In its simplest term, rugby is a game of passing a ball, down a line trying to avoid contact to score points. But how does that relate to delivery of services on a day to day basis?

Well, the one thing that becomes clear when you try to pass a ball down a line of people, running in different directions, at different speeds all with their own ideas of what will work best, then you’ll begin to see some of the challenges that this can pose.

In order to get the ball all, the way down the line as quickly as possible, without dropping it, kicking it, missing a man out or generally causing a problem, there has to be a clear understanding between everyone on a few key points.

The first is outcome, is everyone clear on what you are trying to do? If one person gets the balls and tries to run through everyone its not going to work – everyone must be on the same page.

Next you would ask if everyone is clear on who is doing what, does everyone understand what the person on their left and right is doing? When delivering a service its key that everyone understands not only a holistic view of the overall goal but understands much better what is happening either side of them.

This means that in the context of our rugby analogy, they know what type of ball they’re being passed, what time, how and how fast they need to be running to catch it. Or in a Service Delivery context, what information, by who, how and when. Once this is understood they have a much better chance of actually catching the ball.

They then need to understand what their role is, how far do they run before passing, who are they passing to and when? Once they’re clear on their own scope, they can be successful. And they have a much better change of delivering a good pass to the player next to them.

If there is a player in the line who isn’t clear on the overall goal, or the way in which the ball is getting down the line, the most dangerous thing they can do is just run and hope, communication is key, this is both in the form of clear plans and agreed scope, as well as players who are un-sure asking questions. I do and always will firmly believe that asking questions is the best way to learn!

So, what is the overall take away from this?

Overall, it’s probably that I need to develop my understanding of rugby more before writing blogs on it.

But in the context of delivery, the key points are below –

  • Have a clear, and well communicated outcome
  • Develop a good understanding of skills sets within a team
  • Work holistically – don’t forget what the overall goal is
  • Understand how your work impacts other team members and groups of the organisation
  • If you don’t know, ask

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