This week’s focus: One of the biggest things I’ve learned as a football coach is the importance of transitions. These are the points when one team wins possession of the ball from the other.


For the team who has just lost the ball, this is a dangerous moment. It’s more than likely that their defence is not fully organized and, as a result, is susceptible to a rapid counter-attack from the other side. But that only happens if the team that has won the ball recognizes and reacts to the opportunity.


Many goals from open play result from such transitions. Consequently, I work with my teams to help them be more fully aware of these situations, make faster decisions than their opponents and have collective plans of action for the point when they both win and lose possession.


Similarly, Charles Darwin said that the species that survives is not the one that is the strongest or fastest or most intelligent, but the one that best and most quickly adapts to changes in its environment.


You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Quite simply, the ability of your business to thrive sustainably is not simply a factor of its current strengths, assets and capabilities – or even its ability to defend these assets – but in its ability to rapidly and profitably adapt to new situations.


In the UK, for instance, 15 years ago Whitbread’s management recognized that changes in the brewing industry meant that only the biggest players would thrive. As a result, they sold their brewing operations and brands and, instead, focused on growing and developing hospitality brands including David Lloyd Leisure, Premier Inn and Costa.


What efforts are you making to improving your company’s ability to adapt to changes in your markets? And what ‘transitions’ currently exist that you can exploit and turn into new scoring opportunities?


Off The Record: The Times They Are A-Changing by Bob Dylan


If your time to you

Is worth saving,

Then you better start swimming

Or you’ll sink like a stone,

For the times they are a-changing!


© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.