While the parallels between the England cricket team and the role of HR strategy within business might not be blatantly obvious (initially anyway), you might be surprised to discover how much can be learnt from the new leadership approach adopted by the boys in white.

Head coach Andy Flower and the team selectors have recently decided to follow a three-pronged leadership strategy to cover the three different forms of the game.

Andrew Strauss, will captain the test side (for matches that take five days), Alastair Cook will captain the one-day team (for matches which, rather obviously, take one day) and Stuart Broad will captain the 20-20 team (for matches that can be finished in a few hours).

This got me thinking. Flower has obviously identified different leadership characteristics in different captains in the same way that 360 feedback can help you to identify positive (and negative) traits in your employees. He’s made a major change in the team’s approach that others won’t follow, and there is every chance it could backfire. So far, the results have been mixed, but it’s early days.

Could this sort of dramatic leadership strategy work in business? Potentially, but you would need a fairly decent insight into the character and behaviours of individuals before making any moves. Flower has obviously judged his team dynamics and taken a calculated risk but would you be confident that you know enough about your staff to undertake such a major transformation successfully?

There are certainly many aspects of business and sport that overlap. Teamwork is obviously key to both areas, as is the importance of specifically skilled individuals.

But, just as having a world-class batsman that doesn’t show up to training could affect a cricket team, having a brilliant salesman that hits their targets but upsets other staff could be affecting your business.

Traditional corporate training probably wouldn’t identify this sort of issue in your business either. To discover it, businesses need to incorporate 360 feedback training which focuses on identifying cultural characteristics and personality traits instead.

The head coach of the England cricket team has also decided that he wants a leadership team in which he can develop ideas and strategies going forward. 

This approach can have its benefits but might also make other team members feel isolated and unappreciated. While strong leadership is key, businesses also need to take into account the views of all staff, as some employees might not be ready to air their views, 360 feedback allows employees to appraise both businesses and individuals in private.

Elva Ainsworth
Talent Innovations – the 360 Degree Appraisal