This book is called ‘Legacy – What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life’ and is written by James Kerr.
The All Blacks, the New Zealand national rugby team, are one of, it not the, most successful professional sports franchise in history, undefeated in over 75% of their international matches over the last 100 years. This book dives deep to uncover what is needed in developing an extraordinary high-performance culture and how to maintain it over time. What do we — as individuals, companies, and teams — learn from them?
The book combines anecdotes from those directly involved in the All Blacks success, to quotes and stories from some of the most successful coaches and people involved in sport. The pages are packed with insights, quotes, and messages.
A big part of that is when the team comes together before each game to perform the haka, reminding everyone who they are, why they are there, and where they came from. Work ethics, continuous improvement, and creation of an ethos are just a few examples of what the All Blacks are using to maintain such high level of performance. No one is bigger than the team
The All Blacks have always worked to create a long-term successful cultural legacy and a summary of the 15 Lessons in Legacy is:
Character – this begins with humility and discipline. Even after a major win, the All Blacks finish their celebrations and ‘Sweep the Sheds’ — because no one looks after the All Blacks — the All Blacks looks after themselves
Adapt – when you are on top of your game, change your game. This continuous improvement was able to lift the All Blacks to an even better win rate.
Purpose – Play with Purpose and Ask Why? Understand the purpose for which you are playing. Better people make better All Blacks.
Responsibility – Be a leader, not a follower — pass the ball. Leaders create leaders by passing responsibility, creating ownership, accountability, and trust.
Learn – Create a learning environment. Leaders are teachers.
Whanau – The All Blacks stated policy of ‘No Dickheads’ excludes highly talented prima-donnas.
Expectations – Embrace Expectations — aim for the highest cloud. Successful leaders have high internal benchmarks, they set their expectations high, and try to exceed them.
Preparation – Train to win, practice under pressure. Practice with intensity to develop the mindset to win. Get out of your comfort zone. If you are not growing anywhere, you are not going anywhere.
Pressure – The first stage of learning is silence; the second stage is listening. Know how to manage, deal and embrace pressure. Control your attention. Bad decisions are made because of an inability to handle pressure at the pivotal moment.
Authenticity – Know thyself, keep it real. If you succumb to peer pressure and do things because others want you, you will be cut-off. Be genuine, stay true to yourself and be honest with your environment.
Sacrifice – Find something you would die for and give your life to it. Do the above and beyond for a cause, activity or mission you believe in. Champions do Extra.
Language – Let your ears listen. Invent a language — A system of meaning that everyone understood. A language, vocabulary and a set of believes that bind the group together. Leaders are storytellers.
Ritual – Ritualise to actualise. Create a culture. A culture of continually growing and chaining. Identity and purpose need to evolve and update.
Whakapapa – Be a Good Ancestor. Plant trees you’ll never see. Connect the past, present, and future. True leaders take responsibility adding to the future. Ensure knowledge transfer. Leave the jersey in a better place.
Legacy – Write your Legacy. This is your time. Be purposeful. Add to the ethos, make your mark.
There are some great lessons and learnings from within each of these aspects and the book goes into detail about each one. The book is filled with great stories about the All Blacks culture but it also brings in examples from other sports and business to link them all together.