Dunford Lecture: The Business of Winning

Category: Speakers, General, Sport

Earlier this term it was a great pleasure to welcome Humphrey Walters to give the annual Dunford Lecture to sports scholars and interested guests. 

Humphrey’s lecture was entitled ‘The Business of Winning’, and by the end it certainly felt like he had shared with us many tools to make the most of our potential, not only in sport by life in general.  Humphrey’s ‘key points’ were cleverly woven into his vast experience of working with top level sports people.  These included working alongside Sir Clive Woodward and introducing some high standards to the England Rugby Squad, who were a transformed group by the time they lifted the World Cup in 2003 (the touring Aussie football team in the audience found the photos and videos a little painful here!).   Humphrey stressed that the ‘little things’ mattered, like being on time to meetings and making sure you were dressed smartly in the team kit.  “TCUP” or ‘Thinking Clearly Under Pressure’ was a fundamental part of the culture that Humphrey introduced to the Rugby Squad, and has been coined by many sports teams and businesses since. 

He went on to talk about setting the right culture and the importance of communication when he worked with a number of high profile football clubs and formula one teams and how this translates to a successful business environment.  Analysing performance at Olympic Games, it became clear to Humphrey that it was tiny margins that resulted in success, and he suggested some ways that we could incorporate some of the good practice of searching for small personal improvements in our every day life. 

The real highlight of the talk was hearing how Humphrey, a man with no previous sailing experience, became a crew member for the BT Global Challenge.   The stories of his team, under immense pressure, were not only amusing, but a clear demonstration in the importance of taking personal responsibility, building trust within your team, moving away from a ‘blame culture’ and setting clear and challenging aspirations.  As Humphrey said, “dream a lot”; leaving his talk on that Tuesday evening it certainly felt like a lot more was possible. 

Thank you to Humphrey for giving an inspiring lecture and for taking time to have dinner with the Sports Scholars beforehand.

Katy Hudson
Director of Sport

<- Back to: Speakers