In more than 15 years, actively on and off a rugby pitch, playing, coaching, managing or just spectating, I’ve learnt a few vital principles that can be transferred into this project.
I am a strong believer that the sport rugby itself (along with many other sports) is one of the greatest and most effective learning paths one can enter. It helps to shape a distinctive philosophy, inspires to solve problems and encourages an individual to find their own direction.
In my opinion a lot of these principles apply to the field of business as well, and therefore I thought it would be useful to highlight 6 concepts that stand out. This is only a personal view, so I would highly appreciate your thoughts on it, no matter if you agree or disagree.
1 You can only succeed as a Team
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi
Working as a team (Together Everyone Achieves More) is essential. Rugby maybe the ultimate team sport, but it only works if you support each other, in all areas. You need to build and maintain a high level of trust and that works only if individuals connect together and strive towards a common goal. If that is lacking, the other team will punish you.
2 Go Forward!
“Recast your current problems into proactive goals.” Suze Orman
You have to be pro-active at all times. For everything you want, you have to fight for it (“inch by inch”). Taking risks and responsibilities is one of the many great skills you learn from rugby. This sounds a bit militaristic, but in its core it is simply true. Rugby, at the end of the day, is a contest of strength, skill and intelligence.
3 Communicate – At all times.
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success”. Paul J. Meyer
Relentless support and fluent cooperation only works through perfect communication (verbal- and non-verbal). The foundation for effective communication includes talking and listening. It is all about transmitting the right message, at the right time, with the right level of emotions.
4 Focus is Vital
“Concentration is one of the happiest things in my life.” Haruki Murakami
This sport doesn’t allow your mind to wander for a pro-longed period of time. It could result in a painful punishment, like an injury or a defeat. The team that manages to maintain the focus throughout a season is most likely to succeed. An area where so many teams and individuals fail is the inability to maintain a focus.
5 Preparation is the Key for Success
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell
All foundation for success on a rugby field is built in training. You win games in training. The ugly truth of the game – in most cases you get the results of your weekly training efforts and commitments straight away in the game at the weekend. Implementing a strong training ethic is one thing, maintaining one is another. If you are not fit enough in November, you didn’t work hard enough in July, they say.
6 Demonstrate Sportsmanship
“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.” Knute Rockne
Above all, respect is still the highest value of this sport. Respect of the opponent, the referee and of course your own team. In all those years, I’ve seen so many tough referee calls, punch-ups, brutal tacklings and cheap shots, but as soon as the referee blows the final whistle it is all forgotten.