The highest level of the sporting world is the setting for strong feelings and profound lessons for life. Everything we want our students to learn can be seen each day in the world of sports. The All Blacks, the New Zealand national rugby squad, are one of the most successful sporting teams of all time. They’re admired not only for their play but for their firm commitment to society, which has allowed them to become more than an elite team.
There are many lessons to be found in the powerful philosophy underlying their team culture. And it’s not by chance that the All Blacks make use of much rigorous study and research that the management world has been developing for years. They successfully put them into practice.
Throughout their history they’ve intoned many mantras:
“Never be so big that you stop doing the small things in daily life” is how they express one of their non-negotiable values. Their players sweep and pick up the locker room after each game.
“Better people make better All Blacks” doesn’t assure you’ll win a championship, but it will make you a better team.
“But to know how to win you have to know how to lose. But to know how to lose you have to know who you are.” Its players not only improve physically but work tirelessly on personal development. Sport is much more than improving physically.
One of the most powerful learning processes this team provides is its concept of leadership. “Leaders create leaders,” a phrase coined by Tom Peters, has become reality in the case of the All Blacks because they transfer leadership from the coaches to the players, so as to share the work among equals and make this team a mature, demanding and committed organization.
But if there’s something they defend above all else, it’s beginning with the WHO of things. Decide who you put on the bus or don’t put on the bus. When you find the WHO, the WHAT and the HOW appear very easily.