In Jame Kerr’s book, Legacy, he talks about the 15 Lessons in Leadership and what the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life. Why a rugby team? They are arguably the most successful sports team in any code of sport.
I would like to highlight three of these lessons that resonated with me. I believe they contribute significantly to the success and legacy of any business team.
Creating a high-performance business culture
We know that exceptional success is not just something that happens overnight. It is the product of a clearly defined vision, clearly defined strategic goals, hours of detailed planning, continuous learning, and meticulous execution that brings the team of highly talented individuals together.
Exceptional success requires exceptional character. It’s about having the consistent drive to improve yourself to be better, even when you are regarded as being the best. It’s that personalised discipline that holds the team of highly talented individuals together. In business, as in any sport, you need the team to pull together and you most certainly don’t want a group of individuals who are not in sync. It is said that character will beat talent, any time!
Let’s not forget Owen Eastwood’s performance formula, where he states that:
Team Performance = Team Capability + Team Behaviour
What’s your purpose?
As leaders and business owners we must connect personal meaning to a higher purpose to create a clear sense of direction for the team and the individual. We need to do our work with purpose and New Zealand’s Rugby Team, The All Blacks, teaches us that “Better People Make Better Team Members.”
Simon Sinek talks about “Starting with Why” and as leaders and business owners we must connect personal meaning to create a higher purpose and a sense of direction that our teams will follow.
During the time that I worked for McCain Foods South Africa, I experienced this firsthand. The R57 million loss-making business that we bought was a burden for the parent company. They did not want the business any longer and wanted to get rid of it asap. With the backing of the McCain Family, a leadership team was put together for the “new” business in South Africa with the goal to turn the ship around as quickly as possible. In just one year, the leadership team and the team on the shop floor managed to bring the new business to a small profit.
How was it possible with almost the same workforce?
I believe that it all started with the leadership team crafting out a vision for the business: “Every South African eating at least one McCain Meal every day.”
Imagine how that industrial theatre was used to roll out the new vision, mission, and company values to the staff in the five locations the business operated in. The team bought into this vision and goals, and the business results showed it.
If you are after higher performance begin with a higher purpose, start with why.
Ritualise to actualise
Creating an all-inclusive culture in your workplace is essential, as you want all your team members to feel comfortable in the office. According to James Kerr, ‘inspiring leaders establish rituals to connect their team to its core narrative.” He also states that: “These rituals are used in business to remind, reinforce and reignite the team’s collective identity and purpose.”
In our ActionCOACH, we have rituals such as our WIFLE (What I Feel Like Expressing) – where you get to share how you are feeling with the team before you start to discuss what is on the agenda. This is a great way for coaches to see how their clients are doing in their personal lives before they speak about business matters.
By following these three Lessons in Leadership, you will create a better work environment and your staff will be happier, which will result in them being more motivated and productive. It’s a win-win situation!
Bert Weenink, ActionCOACH Business Coach