Don’t hire Dickheads - What the All Blacks can teach us about building high performance teams

All Blacks 2.jpg

The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team is the most successful professional sports franchise in history. That’s right. Ahead of the New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls, Montreal Canadiens etc.

What the All Blacks have successfully proven is that in order to build a high performance team cultural alignment, established and known core values & selection based on an individual's character should be prioritized before raw talent. The world domination of the All Blacks has been a direct result of their team-first ethos.
Their known policy around ‘No Dickheads’ keeps the team from being seduced by highly talented divas that will not fit in with their non negotiable principle of ‘Whanau’ which translates to  ‘our family, our friends, our tribe.'

The All Blacks draw on the spiritual teachings of their ancestors, their countries history and the traditions of Maori culture of New Zealand. They prove the theory that a team united in a common purpose and having a culture that each individual is deeply connected to, WINS. 

In the book ‘Legacy’, we get an intimate look inside the All Blacks culture of high performance. Author, James Kerr shares 15 principles the All Blacks use in order to build and sustain their #1 world class status.
Below I share 5 (out of the 15) principles that really resonated with me and the businesses I support.  I urge you to pick up this book for inspiration and an innovative & effective model in creating extraordinary high performing teams.

Sweep the sheds - never be too big or too small to do the small things that need to be done. Guess what happens in the locker rooms after an All Blacks game?
After a historical win against the Welsh (42 -7), two of the most senior All Black players, each pick up a long handled broom and begin to sweep the sheds (locker rooms).
‘While the country is still watching the replays and kids lie in bed dreaming of All Blacks glory, the All Blacks are tidying up after themselves. Character begins with Humility.

Ask yourself - When was the last time you swept the sheds?

Go for the Gap - When you're on top of your game, change your game.
The All Blacks follow the belief that organizational change requires 4 key factors:
- A case for change
- A compelling Picture of the Future
- A sustained Capability to change
- A credible Plan to Execute
‘Organizational decline is inevitable unless leaders prepare for change - even when standing at the pinnacle of success’.

Ask Yourself: What are you doing today to create the future?

Pass the Ball - Leaders create Leaders
The All Blacks empower their key senior players by giving them a distinct portfolio of responsibilities on and off the field. They are responsible for onboarding new players, mentoring them and telling the younger players what the expectations are and enforcing them. The All Blacks believe these lessons are more powerful coming from their peers. And they're right.
‘Shared responsibility means shared ownership. A sense of inclusion means individuals are more willing to give themselves to a common cause’.
Dual Leadership has been pivotal to the All Blacks success.

Ask yourself: Are you playing your team big enough? Who can you empower today with more responsibility?

No Dick Heads - Follow the Spearhead
In a flock of birds, one bird leads, another follows, another takes the lead, it is an endless support system. “Ornithologist say that flying this way is 70% more effective than flying solo. It a bird falls out of formation, it feels the wind resistance and rejoins the flock. Should one fall behind, others stay back until it can fly again. No bird gets left behind.”
In the Maori culture the word ‘Whanau’ means to ‘be born’, for the Maori, it translate to our family, our friends, our tribe, our team. It embodies the essence of we ‘fly in formation, be of one mind, follow the spearhead’.
The All Blacks strictly adhere to the ‘No Dick Heads’ philosophy. They each hold a deep belief that ‘No one is bigger than the team individual brilliance does not lead to outstanding results. One selfish mindset will infect a collective culture.’

Ask Yourself: Are you or do you have a dick head on your team?

Know thyself, keep it real.
The All Blacks believe that the development of the authentic self is a critical component to high performance. There is a common saying in the team ‘Better people lead to better All Blacks’.
‘The best leaders remain true to their deepest values, they lead their own life and others follow’. The All Blacks have created a culture where honest, authentic and safe conflict can exist.

Ask yourself: How do I show up as a leader? Do I show my humanity? Do my team know what I value?

Why is this book important? Humility, authenticity, no dick heads ….. That’s the kind of work place I want to be in. Enjoy reading!

Forward by: Tess Sloane , Talent Lab

TechnicalTalent Lab