Monday, December 1, 2014

One for the All Blacks

By Pascal Dennis

The Maple Leafs – Lowest of the Low blog generated fine feedback - and not a few catcalls from disaffected fans! Thanks, everyone.

Tip of the cap to Mike Butler, my Kiwi friend & colleague, for excellent insights into the nature of excellence in sport, and in life.


Something remarkable has been happening with New Zealand’s legendary All Blacks rugby squad since their disappointments in the mid-aughts.

First, commitment to a set of principles [Here]

Second, an unshakeable focus on the process. [Here]

The AB’s purpose is elegantly expressed: “Leave the jersey in better place.”

Living by a code and focusing on the process takes fortitude, the ancient word for courage.

(”Says easy, does hard”, as we used to say in the old Toyota factory.)

When things are going badly for a business, temptation whispers, “It’s mid-year, and we’re losing the game. To heck with our process!”

In a panic, the management team jettisons its strategy and starts pressing random buttons. (“Something is bound to happen!)

In fact, things usually get worse, because we’ve added random variation to the system.

Don’t want to be misunderstood. By all means review target versus actual, both for end-of-pipe and process measures, and adjust as needed.

But follow the strategy deployment process. Grasp the situation with respect to gaps, go see for yourself, and involve team members in improvement.

Come to think of, this sounds like the AB’s process.

Best,

Pascal


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