Wales v Australia – Five things we learnt

first_imgRearguard action: The Wallabies produced one of the great defensive performancesThe countless defensive sets demonstrated an incredibly well-organised defensive line which remained ‘connected’ even with two players or essentially six to eight metres of defensive width sitting in the bin. It was a remarkable statement from the Wallabies and one which continues to rebrand their position in test rugby. The Wallabies are no longer merely a dazzling backline with a lightweight pack and defensive fragilities, they’re the real deal. The Wallabies could win the whole damn thing. Epic battle: Wales and Australia contested a titanic encounter at Twickenham Over and out: Liam Williams added to Wales’ dire injury woesWales faced Australia with a backline which contained more awkward positional changes than even the most psychotic of yoga teachers could devise. Wales have been forced into selecting players who are uncomfortably out of position or, in some cases, desperately out of form. They are now finishing games like a local rugby club’s 2nd XV with three outside halves on the field and a scrum half on the wing. Some took to social media in the wake of the Wallabies defeat to demand more from the Welsh team and for supporters to stop making excuses for the squad when they fail. But that is very difficult to do when the Welsh team are still managing to perform despite their misfortune. This Welsh backline is enduring one of the cruellest runs of injury ever seen at a Rugby World Cup and for that they deserve some praise, not persecution.Charteris improves WalesLuke Charteris is becoming the WD40 of Welsh rugby – when he’s playing things creak less. Against Australia certain aspects of the Welsh game visibly improved through the inclusion of Charteris. His ability to wrap the Australian maul with his giant arms was massively effective and regularly forced the Wallabies to change their point of contact, when against other teams David Pocock would just sit at the back of the bus until it reaches its destination.Top man: Luke Charteris has emerged as a key player for WalesCharteris also had a huge impact on the Welsh lineout which had a completion of 89% – eight from nine. His inclusion against South Africa is a must. The likely combination of Eben Etzebeth and the massively impressive Lood de Jager mean that Wales must have a competitive lineout – as it is unlikely that they will have a competitive scrum.Military defence from the WallabiesThis is supposed to be an article about Wales, but the Wallabies’ defence during the period when they had just 13 men on the field was one of the finest, if not the finest, ten minutes of defensive organisation in the history of the Rugby World Cup. At times it didn’t even look like we were watching sport, it looked like ITV had switched the feed to a military documentary. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALScenter_img Wales lost 15-6 to Australia in a tightly fought contest but despite struggling to break the Wallabies down, there were positives to take… It is possible to play well, and loseRugby is a notoriously complicated game. Yet with laws that sometimes require the use of IBM’s ‘Deep Blue’ computer to decode them, often, the outcomes of games are over simplified. Put simply if you won you played well, if you lost you played badly. But this isn’t always the case and is exactly what occurred when Wales were beaten 15-6 by Australia. Yes, Wales lost but despite the immediate post-match gloom it doesn’t mean they played badly and doesn’t mean they can’t beat South Africa. Wales dominated the bulk of the key performance indicators with 60% of the possession and 63% of the territory. They forced Australia in to making 123 tackles compared to Wales’ 69. Wales crossed Australia’s try line three times – admittedly where they failed to ground effectively. With Luke Charteris back in the starting XV, Wales managed to stem Australia’s highly impressive maul.Work hard: Wales made the Wallabies work extra hard at the tackleThe Welsh backrow competed effectively with arguably the best backrow in the tournament – and punished high carrying Australian body angles with as an effective demonstration of ‘choke tackling’ as you’ll see. The Welsh backs managed to shut down the Wallaby backline, keeping their carrying beneath a combined total of 180 metres – Israel Folau usually carries 130m, solo. There were of course a few downsides which can’t be ignored. The 15 minute period where Wales failed to score a single point against the 13-man Wallabies will have vexed Warren Gatland. Some may argue that Wales should have kicked their three pointers instead of opting for scrums and lineouts – but a two-man advantage is an evil temptress. Plus the Welsh scrum, after Saturday, has been reclassified from an Achilles Heel to an ‘Achilles Limb’. But whilst Wales may have lost, and there are enduring areas of concern, they were mightily competitive and the South African game will be no different.Wales need a new plan at the scrumThe Welsh scrum struggled hugely against the Wallabies, as it has done at every stage during this tournament. It had the appearance of a failed entry on the Great British Bake off – it looked okay when it came out of the oven, but after a couple of bites it collapsed into a mess. Admittedly, the Wallabies’ scrum is arguably the best in the competition and illustrates the almost Gandalf-like wizardry of Mario Ledesma, but this isn’t the first game in which the Welsh scrum has inhibited Wales’s game plan. And with all of the prop and hooker combinations tried, it may be that Wales simply have to scrummage with speed as the objective, not power.Learning zone: Wales’ scrum has been steadily improving all tournamentThere were numerous instances of Wales ‘locking out’ against the Wallabies, only for the secondary shove to make mess of the