An Engaged Team With One Goal Stronger Together

I am by no means a rugby watcher and the only game I watched during the recent Rugby World Cup was the final and only because South Africa was playing in it. For those of you who watched it, oh my word there are no words that can explain just how nail biting it was, but we did it, South Africa won. What a proud moment for us as South Africans, our faith and belief in our team stood the test of time and together they did it. The vibe in Johannesburg and I am sure throughout the rest of South Africa was electrically phenomenal, one that I can’t even begin to describe, one I will always remember.

As it happens after any major sporting event there are millions of photos, videos and interviews and I found myself caught up in it all. I spent quite a few hours going through social media to make sure that I had watched everything that there was to watch and seen every photo that there was out there. But what really grabbed my attention was the press conference with Rassie Erasmus (Coach) and Siya Kolisi (Captain). Were you able to watch this press conference, if not please do watch it?

As a Business Teams Coach who assists organizations in building High Performing Accountable Teams the below key points stood out to me, these points are what I believe every team needs to succeed:

  1. Clear Vision – The team had a clear vision of what they needed to do to win the World Cup, they knew that they were not on par with the other teams that they would be playing against and needed to put in the extra time and effort if they wanted to win. Everyone bought into this vision and gave their 100%.
  2. Belief in themselves as a team – Because they believed that they could win the World Cup, Rassie said they needed 20 weeks together, 19 in Japan and the last week would be the victory tour throughout South Africa. Did you know, South Africa was the first team to arrive in Japan and the last team to leave (accept of course for Japan)?
  3. Clear and Simple Plan – Everyone on the team knew what the plan was for the final, as Siya says “Rassie made it clear and kept it simple.”
  4. Praising the players but not losing sight of what needed to be done – Rassie kept on telling the team how good they are but in the same breath drove them extremely hard and as Siya says “He drove us to work hard and drove us to places we have never been before.”
  5. Consistency – Rassie’s focus was building a consistent team, he says that’s what the top teams did right, He realized that this was an issue in the team and focused on this from the minute he took over the coaching position.
  6. Communication and teamwork – As per Siya from the first meeting Rassie had with them as coach he was very straightforward with them. He told them that the shift had to come from them, that rugby and the Springboks were more important than their personal goals.
  7. Honesty – Siya says the most important thing Rassie brought in the team was honesty he was always honest with them. The honesty was tough in the beginning but they always knew where they stood with him, where they stood as a team, they got used to it.
  8. Mindset Change – Social media had taken over their lives they had forgotten about playing rugby and with the mindset change that Rassie brought they went off social media to focus on the game on the team.
  9. Short term targets – They had short term targets that they wanted to achieve as a build up to the World Cup – They saw the Wellington Test Match which they played before the World Cup as an equivalent of a Quarter Final at the World Cup, they knew that if they could win this they had a chance at the World Cup. They won that test match against New Zealand.
  10. Positivity – Rassie prepared the team for the possibility of them not winning, he would say “Nothing is achieved easily” and even though he said this to the team he was still able to keep them positive.
  11. Trust – Siya said once they all bought into the plan they knew they could win.
  12. Growth – Rassie had been watching Siya play rugby during his high school career and once he was 18 and had written matric he brought Siya to Cape Town to play for the Stormers. Rassie was then the coach for the Stormers.
  13. Self-Belief – Siya mentions that when he turned 16 he realized that he had the potential to one day play for The Springboks and from then worked hard to achieve his dream.
  14. Engaged Team Players – each team player was 100% engaged with the team, their focus was nowhere else but on the end goal, to win the World Cup.
  15. Infinite Leadership – Rassie already has a plan for what is next, what goal The Springboks are working towards next. His thinking didn’t end at the World Cup. The team comes home, does the week trophy tour, they have a couple days at home and then they start training again.
  16. Remain Humble – during the entire interview neither Rassie nor Siya took any credit for the success of the team.

Whether you are the leader or team member of an organization or a sporting team the same core principles are needed to build a high performing accountable team. The rules to the game are the same the players in every team needs to be 100% engaged and they need to be all about the success of the entire team and not only themselves. The leaders/coaches don’t always have the easiest jobs they need to start by leading from the front, keeping their teams grounded, encouraged and energized at all times. Each member of the team is part of the puzzle that holds the team together, so when focus is lost or there is a bit of a setback the leader/coach needs to steer the team back making sure that no momentum is lost.

I believe when it comes to team work there is no difference in business or sports everyone is works towards the same goal and that’s to succeed and be the best.

Are you a leader you would follow and are you a team member you would want on your team?

Written by: Ana-Lize Drummond

I help organizations maximize their profits and discover their why, their purpose, by building high performing engaged teams.

Published on: Nov 7, 2019

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