As seen in the NZ Herald which you can read HERE.
Two losses in a row. This is déjà vu. The same thing happened about 51 weeks ago.
A year ago, I was feeling a general malaise after we’d lost two games in a row (vs Australia and Argentina) as I knew we didn’t really deserve to win – we hadn’t played well and lacked discipline. I feel the same way one year on due to the fact we have been completely and utterly outplayed two weeks in a row. (It still surprises me how ambivalent I am now the once-mighty All Blacks lose a game or three; I remember the national mourning we had in 2007…) I reckon there are a heap of disaffected Kiwi rugby fans feeling exactly like I do, which is sad given the passion we traditionally have for our national game and national team.
I wonder: how would the All Blacks’ performance change if they took lessons from the fundamentals of business…
GET THE TEAM CULTURE WORKING
To be successful in business, you need to have an engaged team. It is proven over and over that an engaged team produces better results in countless ways. In business, engagement comes from the culture, teamwork and accepted behaviours, sprinkled with accountability and consequences around not achieving the results that lead into winning strategies. Apparently, the team culture of the All Blacks on this long, arduous tour has been right up there with the best ever, according to coach Ian Foster.
EMPOWER YOUR TEAM TO ROCK THEIR POSITION
We had a large squad given the tour length. Perhaps the squad was too large as some of our team got very little game time. In business, to have an engaged and passionate team you need to have clarity on who is doing what and who fits in where. In business, you are better off having a smaller team who work hard and take ownership of their role which leads to them getting incredibly good at their job rather than having an enlarged team who are not fully productive or empowered to grab their role by the horns and really move the needle on performance. I’d love to sit down and have a one-on-one with every one of our 36-odd squad to really find out how they are feeling individually and how they are being led and coached and what the real team culture is.
LOOK AT THE LEADERSHIP
When a team or a business does not go well, it usually comes down to leadership. With the All Blacks, we know the necessary revolving team captain scenario which will not have helped our performance on the field this year. This is where the coaching team really needed to have stepped in because there has been inconsistent team leadership. I hope the team leaders are hugely questioning themselves and whether they are the right people for the job. I was surprised Ian Foster in the post-match interview did not seem more upset that we had lost to France. I really hope there are either some brave decisions made like Wayne Smith made in 2001 (post a lot better performance) or some serious soul searching on how to improve as a coaching team because something is seriously off.
CHANGE THE STRATEGIES
In business, a lot of success comes down to your strategies – the directions you’ve determined you’ll take in order to win in your industry. When these strategies don’t work, a good business will take note and respond, quickly and unequivocally. They’ll pivot, change direction or master new ways of winning in business. After four stuttering performances in 2021, it’s clear our strategies to win in rugby have stopped working and better strategies are needed. Who are the best people to help us form better strategies and then bring them to life?
YOU OWE IT TO YOUR FANS/CUSTOMERS
For a business to be successful, you need to have a lot of raving fans – those who recommend you to others and who are your underground, free salesforce. There’s no better forward indicator of how your future sales will look than your current customer experience. Sadly, there are a heap of disengaged All Black fans at the moment. The fan base want to see real change and proof on the field that the team is learning from its failings. At the moment it seems like we have started to believe way too much of our own BS on the rugby field. If the All Blacks cannot change its strategies like a struggling business would, you wonder what the declining and disengaged fan base will mean in terms of commercial ramifications for the commercial side of NZ Rugby and who knows what pending business partners Silver Lake think…
Oh to be a fly on the wall to truly know what’s happening behind the scenes and why the usual winning team we are accustomed to are so far off the mark! The All Blacks have not adapted the past few years to how teams play against us. With the current coaching team and the resulting playing style, I won’t be placing any long-term bets on us winning the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Please let me be wrong!