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Dare to Dream, learn from failure – A lesson from the Welsh Football Team

Anyone watching the exciting Quarter Final match in the European Cup tournament between Wales and Belgium on Friday will have witnessed a performance by a team who want to play together and play for each other. They have both ‘will’ and ‘skill’ – a clear aim, team structure, roles and a plan of attack for each opponent/game and a real sense of enjoyment.

At the end of the match, Chris Coleman was asked for his reflections on the match, the team performance and why the team are playing so well together.

His response was ‘work hard …., don’t be afraid to dream ……. or fail …….’ You learn more from mistakes than you do from success.

The sports coaching model of Plan > Do > Review is used systematically to critically assess each performance and identify actions for improvement, so that individuals and teams can work towards continuous performance improvement. We see this so many times in world class sports. Sports men and women embrace ‘failure’, learn from them and work to turn them into future success.

Similarly, in business, the Plan > Do > Check > Act model can be used to learn from experience, in a systematic manner, and develop plans to continuously improve.

Matthew Syed’s book ‘Black Box Thinking’ reflects upon how failures are systematically learned from industries such as aerospace in order to make the sector safer. He asserts that other sectors can learn from this ‘closed loop thinking’ approach. An example of this is in healthcare – earlier this year, the UK government announced the introduction of a new organisation designed to make the NHS in England safer – The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB).

So learning from mistakes based on a closed loop model can help drive continuous improvement.

The Welsh football team now face Portugal on Wednesday night in Lyon and hopefully, preparations are going well.

S A Partners is a Welsh company specialising in enterprise excellence consulting and training which promotes continuous improvement. Plan > Do > Check > Act is part of our DNA.

Along with the rest of this small country, we send our wholehearted congratulations to Chris Coleman and his team for their success this far and our very best wishes for the match on Wednesday. #TogetherStronger

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