Are you prepared to put your balls on the line?
What is it that champions do that make the difference? How do they out-perform others on a consistent basis and achieve spectacular results?
We know it’s a combination of many factors, including self-belief, discipline, motivation, determination, attitude and resilience, but one simple common behaviour can be distilled from all of these factors.
Champions do extra. They go the extra mile and, sometimes, they literally do put their “balls on the line” to achieve their goals and those of their team.
This week, we have been enjoying the brilliant book, “Legacy”, by James Kerr, which explores the most successful sporting teams ever – the All Blacks rugby union team – and what they can teach all of us about life and business
Kerr tells an excruciating tale of how, in 1986, Buck Shelford demonstrated extreme resilience in the face of adversity during his debut as the All Blacks captain. The game was subsequently dubbed: ‘The Battle of Nantes’ and is considered one of the most gripping and hard fought matches in the history of rugby. It is not an easy read, so be warned, but it is eye wateringly moving.
Just 20 minutes into the game, Buck was embroiled in an aggressive ruck in which he lost four teeth and suffered when a french boot collided with his groin, severing his scrotum and exposing at least one testicle. Limping to the sideline he instructed a medic to sew up the wound, without anaesthetic, returning to the game, where he continued playing, only to be substituted later on after a blow to the head left him badly concussed.
Although this example of “champion” mentality is extreme to say the least, it represents a particularly profound form of courage and commitment to a cause… to never give up, to “spill blood” and to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for your team. To put your “balls on the line” for what you believe in. Buck would be the first one to tell you, that this attitude had little to do with him – its simply the All Blacks’ culture… their winning culture.
So how far would everyone in your Senior Leadership Team go to secure victory? How strong is your culture in business? It’s critically important because it’s the foundation for outstanding performance and results.
As Lou Gerstner, who turned around IBM, once said “culture isn’t just one aspect of the game; it’s the game”