What Does Software Development Have In Common With The All Blacks?

November, 2015

Winning in business is a tough game; we've drawn some parallels between the lessons applied by the All Blacks and those required to be successful in business.

This month our blog is taking a break from the technology focus and instead we are having a brave look at ourselves and assessing ways we can do things better. This inspiration has come from the quadrennial event that is the Rugby World Cup. The New Zealand All Blacks beat the Australian Wallabies in the final on Saturday 31st October to become the first team to win the Webb Ellis Cup in consecutive tournaments. It’s obvious they’re not just a bunch of talented players running around a pitch together; they form a cohesive team that has worked hard to become this dominant force.

Winning in business is also a tough game; parallels can be drawn between the lessons applied by the All Blacks and those that are required to be successful in business. We’ve been tracking the All Blacks’ coach, Steve Hansen, and trying to take some tips from him. Here’s our take!

  • Fully rounded characters only – you could be the very best rugby player ever but if you have nothing else to offer you won’t be considered by the All Blacks. Why? Because they believe character is an equally important talent. Make sure you have well rounded people with a great skill set alongside you.
  • Set high standards – the All Blacks have their own set of standards both on and off the pitch which sets them apart and provides a solid framework which the world recognises. There is no shirking, these standards apply to all. Do you instil standards that make a positive difference to the way all of your team operates?
  • Leadership – we like the All Blacks idea that a team is made up of 15 leaders and one captain. So everyone takes responsibility and doesn’t hang around waiting to be told what to do. That’s perhaps anathema to some organisations but the All Blacks combine this with a great cooperative spirit where everyone is working for the team and not just for themselves.
  • Humility – no matter how successful the All Blacks become they keep their feet planted firmly on the ground. Menial tasks are not simply passed on to an eager junior apprentice; instead the players tidy up after themselves. Are your team members keeping in touch with all aspects of their work, including the stuff they might not like so much?
  • Respect the competition – after every match the All Blacks acknowledge that they have just played another group of men who were trying to do the same as them. Respect for the other team is another of the All Blacks’ core tenets. Do you know who your competition is and what their strengths and weaknesses are? It’s not a case of just winning the next contract but understanding who you are up against and what can set you apart from them.

Using some of the pointers from the All Blacks could be just what you need to re-focus and re-energise your team. They are some of the values that we base our own business on, every day, one day at a time.

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