Welsh international and Cardiff Blues centre Jamie Roberts recently took to the floor at GDS International’s Cardiff office to impart on the leading global B2B event company’s sales staff what it takes to become successful in a ruthlessly competitive environment.
Drawing from a range of professional experiences playing at both club and international levels, Roberts drew parallels within the worlds of rugby and business to provide unique insight into the mind of one of the nation’s most well respected sporting figures.
Roberts, best known for his contribution to Wales’ Six Nations 2008 and 2012 Grand Slam wins – and as a pivotal player in the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour – focused his discussion with GDS International’s CEO, Oliver Smart, around what it takes to succeed in a competitive environment, the motivation needed to do so, and how to improve as a team to name but a few topics of interest.
“We play in an environment that is pretty ruthless. If you have a poor game, you can be dropped for the next [game] – and it’s the same for business; that can be incredibly ruthless too… Your mental strength needs to be right up there. As soon as you start performing poorly, you know you can’t afford that downward spiral. As players, we rally round each other. You simply can’t let it affect you because your career depends on it. It’s ruthless, but the competition for places drives everyone. Without it, we wouldn’t push to achieve and succeed. That’s such an important part of a successful team,” he said.
Speaking to the Callaghan office’s 45 experienced sales staff that make up part of GDS International’s £35 million global B2B event portfolio workforce, Roberts was on hand to answer both predetermined questions as well as those from the floor, which were readily transitioned into takeaways for the business world.
From understanding the mindset that Roberts and his team consistently put themselves in prior to international matches, to breaking down what it takes to motivate both a team and an individual when times are tough, GDS International’s Cardiff office felt first-hand the immediate comparisons that can be made to the world of professional rugby.
Oliver Smart, the company’s CEO and Master of Ceremonies at the internal interview, commended Roberts for his honest approach towards the morning and ability to divulge such privileged insight. “After Warren Gatland visited our Cardiff office in late 2010, we realised how important it was for our staff to appreciate the phenomenal talent surrounding where they work and how effective people like Warren and Jamie really are to inspiring our workforce. What we’ve come to realise is that the worlds of rugby and business share many of the same attributes and are far from being worlds apart, bar the obvious differences in physical environment.
“In the few hours Jamie was here, he met with all of our staff, answered every question they had with complete support and imparted all he could from his amazing journey in professional rugby. With plenty of avid rugby fans in the office, Jamie was a big success and spurred the office on with ease. As he enters the recovery stage of his recent knee operation, I’d like to offer our thanks and continued success to Jamie, and indeed all of the Welsh International rugby team, for the future.”