What contributed to the success of All Blacks and how could that experience be applied to an organization. Can a rugby player add value to the world of commerce? This was an assignment given to University Students studying for a post graduate degree. The response was interesting and another question was posed. What can managers learn from Julius Caesar and how can this be applied to better rugby in Sri Lanka.
The All Blacks are arguably the best Rugby playing Nation in the world. They got there by working to get the best out from players. The individual has to be coached to be Responsible, Professional, while maximizing full Potential, be Creative and Prepare. This is same as “coaching” the corporate manager to be better.
A team is no longer coached to play the same way and there is no coaching as backs and forwards. It is about individual coaching. Each player is coached to accept responsibility if they make a mistake they are accountable. They are taught to learn and move on.
That is what the business world will look for in the manager: to be responsible, accountable and not to mope over mistakes but to get on to win. As in the world of business a player has to be professional on and off the field as well when training and playing. Professionalism and presentation will lead to bigger and better things for rugby and business.
Players are taught to have the passion to prepare to maximize their full potential on the rugby field. Coaches work with individuals, studying each players approach to the game. Preparation is one of the ultimate keys to success.
Player preparation is paramount, making sure they make every stride to achieve optimum results. The culture has installed the importance of preparation, with players consistently performing week in and week out, while improving as they strive to become the best they can be. Quality coaching brings the best out of players, and by having players driven by motivation, commitment and the passion to prepare, gives better results in the field. The All Blacks expansive style of rugby has been taught through creativity. Coaches bring forward new ideas, aiming to be more creative than their opposition and conduct a better learning environment, developing winning players in the long run.
Arguably the rugby player is a readymade fit for the entity that is looking ahead. Probably that is why organizations such as JKH take their annual inter-company rugby as a prize event. What rugby is about will be a reason for the aspiring sportsman to concentrate on a game that can take you to a position in the corporate world. This is a good reason to market the game by the Union as well as the schools.
Rugby can be an important component to a better life and success. Sri Lanka has to take the game forward? What can we learn from Julius Caesar and apply to rugby in Sri Lanka.
“Six inches of point beats two feet of blade”. The Roman legions conquered most of the known world using javelins and the standard issue short-sword called a Gladius. This was a short stabbing weapon, not a hacking/slicing weapon. The six inches of stabbing point beat its longer, scarier counterparts in battle. The legions were trained to use it properly. The difference between effectiveness and failure lies in how expertly a tool is used. Bigger and better doesn’t guarantee success. A well trained player with a simple structure can be much more effective than a less well trained hulk. I asked them how then have the Japanese being unable to conquer. The answer was “probably Julius Caesar has not been translated to Japanese”.
While Julius Caesar was in command of his legions, he was hailed as a hero. His men would have followed him anywhere: he led them to victory and glory. When he returned to Rome after defeating his rival Pompey, Caesar tried to rule as a dictator. The result: Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators. Leadership promises a better tomorrow. It engages, fascinates and inspires. That is what rugby in Sri Lanka needs today more than ever. Control is a crushing weight that no man ever accepts freely. It breeds resentment, hatred and fosters discord and revolution.
“I came, I saw, I conquered.” The ingredients of leadership are a brew of courage, vision and intelligence: its flavor and appeal are the wins. Winning gives you something to talk about. Not winning means you should talk less and work more. You have to Build Rugby, Grow Rugby and Win Rugby. There’s just no getting around it: There are no shortcuts.
“Cowards die many times before their actual death.” Be bold. Take chances. Every time you don’t speak, every time you let some jerk take credit for your work. Winning, being successful, beating the competition isn’t achieved by playing defensively. Every win is a succession of decisions that imply risk and take courage. Likewise, every failure is a succession of decisions marred by fear and cowardice. Speak your mind, don’t let yourself be intimidated. Your opinion is as valuable as theirs. Rugby needs it.
“I had rather be first in a village than second at Rome.” Some folks are just happy to be there. Others are satisfied having participated or content to be 2. Leaders don’t fit into any of these categories. They want to be 1 and rugby must climb to that spot. It’s a personality trait, nothing more. It can’t be faked or learned. You’re either this type of person or aren’t. Read understand for the sake of rugby.
“It is not the well-fed long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the hungry-looking.” If we have to succeed be careful of emerging Philippines, India and others. Look for the hungry kid who has ambition and nothing to lose but has the courage to try. Until Julius Caesar marched into Gaul and made it a Roman territory, it was a wild and savage land Rome feared. He had a vision of what could be, and he made that vision a reality. Contribute. Create something of value.
“Ask everything of your people, but reward them like kings”. The men who served in Julius Caesar’s legions and survived to the end retired wealthy. Everyone who contributed to the success deserves more reward than you can afford. That is what the players will need.
“The die is cast.” Make decisions. Live with those decisions. It’s that simple. Once you’ve committed yourself and rugby to a course of action, to play a tactical path, you’re committed. The time for doubt or indecision is gone. Stay the course and brave the storm. It’s all you can do. Leadership isn’t for everybody. It takes nerves of steel, sometimes. It’s hard on the soul.
* Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB