Last week, I was lucky to get to hear from a rugby coach who has won the most national championships, 29 to be exact. Jack Clark has coached many people and he shared a few key stories that support the idea of Living Alive, either in your business or personal life. He focused on one important story, the success of the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team. If you haven’t heard of the team, look them up because their stats are incredible! The team started playing in 1903 and, since then, they have an all-time winning percentage of 77.41%… that’s unheard of in the sports world! After listening to Clark’s story, I asked myself, “what makes this team stand out from the rest of their competitors?”
Answer: They have an “all for one” mindset
The All Blacks are winners because they demand a level of energy and dedication throughout their entire team. This energy is Living Alive because people or, in this case, teammates want to be around others who give off contagious energy. Aside from that, the All Blacks have a not-so-secret locker room practice that bonds their team together and leads them to victory. After games and practices, both the team Captain and vice-captain follow a “sweep the shed” tradition. This means they stay behind, clean up the locker room or “shed” and do some laundry.
Sweep the shed sounded like a crazy idea to me when I first heard about it last week. In my mind, when you’ve worked to be a high-ranking player that means others are assigned to do your chores. Look at college football or even the NBA, there’s no way the star quarterback OR LeBron James are ever going to pick up after their sweaty teammates in the locker room. After I sat with the idea for a bit, I realized that the All Blacks are onto something and I came up with three key takeaways:
– Be Humble: To serve others, no matter what your rank, is a privilege. Practicing humility creates a culture of openness where trust can be established on a deeper level either on or off the field. You don’t have to be on a rugby team to practice humility. Stay late in the office to help your team finish a project with a tight deadline or offer to clean up after a company meal. Even reaching out to someone and telling them they did a good job can mean a lot.
– Lead By Example: When you’re picking up sweaty uniforms or cleaning the floors after a muddy practice, you’re not putting yourself on a pedestal. In the end, you put energy into something to inevitably get that energy back. It’s important to create an environment where people are supported, instead of pitted against each other.
– Respect: I learned what respect was while listening to Aretha Franklin as my mom drove and I sat in the back of her car. The All Blacks understand that different players have different skill sets. Instead of competing with those skill sets, they embrace each individual strength so they can get ahead and score big.
I’m not saying you have to clean the toilets in the office or vacuum the floors covered in crumbs, but you can find a way to give back to your own team, whether that’s at the office or in your home. Like the All Blacks in New Zealand, you can Live Alive by giving your energy back to your team and going the extra mile to be humble and show your appreciation.