Performance Hub insights from ‘Winning on Winning’ with Dave Hadfield and Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE


Our final Performance Hub theme of 2021 was ‘Winning on Winning’  – exploring how While many of us are striving to achieve our win in increasingly competitive fields, there are some elite sport teams and organisations who have not only reached the pinnacle of their field, but maintained it – season after season, year after year. Who better to join us to share their insights than serial winners Dave Hadfield*, and Helen Richardson-Walsh, MBE*?


Over the course of a couple of hours, Helen and Dave explored and then conversed with leaders from diverse organisations – Alliance Pharmacy, Pets at Home, GB Snowsport, England Rugby and TalkTalk – all interested in the lessons to be learnt.

A diverse conversation with these high performance experts


Dave started off by reminding us that, at its heart, sustaining success is about ‘nailing the critical basics – everyone’s focused on the edge’, and went on to remind us that culture is the foundation of winning.

Dave’s assertation that ‘winning on winning’ relies on constant change may seem counter-intuitive (if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!) – but he was clear that the most successful sports teams are constantly looking to improve, looking to find the opportunities to step up!   The leader’s role ‘be clear on where we need to head next – and find the people that can be your lieutenants’.

He brought to life so many different components of high performance across his 25 min talk… the short edited video we’ve compiled doesn’t really do it justice!   But one of the dawning realisation’s for me as Dave talked (and further cemented by Helen’s insights) was

the components of sustaining high performance are the same components as it takes to build high performance in the first place

The culture, the vision, the values, the behaviours… dealing with feedback, embracing purposeful conflict, reviewing performance and an engrained innovation and learning mentality… all of these components were talked about by both our speakers.

From Helen, we additionally heard the provocation ‘what do you mean by winning?’ and it reminded me of hearing Ben Ryan speak about his successes with Fiji Rugby.  When I asked him how he motivated the team to ‘go again’ after a match or competition win, he told me that their purpose and ambition has little to do with winning the game but has much more to do with instilling national and personal pride.  Easy to ‘go again’ when that’s what you’re doing it for!

Celebration was another key message from Helen.  She reminded us that it’s so important to stop and recognise the ‘wins’ – to celebrate together, before moving on.  (I wonder in the frenetic workplace that exists for many, how much celebration has taken place in 2021?)

A thread from Helen that wove throughout her talk, and her answers to questions posed from those attending, was the importance of personal responsibility – not just from the leaders – but from everyone on the team.   She described it as a very intentional, day in day out focus that enables teams to really live their values, through defined behaviour that support a winning culture “It’s more about who you want to be, than what you want to achieve.”

The message from both Helen and Dave I heard was that the blueprint for sustaining success is actually the same code you live by day by day.  It’s not about achieving a win and THEN putting in the components of a winning culture – but the winning culture LEADS to the success… and therefore sustains it.  (We have a shorthand for that – ‘You don’t win a match by staring at the scoreboard.’

It’s always a pleasure to be able to offer and curate these events for clients and contacts who are interested in high performance, and this was a cracker of a thought provoker to end this year’s Performance Hub calendar on.  You can review the 30 min slice of the morning session here in video here.

If you’d like to join us in the 2022 events, let me know!


#1 Dave is one of New Zealand’s most experienced mental skills trainers and coach educators and mentors. He has an extensive background in leadership, coaching and sport psychology, with considerable experience in elite level rugby, including with the New Zealand rugby pathway and cricket coaching.


#2 Having started her international hockey playing career in 1999 at the age of 17, Helen became the youngest ever woman to represent GB hockey at an Olympics in Sydney the following year, and has gone on to compete at four Olympic Games. As part of the senior leadership group she played a central role in propelling the women’s game to victory on the world stage in Rio 2016.


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