The New Zealand All Blacks have won over 75% of all matches they have ever played. They have been ranked the world's best rugby team for 80% of the time since the world rankings existed. Their greatness is in little doubt, and if you want to create a high-performing organisation, you might want to take note of how they do it.
Let's put one theory to bed - they work harder than other teams. There's no evidence for that and it's frankly offensive to other elite rugby nations. It's a convenient story to tell, as it perpetuates the myth that success is about quantity of effort and motivation. Want better exam grades, quicker marathon times, or a more successful career? Just work harder and you'll get there. Not true.
The All Blacks team is part of the New Zealand Rugby Union, both of which operate within a historical and cultural context. To understand the All Blacks success we need to see the 'big picture'. Explaining that in two minutes isn't easy, and there's only one minute remaining in this post. So, for now, consider the following:
There is an overwhelming desire amongst all stakeholders for New Zealand rugby to be successful. This desire and passion helps foster a sense of community amongst all involved. How many of your colleagues are genuinely driven by the company's mission statement?
Everything within the larger rugby framework is congruent with this desire to succeed. They minimise conflicts of interest. Think about that the next time you want your team to do well, but prioritise rewarding individual performance.
Every All Black player is expected to be a leader. That might change your outlook on leadership.
Behaviours consistent with achieving excellence are clearly articulated and, importantly, modelled by key personnel. Do your Exec Directors model company values?
All of these factors are common sense. You've probably read them before. Yet very few companies create cultures that are conducive to exceptional performance.