High performing teams - New Zealand All Blacks

By: Robbie Hunter

"Anybody who is looking to get stuff done and gain competitive advantage in what they do, whether as an individual or as a business, surely has to look at the example of the All Blacks,” said James Kerr in his book, ‘Legacy.’

If anyone ever said that the All Blacks are a team of individuals, almost all would disagree. The All Blacks are a team that have replaced the word ‘me’ with ‘we’. They have a long history of success and have once again proved this by becoming the first team in the history of the Rugby World Cup to win back-to-back tournaments, as well as being champions on three different occasions. This is not down to luck but to team work and a great attitude filtering from a top-down approach.

Key to the All Blacks success and their transformation to the most successful team of the world, is a “very powerful sense of being a team and forming a close community where players are determined to leave the jersey in a better place” continues Kerr.

The All Blacks focus on a next generation and empowerment philosophy. The philosophy where leaders create leaders is very powerful within sport, but it’s also important within business when trying to build a culture that is going to last.

At Sysdoc we actively seek to apply these principles both in our own teams and when working with clients.  We are a values driven company, with honesty, trust and empowerment being at the core of who we are. Building a great team requires individuals to enjoy a deep degree of trust in one another; the trust that colleagues are not just dedicated to the task ahead but also able to cope with the challenges faced.  This is vital when working in multi-supplier teams, all pulling together to successfully embed change; that can be sustained with an empowered group of client leaders on the ground.

The language between business and sports has always been similar. Both are about strategy, vision and tactics. One thing which sets the All Blacks apart from other sports teams is their tough sense of drive and loyalty to values. It’s their character and determination that keeps them winning.

Projects succeed when the strategy and vision are clearly and consistently communicated and team members are working to a well defined end goal. They share joint values, working powerfully together to deliver a clear plan, and able to make good decisions when circumstances change or they are faced with outside challenge.

The World Cup has now ended and the All Blacks have celebrated with the rest of the country. They will no doubt reflect on the successes that they have achieved in the tournament. They are rightly given credit for the professionalism they have shown not just over the past two months, but also the past years. They have developed a team of champions.

Henry Ford once said; “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”. The All Blacks enjoyed success in New Zealand in 2011, when the whole nation came together to support their team to win the last World Cup.  In 2015, it was a new team with a new coach, Steve Hansen. Steve hatched a plan to drive high performance and great team play, with an underlying theme that, to be a good All Black you have to be a good person.  In other words it isn't good enough just to be proficient and professional at the tasks your sport requires, you also have to back this up with behaviours and values of what it means to be the best.  It is then you get into the ruthless determination and focus towards to work together as a team perform at the highest level.

The importance of values, behaviours and respect in driving success for our people, our clients and our business underpins the Sysdoc model; it cannot be taken for granted and needs to be lived and continually reinforced to enable high performing teams.

Photos: Stu Forster/Getty Images, www.facebook.com/AllBlacks/


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