an easy thing to do but, when you crack it, your understanding of a given subject collectively goes through the roof. Crucially, the athlete begins to understand why they are doing things, as opposed to simply being told what to do, as traditional coaching would dictate".
From sport, to business. If we want to become winners, we need to follow Sir Clive's advice, and "dedicate time and resources to formalising a process to capture and share their knowledge".

That formal process is what we call Knowledge Management.

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