Articulating ideas to be able to action them

Recently I was in Fiji and speaking with Sir Graham Henry about what he did specifically to build the All Blacks into one of the most successful sports teams in history, and to create great role models in the process. Their success record is incredible, and what strikes me even more than that is the character of the men who are now retiring from the All Blacks; people like Ma’a Nonu who began his career as a hot-headed immature boy, and finished as a considered and skilled man, a role model.

What Ted told me wasn’t rocket science. Their strategy consisted of:

  1. Connection
  2. Individual performance improvement
  3. Consensus leadership
  4. Handling pressure

But if it’s not rocket science, why aren’t more teams that good?

Two reasons:

Firstly, when you can’t articulate a strategy you can’t execute on it. If the strategy had been to ‘improve culture’ then nothing would have happened, but because they articulated what ‘improve culture’ looked like, they could execute on it.

Secondly, because most people and companies fail to execute well even when the strategy is clear.

Exceptional sports team and businesses articulate their strategy then execute on that strategy relentlessly.

As Richie McCaw said to me, “Even when the competition know our strategy, it’s very hard to defend against us when we execute well.

Stop worrying about your competition knowing what you’re up to and invest your energy in execution.