The Food of a Leader, is Story

Chris Teague - 4.5 mins

Who’s it for: Anyone interested in creating a high performance culture.

What’s it for: Understanding the components of a high performance team.

3yrs to the day, on a long-haul flight to South Africa, I read one of the most influential books in my professional career; that book was Legacy By James Kerr: and it is the reddest inked and dog-eared book I’ve owned as I found so many of the lessons relevant and insightful when leading an agency.

The All Blacks are the world’s most successful sporting team, undefeated in over 75% of their international matches over the last 100 years. But this is not a book about rugby; it is a book about culture. The book explores the secrets of sustained success by asking how do you achieve world-class standards, day after day, week after week, year after year?

The book has been so influential for myself and our agency we’ve added ‘Like the All Blacks we Always Strive for Better’ to our Team Code which lives and breathes within us all.

“Better People Make Better All Blacks” This was the quote that stood out most for me. The route of this is education; each and every person must be committed to becoming a better version of themselves. There are so many quotes that stood out - these are just some I thought I’d share:

  • “To become an All Black means becoming a steward of a cultural legacy. Your role is to leave the jersey in a better place.”
  • “To enhance the jersey and pass it on in a better state than what it was when you got it. ‘Sweep the sheds’ Never be too big to do the small things that need to be done.”
  • “All Blacks tidy up after themselves. Sweeping the sheds. Doing it properly. So no one else has to. Because no one looks after the All Blacks. The All Blacks look after themselves.”
  • “It’s not expecting somebody else to do your job for you. It teaches you not to expect things to be handed to you. Collective character is vital to success. Focus on getting the culture right; the results will follow.”
  • “It is the identity of the team that matters – not so much what the All Blacks do, but who they are, what they stand for, and why they exist.”
  • “For the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
  • “High-performing teams promote a culture of honesty, authenticity and safe conflict.”
  • “The challenge is always to improve, to always get better, even when you are the best. Especially when you are the best.”

As an agency and on the back of reading this excellent book we’ve been doing a lot of work on our team to have safe conflict, and it’s not easy to do. It involves everyone saying how they honestly feel about things, sharing our personal stories, so we each understand what shapes our opinions on business and life.

We’ve had tears and undoubtedly times of great discomfort; however, having done the task we all feel closer and we better understand why we behave in certain ways and in certain environments or circumstances. I would encourage any team aiming to be the best team they can be to read this book and to start having safe conflict.

I hope you find the time to read the book and most importantly action the learning.

What the All Blacks can teach us about leadership Better People Make Better All Blacks