What World Class Really Means

“World-class performance comes by striving for a target just out of reach but with

 a vivid awareness of how the gap might be breached”

 Matthew Syed, Writer and Author


35 minutes have elapsed in the most important rugby game in your life. You were selected, against all expectation, just two days before the game.

Your team is losing by 13 points to 3 to the most successful sporting team on the planet. You catch the ball near your own try line, the last thing you want to do at this point in the game is to take a risk which may result in your team falling further behind.

‘Instead of opting for safety first, you attack!

But you defy all norms and decide to throw logic to the winds of opportunity, embracing vulnerability and risk in the pursuit of the seemingly impossible!

A combination of intuition, self belief and determination borne from a unique sporting tradition and powerful team ethos all kick in and instead of opting for safety first, you attack!

You sidestep one man, then another tearing through a gap in the opponents defensive line and before you know it you are over the half way line!

Just as you are tackled you deliver a perfectly timed offload and four passes later the ball is touched down across the opponents try line.

Liam Williams has just orchestrated one of the greatest tries of all time for the British Lions in their first text against New Zealand in the recent series!

World class confronts the impossible and with an unbelievable disdain turns conventional wisdom on its head’

What we witnessed was truly world class but why? What truly makes world class?

We can quickly assert that world class is characterised by the unexpected. It is rare, intermittent and elusive but in its barest form constitutes the core building block of high performance.

World class confronts the impossible and with an unbelievable disdain turns conventional wisdom on its head.

‘Quality - the standard other people don't reach’

Its origins lie in self belief and a curiosity borne of a constant hunger to build competence allied with a burning ambition to do something truly exceptional.

World class can only emanate from the desire to achieve and then understanding the core competencies required to build the basic skills, constantly seeking to learn and improve.

World class originates from the desire to accept a huge challenge which stretches aspiration and which drives the desire to make a massive difference.

In our recent workshop, our students at Hpt5 delivered a stunning summary of what world class means:

•   Being someone's favourite

•   Being better than the best

•   Make it happen for them

•   Develop trust

•   Being at the top of your game

•   Feeling that ‘it was the best’

•   Being exceptional

•   Consistent and memorable

•   Changes your life

•   Superior expectation, superior delivery

•   Quality - the standard other people don't reach

A conclusion was reached that what world class gives is a superior experience, something which leaves a deep and lasting impression on the soul.

Being world class is ultimately orchestrating the unexpected, demonstrating your passion whilst underpinning a philosophy that screams out ‘ I am determined to do my best and succeed.’

Who knows what Liam Williams was thinking when he decided to defy convention and attack from deep in his own territory.

But what we do know, is that he ticked all of the boxes to deliver a truly world class experience because it was rare, unexpected, unconventional and unforgettable!

Click here to view the try:



Haydn Parry, Director of Service Leadership