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What I learnt from the All Blacks

November 23rd, 2013

As I type this the All Blacks are heading towards their last test of the season & hopefully last win of the year. So what you might say (especially if you aren’t a rugby fan). But they do keep winning, so what are some of the key things that make them the winners they are & how does that relate to business?

Winners:

Work to a plan
Work as a team
Have consistency
Deal with setbacks
Not reliant on one person
Work with key data
Be prepared to take a chance
Go the distance

Work to a plan

If you want a positive outcome in business just like sport you need to have a game plan. Know what outcome you are after, know what strengths & weaknesses may impact on the result & then go out & implement well.

Work as a team

I’d much prefer to have a team made up of people that are prepared to work together with the same outcome in mind as opposed to one or two superstars (although there’s nothing wrong with a committed team with super performers in it). So surround yourself with the right people both inside & outside your organisation.

Have consistency

In Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) latest book Great by Choice he uses an analogy of a 20 mile march. Companies that achieved high performance had high levels of discipline & were consistent in their activities just like you would if you were on a 20 mile march. The opposite is dashing from place to place, sometimes performing, sometimes not.

Deal with setbacks

Very good teams face setbacks all the time. The issue isn’t will there be a setback, but how you deal with it. In the sporting arena there is always injury, bad ref calls & things just not going your way. Well business is the same so get used to it. Have contingencies in place, be prepared & when they occur deal with them & move on.

Not reliant on any one person

If your business has some scale but is reliant on just one person (maybe you) then you potentially have an issue, because if something happens to you what happens to the business? Look at the various roles & people & have some redundancy around them – encourage a crossover & transfer of skills. Part of the All Black success this year has been the fact that they have great depth in the team & if someone is injured someone else can step up to the mark (remember Beaver in RWC)

Work with key data

Know the key numbers that drive your business & measure them as often as you need to. Don’t wait until there is no money in the bank or orders/clients have dried up. Don’t go by gut feel alone, let the data help in the decision making process.

Be prepared to take a chance

Ten years ago during a rugby test you’d be surprised if a team counter attacked from near its own goal line – that would have been seen as reckless. Now the All Blacks are masters of taking an opportunity when they see it. They still have the end in sight, but are confident in their own abilities & are prepared to take a chance. Business is the same, sometimes opportunities arise & we need to act quickly, but always make sure that whatever you are going to do is going to head you in the long term direction the business needs to go.

Go the distance

A lot of businesses start out with the best intentions, have great ideas, put some smart systems in place but fail to execute well. They just fail to go the distance. All Black teams of the past were like that at times, failing to implement well & falling away in the last 10-15 minutes of key games. We only have so much time available to us each day, so we need to make sure that we are maximising that time in our business (as well as our life).

So if you want to be a winner remember it will not happen by chance. If you decide to put a plan of action in place, follow it through, don’t give up when the first obstacle appears & be prepared to go the distance. You may be surprised with the result! Here’s hoping the All Blacks deliver on the test with Ireland & have a win to finish of the season.

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