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This Week’s Focus: A few years ago I heard Sir Clive Woodward speak about how he had led the England rugby team to world cup success. One of the qualities he looked for and developed in his players he called T-CUP, or Thinking Correctly Under Pressure.

Over the past seven days I’ve watched with interest how well different sports teams and politicians have performed in their own unforgiving crucibles. It’s clear that some people have more T-CUP qualities than others, but it’s also a skill you can develop.

Woodward held team meetings to run through specific scenarios with the team so that everyone knew what to do on the pitch in any situation. For example, they would role play what to do if they won the ball 30 yards from the try-line if they were 5 points down with 7 minutes to go, and then run through the same situation if they were 3 points ahead.

The England football team had no such game plan and, as a result, the players’ thinking was muddled in their defeat to Iceland. That’s why Harry Kane sent a 40-yard free kick several yards wide of the post in the last 10 minutes. Similarly, the Brexiteers had no game plan about what to do if they actually won the vote and, as a result, have simply imploded. Even more starkly, all the factions of the Labour Party seem to be making it up as they go along in an embarrassing display of non-leadership and indecisiveness.

On the other hand, Iceland had a clear game plan where all the players knew their role and what to do in any situation, and Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish Nationalist Party colleagues knew exactly what their response would be to any referendum result.

How are you using scenario thinking, decision-making techniques and other approaches to develop the T-CUP capabilities of your managers and teams so that they can make clearer, better and faster decisions even in the most demanding situations?

Off The Record: Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

So I went from day to day, though my life was in a rut

Till I thought of what I’d say, and which connection I should cut

I was feeling part of the scenery

I walked right out of the machinery

My heart going boom, boom, boom

Son, he said, grab your things I’ve come to take you home

© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved.