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:
- Individual performance improvement
- Consensus leadership
- Handling pressure
But if it’s not rocket science, why aren’t more teams that good?
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.
When we want something, we are taught to visualise that thing, to focus on that image, until we have it.
There’s almost never a completely clean run.
Sometimes wonderful things take you by surprise, they open a new door.
Have you ever moved into a new house and seen something that needed fixing and thought “I’ll get on to that soon”?
Humans are tribal.
As humans we have an insatiable desire to explain untoward events so we can get on with solutions.
In any field, most of the rewards go to the top 5% of people.
I say please to Siri.
If a turkey were to assess the state of the world in early December, they would be forgiven for thinking all is well and that the farmer loves them.
We often compare today’s performance relative to yesterdays.