ball, or on some occasions leave it stranded in the middle of the scrum. It is testament to the amazing skillset of Talaupe Faletau that the Welsh scrum hasn’t been more costly for Wales. The quality of possession dribbling out from the Welsh scrum would make many number eights look like a drunk trying to pick up a kebab from the floor. Wales need a new plan to face South Africa, if the possession from the scrum can’t be solid, then it must be fast.Wales can legitimately start blaming injuries. Using injuries as an excuse is derided in rugby circles. But Wales have moved into the territory where it can be fully justified. This time the unfortunate individual is Liam Williams, who adds to a backline injury-list which already includes Rhys Webb, Scott Williams, Cory Allen, Jonathan Davies, Hallam Amos, Eli Walker, Leigh Halfpenny, and the impact on the squad will be huge. Williams is a versatile player and a key component in the Welsh backline – his defence, running angles, offloads and aerial work will be missed. William’s injury occurred relatively late in the game and as such can’t be blamed for the result against the Wallabies – but the continued and cruel dilution of the Welsh squad is becoming a very real problem in this World Cup.last_img read more

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To the power of seven

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Head of Corporate Training and Development at Pfizer PaulMallinson explains why he introduced the famous ‘habits of effective people’ tothe UK subsidiaryWe have been using FranklinCovey development programmes at Pfizer in the UKfor more than five years and they are still having consistent and beneficialeffects throughout the organisation. However, we stumbled across the solutionsby chance. In the1990s, on the way to the US, l was looking for something to read atthe airport and picked up Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople. After reading it, I contacted a FranklinCovey facilitator to discussthe possibility of doing some work on culture change at Pfizer. It was important that I fully understood the whole learning process, so tostart with I attended the two workshops, The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople and The Four Roles of Leadership, which enabled me to observe theexperience at first hand. Personal development The strength of the programme is that it goes deep into personal motivationand effectiveness, facilitating organisational change by starting at a personallevel. The philosophy of the course is to teach people to change from theinside, within a framework of universal, timeless principles. The material focuses on a work/life balance and aims to improve both theprofessional and personal sides of the attendees’ lives. Thus, part of the 7Habits course is to develop a personal mission statement, which encouragesindividuals to think about ‘who they are and where they are going’ in life, andto look at both short-term and long-term goals. The course teaches a‘whole-person’ approach where personal and professional goals and events arenot mutually exclusive and making improvements in one area will have positiveeffects in the other. Another key message of this course is the paradigm shift – encouragingpeople to see what can be done rather than focusing on restrictions. A powerfulway of illustrating this was to learn to juggle three balls. At first, many participants might not see the point in this, or mayimmediately feel they are not capable of doing it. But it taught us a simplebut important lesson. We were taken though the practical skills and steps neededto learn to keep three balls in the air, and by focusing on the goal and byadhering to these steps, we were soon able to keep three balls in the air atthe same time. The lesson was that if you allow yourself to see thingsdifferently and are proactive and prepared to apply yourself to a task, withwork and perseverance and by focusing on the objective, the task is achievable.Time of change One of the key benefits of the FranklinCovey solutions is that they can beadapted to suit different needs and requirements, because they are based oncore human principles. We recognised the potential of the material in keybusiness areas such as corporate culture and leadership. When I introduced thepersonal development philosophy at Pfizer, the company was re-evaluating itsculture and in the process of developing its own values. Many of these valueswere echoed by what we found in the Covey systems. Perhaps the most importantthing is that the 7 Habits is not just a theory – it is a pragmatic way ofmaking principles and values live and of sustaining long-term behaviouralchange. Once we had experienced the programme, I worked on adapting the coursematerial to suit Pfizer’s structure and specific requirements. To begin with,the courses were offered at management level, with the aim of exposing thebusiness’s top teams to these new methods and models. Often in large companies,change is not normally an easy thing to implement ,but the simplicity andapplicability of the FranklinCovey material meant that managers were soonsinging the praises of the solutions and senior management bought into theprogramme from the outset. Realising the potential of the material to improveproductivity, the senior sales management team cascaded it down to every levelin the sales force and as a result, most Pfizer sales teams are now living theprinciples of the 7 Habits. We also used the 7 Habits course for team development. With guidance fromFranklinCovey, we set up courses to provide ‘experience learning’, withdelegates including their own material and models. I’m please with the way weput our programme across – it is very challenging and this personalisationgives the sessions added power and relevance. More than 500 people have now attended Pfizer’s internal 7 Habits programmeswhich, as a licensed