Winning with a story of history

After the All Blacks won today’s Rugby World Cup Final there was the usual (and more) interviews with players and coaching staff. All talked of a great group of men and of playing for each other. The opposition was acknowledged.  Team-mates were acknowledged first: when Ma’a Nonu was asked about his brilliant individual Try his response was that he got a great pass from Sonny (Bill Williams).

In those answers you got a glimpse of the team culture that is about each other and not about individual heroics, although there were plenty today!

What also come through was referencing back to history. Richie McCaw referenced the 2011 tournament and what they had done to build from that. Others including Dan Carter did too.

It was a privilege to be at RWC2015
It was a privilege to be at RWC2015

It seemed to me that to make history, this team planned it from an historical moment in 2011 and drew strength, insights and learnings from that and other experiences in the past. Using Story-telling at its best and most effective I reckon.

You might not make a Rugby-mad public excited as it was today, but what can your stories do for you and your team?

Check out that link for quick tips on developing your own story.

Stephen

 

Anxious at number 23?

If you’re not wearing an All Blacks jersey on Sunday evening with the numbers 1 – 22 on it then like me and most of New Zealand you can have very little control over the result at Eden Park. Should anyone be anxious about what they can’t control and won’t directly impact them (arguably of course!)? Leaders who grow and develop others, and place trust in their teams shouldn’t be anxious about whether they will perform. They know that they will, partly because the leader does trust them. Which is probably why Graham Henry said he had nothing to say to the team immediately prior to the game. That’s their time he said.

Last Saturday, there were many wound up people, including in my home! Hearts thumping as we sat down to watch the All Blacks demolish our near neighbours.  At the end it was decided that the Cup was more or less ours, that the All Blacks couldn’t lose now, after such a performance and how poorly the French had played.

But quickly the anxiety crept back in: What if the French played really well? What if the ABs froze? Well, what if they did? Surely this All Blacks team are the best that they can possibly be and better than any team in the world right now. We know that. They know it, and partly because they don’t take it for granted. I trust them to do their best which will win them the game and the cup and make them World Champions for the next four years (at least).

I trust them because they’ve got all the resources, learnings and support that the best Rugby country in the world can give to the best 22 players in the world. I’m excited, but I’m not anxious: not because I can’t control it, but I know the best people are in control.

If you’re leading a team and you trust them you can relax and enjoy the fruits. If you don’t trust you’ll micro-manage, control and destroy any chance of great success.

If that doesn’t convince you imagine two businesses going for a big contract. Business A intends to delight and make money and opportunities for itself and all those it connects with.  The other Business, say Business F has a strategy to undermine Business A before it gets to the tender stage.  Like two teams going into a game: One is prepared, fit and has proven strategies that encourage fast try-scoring opportunities. The other reckons they’ll attempt to stomp on the foot of the captain of the other team. I know who I’d back! With a 22+ points lead at fulltime is what my money at the TAB is on.

Go the All Blacks! Can’t wait!

Stephen

Tender men

My favourite All Black and one who has usually not failed to provide success for me in the “score a try” bet is Mils Muliaina. It seemed like half the country were concerned about who the number 15 should be and how obvious to everyone that it had to be the new younger Israel Dagg and not the vastly experienced but apparently aging Mils (oh to be 31!). Check him out here on the All Blacks site – his rugby career is truly impressive. You’ll also learn that his real name is Malili.

When All Black coach Graham Henry selected Dagg ahead of Mils he described it as one of the hardest and most emotional decisions of his coaching career.  Henry has been involved through much of Mils’ first class career and in that moment we caught a glimpse of tenderness and compassion in leadership, so often put to one side. After all this is Rugby,

The photo here catches the mood perfectly.  It shows the wonderful leadership relationship between an older mentor and a younger high performing and deeply respectful mentee. I can feel the pain for them both.

Mils for his part (I hope no-one minds me calling him by his first name even though I’ve never met him) said that all he wanted is for the All Blacks to win. He would happily do that from the field, the bench or the stands.  Amazing maturity and team commitment.

Whether he gets to 100 test caps or not, he’s an inspiration for leaders and teams everywhere. And Henry, for showing his tenderness showed why you never ever hear of dissention in the All Blacks these days. Honest, caring and driven. That’s a recipe for success. We saw that all come together with the best rugby skills on the planet on Saturday.

Go the All Blacks!

Go tender men everywhere.

Stephen

Crushed in the rush

Ever since Helen Clark became Prime Minister (well I did religion yesterday!) the plan of attack by politicians when something goes wrong is to go on the attack. Murray McCully, the Minister of RWC2011 did it on Friday when 2000 people got caught on trains. The Transport Minister Steven Joyce joined the fray soon thereafter.  Mayor Len Brown was left to take responsibility and made appropriate signals that Auckland Council would look at compensating those who didn’t make the opening ceremony.

Crushed in the rush

If leadership is about being the loudest voice then central government politicians won hands down. In the crush on Friday night in Quay Street I felt part of something pretty big and powerful. People were in good humour and although it was a bit overwhelming it was worthwhile to experience it first hand.  Unfortunately those people we saw from the bus on the stalled trains on Tamaki Drive on the way back, didn’t look like they had such a good experience. There were lots of loud voices in Quay Street, Hakas, cheering and laughter. If the loudest voices were the best Rugby players then Tonga and Samoa would be meeting in the final based on support in town on Friday.

But the loudest voice isn’t always the strongest leader. What will come to repair the image of a failed transport system (and stop it failing again of course) will come from leadership that looks at itself, takes responsibility and leads to new action. I get a sense that’s been happening after the initial crush in the rush to blame.

Us ordinary folk took the lead and used public transport. Maybe it’s time for those pointing fingers to give it a shot too. That would be another type of crush that they could learn from.

Stephen