Matt Prior's Visit to Speakers Corner HQ: The Culture Of Winning
Former professional cricketer Matt Prior played as batsman and wicket-keeper for England. As vice-captain, Matt was well-versed in keeping big egos in check, and he came to our office to share his expertise in managing team culture.
Following his retirement from cricket, Matt, like many other ex-pros, made the move into TV commentary and journalism. After a time, it became apparent to him that this wasn't the future for his career and before long, he lost motivation and his fierce ambition was gone.
At the time, Matt wondered if he applied the same passion for cricket to a different endeavour, could he be just as successful in another discipline? And so, he took on the business world.
Matt founded men's cycling team, ONE Pro Cycling in 2015. Matt helped us to see the links between sport and business, between the dressing room and the board room. We learnt that an efficient team works in the same way in both industries, it's only the language which is different - where Matt once focused on his Team Charter, he now discussed brand values. Matt successfully built a brand from scratch using the lessons he had learnt from his professional cricket career and applying them to the business world.
The Balance Of Culture & Ability
Culture and ability were the two cornerstones to England's success. Matt called upon stories from his England-days to show us how this was the same in business. Kevin Peterson, Matt explained, was big character and difficult to manage but was an incredibly talented player - Matt's challenge was how to fit him into the team culture. Other players were perfect for the team and so his focus was to up-skill them. Matt showed us the importance of striking a perfect balance of ability vs culture.
"If you don't have self-awareness, you can't manage others."
Getting The Best From Your Players
As Matt drew his presentation to a close we were left thinking about how to extract the most from your team, how each team member has a different personality and needs to be managed in a way which is unique to their character. Introverts and extroverts need to be treated with equal respect and managed in defferent ways in order to get the best from them. If one player is 10% less effective because they aren't being managed according to their individual needs, then it has a negative impact on the whole team. Matt taught us that as a leader, you need to open yourself up to different perspectives to give yourself a deeper understanding of the broader context, this begins by looking inwardly.
I'm very proud to have avoided all cricket-puns in this blog, howzat for self-control?