Learning from the Boks
Working in the video entertainment business offers regular exposure to historic sporting moments. Sport unites us as a nation with hard-won victories offering a euphoric sense of patriotism. We all remember Madiba proudly wearing the iconic Number 6 jersey in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final.
Recently SuperSport released a captivating reflection of the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup victory in Japan named Chasing the Sun.
This heart-warming reminiscence of an event that now feels so long ago carries some key lessons. With this in mind, I have listed three simple but important lessons I have taken, and concentrated on, in the last 12 months:
- Focus on the big picture Rassie Erasmus’ prioritisation towards winning the big games, even if others were sacrificed, is so relevant to running businesses. The big wins provide mental strength: ‘If we can do that, we can do anything.’ In business the same applies; too much time is squandered on trivial, distracting matters. The focus should be on winning in the areas that really shift the dial.
- Team dynamics In South Africa we have vast cultural differences and perspectives. The alignment towards a single goal − in this case winning a World Cup − overrode all of these. In building cohesive workplace teams, we face similar challenges. These can only be overcome through alignment, great raw skills and – most importantly − a common goal to continuously drive the business forward. My new daily challenge is to uncover our own personal World Cup equivalent and strategise how to get our hands on that trophy. Hire exceptional raw skills, give them the freedom to express themselves with alignment towards challenging yet achievable goals: be the best in the world.
- What is pressure? The iconic words from Rassie, ‘Winning a rugby game is not pressure. In South Africa pressure is losing your job, or a loved one,’ resonated deeply with many across the nation. We get entirely caught up in our notion of what pressure is: meeting a deadline, having that difficult conversation, preparing for an important presentation. Consider the statement above when you feel under pressure, take a deep breath and work to the best of your ability in a calm and calculated manner. It will almost certainly deliver better results.
These are merely a few of the principles that truly stuck with me following the Springbok victory last year and the subsequent insight shared in the Chasing the Sun documentary. It highlighted how sport, among many other things, can be synchronised to the way in which we work and live. We need not forge frantically through the mountain of leadership literature out there, desperate to discover the keys towards success in business, or even as human beings. Guiding lessons can be found in the most unexpected walks of life.
Thank you to Rassie and team – I have certainly taken your victory to heart in my own personal journey to victory, wherever that may be. Crouch, Pause, Engage …