I’m just going to assume you watched the All Black test against England on Saturday night, because … well of course you did!
The game was a dull advertisement for rugby but offered a wonderful insight into leadership. A few All Black players with only a few minutes left to go in the game and with the game sitting at 15 -15 decided to seize the opportunity to take a quick tap penalty and drive for the English line. Moments later the All Blacks scored the only try of the game and won, maintaining their twenty plus year record of not losing at Eden Park.
The important lesson from this incident is that Aron Cruden who took the tap and go was alerted by Victor Vitto and Baden Barrett, surprised the English who were expecting a normal penalty kick and were caught off guard. Normally a player in Aron’s role would look to the team Captain for an indication as to what to do but to seize the moment Aron needed to make a decision to act now. He did.
After the game the All Black captain and legend Richie McCaw commented that he always backed the players to make decisions for themselves and that he would consider himself less off an effective leader if the players had felt obliged to check with him first.
Does your organisation’s leadership culture believe in and empower staff to make critical, in the moment decisions, that enable your organisation to respond quickly enough to customer desires or competitors’ oversights to take advantage of opportunities as they arise?
I believe this leadership ‘all over the park model’ perfected by the All Blacks is a model many organisations would do well to consider and copy. The world will require more of this type application of leadership (placement and empowered) and less of the old school leadership based on Power and Position.