As we head into the 2015 Rugby World Cup starting this weekend, the world can only look in awe at the phenomenal success of New Zealand's All Blacks. While they might not win this tournament (and as a proud Australian, I hope they don't), the All Blacks have won 75% of all Test matches in more than 100 years and 87% of all Tests since the 2003 World Cup.
This recent success however belies a poor period up to 2004. The turnaround was built from a culture journey with the resolve Better People Make Better All Blacks.
Now being an All Black is one of the pinnacles of sport, and the brand is synonymous with excellence & high performance.
The article linked at the bottom charts the journey, one that has lessons for businesses trying to create a culture to drive high performance.
For a further article that illustrates how the sporting framework sustains the NZ rugby dynasty, read this
Their plan revolved around the following pillars: - Devolved leadership, involving techniques not dissimilar from the military's 'mission command' doctrine; to arm players 'with intention' and trust them to deliver. - Individual personal development; involving creation of a 'living document' that charted individual progress day-by-day, week-by-week, season-by-season. - Creating a learning environment modeled on Henry's experience as a headmaster; a philosophy of continual improvement encapsulated in the phrase 'Champions Do Extra’. - Train to win; training at intensity so Thursday's training was even more brutal than the cauldron of a test match, leading to recalibration of expectations. - A focus on brain biology to identify the effect of stress on cognitive function and develop triggers and anchors to help players cope. - The ritualisation of behaviour around their core narrative; epitomised by development of a new haka, Kapa o Pango.