How good are you at creating and converting opportunities into success?

Yesterday evening I watched an awesome game of international rugby between our champion New Zealand All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions.  It really was an epic contest and I was glued to my seat right up to the final whistle.

For me, the best thing about the game was that it provided some crucial lessons about the importance of creating and converting opportunities.  Significantly, these lessons apply not just to sporting contests, but are equally applicable to improving performance and success in work and life.

Regardless of whether or not you watched the game, the lessons I share with you will be of huge value to you.  So keep reading.

Firstly though, about the game…

In the game the All Blacks were the more dominant team, especially in the first half.  They had more possession, dominated the Lions physically and created more scoring opportunities.  Unfortunately, they failed to convert most of the opportunities put in front of them.   And, as I was sitting there watching these points go begging I said to my wife – who is also a rugby fanatic – that the All Blacks needed to fix their opportunity conversion problem.

On the other hand however, the Lions created fewer opportunities, and on the few occasions given to them to score, they did.

Ultimately, the All Blacks’ failure to convert most of their opportunities came back to bite them.  The final score was a 15-15 draw.

The final score was not, in my view, a fair reflection of the overall game.  It was a game that the All Blacks should have won, but didn’t.  They had plenty of opportunities, but didn’t convert them.

As I was lying in bed after the game I drew a 2 x 2 matrix, which I’ve named the Opportunity Creation and Conversion matrix.  Now in case you’re unaware, a matrix is a visual analytical tool which students at top business schools are taught to use.  And many strategists are fond of creating and using their own.

Anyway, this particular matrix I’ve developed highlights the importance of creating opportunities and then converting them.  Furthermore, when I completed the matrix, I realised it will be an awesome tool for measuring performance not just in a rugby game, but also for measuring performance in business,  other sports, sales, career development, personal development and life.  Here it is.

As you can see, on the top of the matrix you measure the number of opportunities created, and these can be either few or many.  Then, down the side you measure the opportunity conversion rate, which is either low or high.

Performance is then rated into one of four quadrants.

  1. Bottom left quadrant. Few opportunities created and low opportunity conversion rate
  2. Bottom right quadrant. Many opportunities created and low opportunity conversion rate
  3. Top left quadrant. Few opportunities created and high opportunity conversion rate
  4. Top right quadrant. Many opportunities created and high opportunity conversion rate.

In terms of the All Blacks vs Lions rugby match, the All Blacks performed in the bottom right quadrant while the Lions performed in the top left quadrant.

So what determines the quadrant you end up in?  Two key factors.  Strategy and strategy execution.

At the end of the day, when it comes to performance, the better your strategy, and the better your strategy execution, the better the result.  This is illustrated with my High Performance Equation.  So, in the rugby game the All Blacks’ strategy was good.  They were let down by execution.


Back in the late 1980s when I was newbie financial services marketer my first sales manager implored us on a daily basis to make phone calls to prospective clients.  The importance of the numbers game was indoctrinated into us religiously.  That is, the more sales calls we made (opportunity creation) the more sales we closed (opportunity conversion).

Unfortunately, as a newbie both my opportunity creation and opportunity conversion was woeful.  Thankfully though, due to some great skills training combined with a smarter strategy, my opportunities and conversions both improved.  In other words, I put more prospective clients into the sales funnel and converted more of them.  So, when measuring performance using the Opportunity Creation and Conversion matrix I started out in the bottom left quadrant and ended up in the top right quadrant.

Anyway, let me throw this back to you.  I’m going to ask you a few questions, which I’d like you to answer.

  1. When you evaluate performance in your business or career using my matrix, which box are you in at the moment?
  2. How many opportunities are you creating for yourself?
  3. How many of those opportunities are you converting?
  4. What is your strategy like?
  5. What is your skill/strategy execution like?
  6. What do you need to do today to create more opportunities?
  7. What do you need to do today to convert more of those opportunities?

When it comes to performance in your broader areas of life, use the matrix to measure performance in those.

  • If you coach a sports team, use the matrix.
  • If you’re in sales, use the matrix.
  • If you’re single and want to get more dates, use the matrix.  Seriously!!!
  • If you’re looking for another job, use the matrix.

In the movie Forrest Gump, in a scene while waiting for the bus, Forrest stated, “My Momma always said, life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Fortunately, both Forrest and his Momma were wrong.  Life is not like a box of chocolates.  Because for the majority of your life you do know what you’re gonna get. And what you’re gonna get depends mainly on the opportunities you create and convert for yourself.

Speaking of opportunities, if you’re serious about improving your work-life performance, click on the link below to learn more about my high performance coaching service.  The service is unique firstly because it focuses on coaching to improve the strategic high performance skills.  Secondly, the service applies the blended coaching model, which is the model of choice used by top sports and professional services coaches.  To find out more about the service, go to:

Bartlett High Performance Coaching