and trained facilitator, I now run. People in any part ofthe business can nominate themselves onto the programme as part of their ownpersonal development plan; line managers have access to a full catalogue oftraining courses, to build skills, knowledge and abilities and to improvebehaviour; and of all our learning solutions the 7 Habits is by far the mostpopular. This is largely due to word of mouth recommendation as those who go onthe course find it not only enjoyable but also invaluable to their improvedwork performance. Positive change The underlying principles behind the programme focus on the inner desire ofindividuals themselves to become more effective. In addition to imparting theknowledge, FranklinCovey provides the tools for building effective leadership,empowerment, planning and communication. Although these sound like businessbuzz-words, the course provides a simple yet powerful framework which can bringlasting personal and professional benefits. The atmosphere on the courses is normally excellent, with people sharingideas and experiences. A general desire for self-improvement and to help fellowgroup members to do the same is demonstrated. While our courses provide theknowledge and the tools, they also encourage each individual to use and managethese solutions to the best of their capability. Responsibility is in one’s ownhands but the 7 Habits steer individuals in the right direction. Paul Mallinson is Head of Corporate Training and Management Developmentat Pfizer Limited. VerdictBecause Pfizer operates in a fast-moving and ever-changing industry, returnon investment in such training can be hard to calculate precisely. However, itis obvious to me and senior management that the impact the principle-centred,behavioural training solutions have had can be judged by the effects on keycompetencies. For example, the sales teams that have been through the 7 Habitsprogramme are among the best performers in the business. The popularity of the workshops is another qualitative measure of thebenefit of the programme. The majority of colleagues who have attended thecourse and put the 7 Habits into practice at work and at home, say they haveseen definite improvements in their personal and professional life.As a large and complex business, one of the cultural difficulties at Pfizeris how to develop sustainability of ideas, when people and structures areconstantly changing. For this reason, the 7 Habits training is a never-endingprocess. Several people have gone on the course more than once and benefitedmore the second time. The continued use of the principle-centred learning anddevelopment system contributed to our top ranking in the Sunday Times survey.The task now is to maintain awareness of the 7 Habits course and its principlesin the face of continual change, and to add a new level of personal developmentby increasing uptake of the Four Roles of Leadership course. This applies notjust to those in senior positions, but all who need to have leadership.Like many organisations, we are finding that employees must have the abilityto be self-directed and self-led. Because in today’s world, command and controlhierarchical systems are increasingly irrelevant. This is ultimately what the 7Habits are about – teaching people to be proactive, to lead themselves, to behighly productive and effective, and to positively influence others. To the power of sevenOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Innovative recruitment works for Virgin

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Innovative recruitment works for VirginOn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Family-friendlyrecruitment policies have helped Virgin Mobile to expand into one of the majorplayers on the UK scene, with innovative recruitment and retention policiesdriving the brand. By Liz HallLess than three years after its launch, Virgin Mobile is bucking the trendelsewhere in the telecoms industry, operating in profit ahead of plan, boastinga 1.6 million customer base and taking on around 30 new staff each month. Launched in November 1999 as a 50:50 joint venture between Sir RichardBranson’s Virgin and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile, the UK’s first and theworld’s largest virtual network operator is the UK’s fifth-largest operator andits fastest-growing mobile phone business. Virgin Mobile has subsidiaries in Australia, Northern Ireland and Singaporeand has development plans in the US, Hong Kong, South Korea and continentalEurope. With Sir Richard at the helm, it comes as no surprise that the company’sbrand values include innovation, challenge and fun, which have been reflectedin recent recruitment campaigns. Other company values are quality, value andhonesty. The company has two UK offices, the HQ in Trowbridge and a satellite officein London’s Leicester Square. Customer centre staff work in Trowbridgealongside HR, payments and finance. Marketing, PR and financial analysts areused in London. RecruitmentVirgin Mobile employs 1,450 staff and has its sights set on furtherexpansion. This year, it plans to recruit some 300-350 staff, having taken on114 corporate division staff and 266 customer centre staff last year. When asked what she is most proud of in terms of personnel activities,director of HR Lily Lu has no doubt: recruitment. “I am utterly proud ofour recruitment, of how unusual, innovative, eye-catching and fun our campaignsare,” she says. “They reflect our values of fun, openness andinnovation.” (See ‘Key HR initiatives above.) This openness is carried through beyond advertising. Customer serviceadviser (CSA) recruitment takes place at an assessment centre and assessors deliberatelyleave the room so that candidates have carte blanche to ask an existing CSAwhatever they wish. The company does not run a conventional management trainee scheme and relieson word-of-mouth and work experience people for its intake – last year it tookon four graduates and it plans to take on another four this year. “We avoid the run-of-the-mill ‘milk round’, with express training, atthe end of which people may not be interested,” explains Lu. In the firstyear, graduate recruits do three or four months in different business areas,making a final choice at the end of the year. “This works well and gives individuals a say on how their career pathdevelops,” she says. And the company is always on the lookout for new talentand is not averse to creating a job to fit a particular person and the companyuses local recruitment agencies, holding regular meetings to ensure aconsistent corporate branding. RetentionWhile Virgin Mobile refuses to disclose staff turnover rate, Lu claims it islow – although higher than she’d like in the customer centres. “But it iscoming down thanks to our culture and the flexibility in working style,”she says. Employee communications is an integral part of Virgin Mobile’s operations.At least twice a year, all staff gather at Trowbridge’s arts theatre for abusiness update. Again, innovation and fun are prominent, with the lastgathering themed on Graham Norton’s irreverent Channel 4 TV show. Lu is workingon a cafeteria menu-style benefits scheme, which should be in place in about 18months and may include on-site massage. At present, benefits include four times base salary on death in service,private medical cover, pensions, 25 days holiday, enhanced maternity benefits,five days paid paternity leave, and paid sick leave up to a maximum of 12 weeksfull pay. The company also offers a bonus scheme, subsidised staff restaurantand the popular Virgin ‘tribe’ discount scheme. The maternity package consists of the first six weeks of leave at full basicpay, regardless of length of service. For staff who have been with the companyfor at least two years, maternity pay is enhanced in 20 per cent steps to amaximum of 100 per cent base pay for the full 18 weeks. The company is alsoinvestigating non-creche child-friendly work options. Flexible working is offered informally to non-customer service staff and thecompany tries to be as accommodating as possible with shift patterns. Training and development One of Virgin Mobile’s most innovative initiatives in the training arena isits Trowbridge-based ‘learning zone’ for which it sets aside £10,000 a year. The learning zone is rather like a library, with a quiet reading area, fishtank and a variety of training and development resources, including an on-sitemanager. The company has more than 20 trainers dedicated to its CSAs’ requirements.It has a separate team of 10 for its non-Virgin store staff. Training deliveryis a mixture of classroom, on-the-job, online and in the learning zone. New recruitsreceive an average 23 days training. Last year, staff completed about threedays training each on average, aside from that for new recruits. Performance managementVirgin Mobile’s appraisal and development system, the Employee DevelopmentProgramme (EDP), is Lily Lu’s brainchild. Originally a platform for assessing the staff bonus scheme, the EDP links HRstrategy to the bottom line and takes into account skills and personalqualities. In the melting pot are customer base, customer satisfaction, personalperformance and company financial performance. Each individual has a formalannual assessment with line managers. “We’re a young company moving at a tremendous rate. Everyone is runningabout trying to meet objectives so we need to make time to sit down withemployees,” says Lu. At the beginning of the year, the HR team began to tackle one of its keyobjectives for the year – succession planning. Although Virgin Mobile is not ahighly structured company, its management team are placed in broad employeebands to better identify gaps. Where gaps emerge, for example in IT, it ismaking sure training is in place to prepare existing staff to progressinternally. HR factfileLily LuDirector of HRLu has legal qualifications and has been with Virgin Group for20 years. She started at head office as an HR manager with free rein to set upall things HR from scratch, looking after about 200 staff. She recalls whenVirgin Atlantic did not even have a personnel department and she workedoff-site. “I have offered consultancy-based HR to the smallercompanies and guided others until they were toddlers, letting go so they canset up on their own with me just in the background owning the guidelines,”she explains. Over the years, her job has changed from being very muchhands-on in a small department, using PAs and secretaries as personnelassistants to a more strategic role. Her move three years ago to Virgin Mobileoffered excitement and new challenges. The last company she set up was VirginDirect at a distance. Now she is back in the driving seat again. “It istouch and go and I like that.” The sector itself represents a challenge to Lu: “Thissector is new to me. I knew not one iota about telecoms. But it is exciting,fast-moving and I have absorbed like a sponge.” Lu does not sit on theboard and describes her salary as ‘competitive’.Size of HR teamLu has an HR team of 16HR department structureHR is structured with two levels: one team dedicated to thecustomer centre, including recruitment and training, and another for corporatestaff. There is only one payroll and there is a crossover in terms of dailytasks. Lu is responsible for the strategic side of the HR function.Ratio of HR to employeesAbout 1:91. Key HR initiativesRecruitment campaign in and around Trowbridge starring threeSmart Cars painted in Virgin Mobile colours and logo. Building up thelibrary-style training area, the Learning Zone Setting succession planning inmotion.HR priorities for the yearSuccession planning, recruitment, training and development.How she spends her time– operations– change management: – strategic planninglast_img read more

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