This week sees the end of an extraordinary Rugby World Cup. Both the real Final and the euphemistically named Bronze Final promise to be exciting closely fought spectacles and fitting advertisements for a great sport. Organisers, participants and observers have already begun to identify and collate the learning from a major tournament, the nuggets to take away, the building blocks for future success on and off the field.

In England’s case I hope that the analysis is rigorous and penetrating, that the implications reach further than the team managed at the event. It’s a personal view but when any campaign falls so far short in strategy, management and execution, then wholesale change is required. Time for your medication, Mr Tredwell!

Inevitably, some commentators are also on the look-out for more principles and practices which can be drawn from the world of elite rugby union and applied to business or, more broadly, to life in general. One such construct, receiving welcome coverage over the past few weeks, is World Class Basics (WCB), a term attributed some years ago to Sir Ian McGeechan who has been a regular member of ITV’s expert panel during the World Cup.

Sir Ian coached with distinction for Scotland and the British & Irish Lions and is hugely respected for his contribution to high performing teams. Specifically, his approach is based on the wisdom of simplicity which is why I find WCB so appealing. Such apparent common sense has become so uncommon in our ever more complex business and private lives!

The essence of WCB, in McGeechan’s words, is as follows: “In rugby and in life if you can get the basics right under pressure then everything else falls into place. And if you practice those basics over and over again so that you are World Class then that’s what delivers you success at the highest level.” As such, WCB does actually acknowledge the relentless intensity of modern living.

The above quote was taken from a book, ‘Coaching the World Class Basics’, by John Neal, Director of the Sports Business Programme at Ashridge Executive Education. The work emerged from a series of conversations between the author and Sir Ian and proposes a number of World Class behaviours which, once you have truly understood your own values, beliefs and style, can be combined to deliver a WCB coaching model which is effective under pressure.

Neal’s book highlights the importance of curiosity and questioning (in helping people think and showing you have thought, opening the door to “consolidated intelligence”); knowledge is critical (you need to be regarded as someone who can help, who possesses relevant, up to date and accurate intelligence which you can deploy appropriately); there is great power in futurism (considering what lies ahead but letting go of any limiting beliefs, embracing a world of possibility rather than probability); rapport and trust feature strongly (it remains utterly enlightening to spend time in other people’s shoes) along with listening (active, deep and non-judgmental, to help the person speaking not just yourself) and feedback (mutual, candid, timely, invited and given).

This practical guide may well have been written to facilitate great coaching but, from my specialist area, I recognise all of these behaviours as key ingredients of a fully functioning relationship. And I would certainly argue that, in striving for success in business and beyond, committed relationships form one of the foundation stones and deserve to be considered in the same breath as WCB.

It is tempting to seek a silver bullet for winning when the going is tough, when the pressure is on. This can reduce the energy which is devoted to the development and effective application of simple, basic processes and skills in favour of the search for magical solutions. The brains within sport, however, tend to the view that if you focus on process – design it, measure it, improve it, make it sustainable – then success will look after itself.

If you can master your World Class Basics, therefore, including the nurturing of trusted relationships, then you can manage the manageable, control the controllable in a testing environment, which is all anyone can expect to achieve.

To end with another sporting legend, it was yachtsman Sir Peter Blake who gave us a memorable export from sport to life with an aid to decision making during his time with New Zealand’s America’s Cup team some 20 years ago. His simple question, when considering any input within the group, was ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ This focused attention, cut through confusion, limited distraction, steered behaviour. It’s a brilliant mantra which has inspired books and businesses in its wake.

Will World Class Basics and fully functioning relationships make the boat go faster? Yes they will.