If you’ll excuse a parochial sporting entry, I have to ask what has happened to the gods of sport this weekend. Were they sleeping? New Zealand beat Australia at cricket – twice!! And one of those was by 10 wickets (OK, they have rested four top players ahead of the World Cup, and have had five retirements this past season – so its not the strongest Aussie side to ever leave their shores, but still… they lost, and did so badly). Then, in Super 14 Rugby Union, the Western Force beat the Bulls, and the Lions beat the 6-time champions, The Crusaders! What a mad weekend.
But, the real reason for this entry is that with Aussie’s cricket loss, South Africa are now the number 1 ranked One Day International team in the world – the first time any team except Australia has held the top spot since the rankings were launched in 2002.
The lessons available are ones I have spoken about before (check the archives for cricket entries). Simply put: Good is the enemy of great. Its tough to be number 1 forever, because when you are number 1 you become the target of every one else’s attentions. No-one is trying to work out England’s secrets and copy them right now, are they? (not in any sport!). So, the longer you stay at the top, the more likely it becomes that the field will soon catch you up. That should be impetus to take the next evolution (or revolution). I shudder to think what motivation this will give the Aussies. I suppose we’ll find out when SA plays Aus at the World Cup at the end of the Pool Phase!
The second lesson relates to teams of talent. You cannot expect to lose nearly half of your top team to retirement and maintain your status. Companies that bleed talent will suffer. That’s why creating a culture for retaining talent is critical to sustainable competitive advantage. Not much you can do, though, when your team retires. Or, is there?
Whatever… it makes for a great platform for an excellent Cricket World Cup next month!

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