Saturday, May 24, 2008

What can we learn from the Canterbury Crusaders rugby team?

If you haven’t heard of the Canterbury Crusaders, then click here The Canterbury Crusaders are the most successful rugby franchise in Super Rugby based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

You can draw comparisons across many different successful sports teams from the successful Green Bay Packers (NFL) of the 1960’s, the Chicago Bulls (NBA) of the 1990’s, the New York Yankees (MLB), to Manchester United (Football).

When you examine all these teams, all have a couple things in common. A great leader who has vision, stellar management skills, strong meticulous attention to detail and an eye to spot and nurture talent. Add to that a cast of key personnel to execute the vision and plans of the leader.

In Canterbury, they have a successful coach named Robbie Deans who is well known in the rugby world for his professional work ethic, attention to detail, continuous learning and his ‘meritocratic’ culture which moulds his players and extended squad into a ‘no-egos’ culture.

Each and every individual player understands their role in the team and is encouraged to develop their strengths and work on their weaknesses to improve their individual performance. Deans then gels his team together through various drills and team sessions to focus and practice the new game-plan he wants to execute in the next match. The systems and culture of excellence that Deans has created within his franchise is reflected in the number of championships he has won.

As the saying goes, a great team will always beat a team of great players.

What does this have to do with business? Tonnes.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you a visionary leader?
  2. Have you employed a great leader to grow your business?
  3. Is your staff smarter than yourself?
  4. Do you have a strong team culture?
  5. Do you have systems within your business that are easy to follow?
  6. Do you have a culture for success?
  7. Do you reward your team/employees with other benefits?
  8. Are you focused on the small details as well as the large ones?
  9. Are you continuously learning and improving yourself and your people?
  10. Is your staff armed with the right knowledge and tools to deliver the results you expect?
  11. Do you measure the outputs of your individual team members?
  12. Do they know their strengths and weaknesses?
  13. Do you know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?
  14. How focused are your people on achieving the short, medium and long term objectives?
  15. Are you congruent with your message?

These are a couple questions (not in any order of importance) you may want to reflect and chew on. Each situation is different so tailor your initiatives for your specific needs.


The Canterbury Crusaders have just won the right to play in another Super rugby final next weekend and being a one-eyed fan of it’s arch-rival – the Auckland Blues, one can only respect the fantastic work and commitment Robbie Deans has instilled within his franchise.

You may not be a fan of the team but you can sure appreciate great talent in Robbie Deans and his band of Crusaders players.

At the end of the day, it’s the results that will reflect your work and commitment. I have wagered a hard soy skim latte with a friend that the results of next weekend’s final will be another Crusaders win. If I lose, then I know the other team has prepared better than the Crusaders and they will definitely be worthy champions for 2008.

From a coaches point of view, to beat the Crusaders would be equivalent to beating Vince Lombardi and his Packers, Phil Jackson and his Michael Jordan led Bulls, Joe Torre and his Yankees, and Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United team.

Question: How prepared is your business for success?


Andrew Goulding Articles said...

I like your style...but I hate rugby league! Still, as a Sydney-sider (I believe) that's understandable.

I hope that the next six months will prove that I'm every bit as focussed as the Crusaders but only Time will tell.


The Ideas Guy said...

Hey ADG, thanks for your post.

.....the Crusaders play rugby union?

IF you hate rugby league, does that mean you will be supporting the 'Tahs this weekend?

Andrew Goulding Articles said...

Sorry 'bout that, old bean, 'can't help you there, either. I'm a soccer fan, mostly English Premier League.