With the Six Nations now well under way, we looked at what can be learnt from the rugby greats that have swapped their muddy boots for business, and how rugby parallels with business in many ways.
As bestselling writer, speaker, coach and consultant James Kerr says, leaders don’t create followers; they create leaders. Leaders create a learning environment in which people can improve and get better every day, they are invaluable in a team, whether that be on the field or in the boardroom. They are honest with a trusting character, able to communicate goals and plans to the rest of the team, and have the vision to break the norm and know how to get there.
Teamwork and High Performing Teams
Sir Clive Woodward says teamship is the collective standard of behaviour understood by everyone in the team environment, everyone in the team must adopt the same mind frame and must understand that their every action has a reaction both on and off the pitch. Accept this, and players and teams will find a freedom that can only be born out of joint responsibility. Ignore this most basic of sporting philosophies, and you have to be prepared to pay the ultimate price. For a team, this is defeat, and for an individual, it is exclusion from the squad. This is the same for business, without this collective responsibility failure is extremely likely – even one member can bring down the whole team.
Attitude is Everything
This links back to teamwork and the collective mindset of the team, the team must adopt the same attitude. Athletes have a certain mindset, and it has to be a positive one! The psychological development of a player is extremely important, and it links back to the attitude we have towards business and in the workplace, with parallels between preparing for a big game on the pitch and preparing for a big pitch in the boardroom.
Working and Performing Under Pressure
Of course, all sportsmen and women feel a huge amount of pressure, but we all feel the pressure to perform in the workplace, too. It’s about taking that pressure and using it to help you perform better. Making the right decisions in tight situations, close to your own line and under pressure can be crucial to your team’s success. The first receiver in these situations needs to be calm and know that the players around him will do their jobs. It’s the same in business, as long as the team members know their roles and they are comfortable in executing it they are a lot less likely to panic and make mistakes.
In sport, constant improvement is vital. We’ve all heard the piece on marginal gains, making constant small changes that lead to overall improvement. This is the same
for business, we must innovate and disrupt the market to stay ahead of our competitors. Businesses that don’t consistently evolve are doomed to fall behind and become history. We must stay ahead of the curve, making use of innovative technology and learning from the thought leaders of the world.
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