If I asked you to suggest some names that might occupy the title of a team, a business, an organization that is a market leader, a peak performance team, pending on your location and experiences some names would be Microsoft, Apple, Google, Walt Disney, Mercedes, The Beatles, the Bolshoi Ballet, Qantas, Netflix, Uber, Huawei, New York Philharmonic, and so on.
Owing to my bias for sport, I cannot look past the ALL BLACKS as the team and organisation that demonstrates peak performance, being the market leader for the past 114 years since they made their international debut in 1903.
According to Wikipedia, “ ..the side has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015, as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987. They have a 77% winning record in test match rugby, and are the only international side with a winning record against every opponent.. since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number one ranking longer than all other teams combined…..the ALL BLACKS statistically speaking are the best side to have played the game…”
There has been much written about the ALL BLACKS, but one of the most significant and insightful accounts has been produced by James Kerr, Legacy – 15 lessons in leadership from the ALL BLACKS.
Some of the takeaways for Leaders, business and life from the ALL BLACKS are –
- Creating and maintaining a long-term successful cultural legacy built on the history, traditions, and spiritual connection to the Maori culture of New Zealand
- Defining and delivering world-class standards, day after day, week after week, year after year
- Winning is as much a mind game as it is a physical contest, so train to cope under extreme pressure
- Developing long terms mantras which are translated into daily actions and behaviours such as – what do you leave behind you after you’re gone – better people make better ALL BLACKS; what will be your legacy; champions do extra – they sweep the sheds; they follow the spearhead; they are good ancestors.
- The players own their culture and hold each other accountable for living up to its values
- ALL BLACKS select their players not based on who has the most talent, but who has the best character and will fit best in their team-first ethos. Their stated policy is ‘No Dickheads’ allowed
- Some messages that resonate throughout the book are – aim for the highest cloud; be a good ancestor – plant trees you’ll never see; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain; leaders create leaders; ritualize to actualize; leave the jersey in a better place; when you’re at the top of your game, change your game; sweep the sheds – never get too big to do the small things that need to be done.
Bob Schoultz, an American writer on a number of topics including Leadership tells of the story of the Commanding Officer of SEAL Basic Training Command being introduced to the book Legacy around September 2014. Since then, it has become almost required reading in the SEAL teams, and James Kerr has been invited several times to speak to the SEALs about the All Blacks leadership model.
Peak Performance and being a market leader is about being in the game for the longterm – it is not about ‘shortermism’ about which many political, business and sport leaders can be convicted in our society.
Peak Performance and being the market leader is an ever- evolving methodology for those companies that understand the process.
In my work, study and observations, I have distilled the essence of Peak Performance to 5 pillars –
1. Vision and overarching strategies
2. Leadership culture
3. The learning environment
5. Success measures
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