Business

Eight Characteristics of Winning Teams

Tim Baker

The All Blacks win a lot of games, and as an Aussie, I was keen to find out if we can’t beat them, what can we learn from them? They do a lot of things off the field that many people may not understand until they discover the strategy behind it.

In a recent interview with 11 News, on 11 Network Australia, I discussed the secrets of the All Blacks. See the full interview below. But what did I learn and how can it apply to your team or organisation. Read on to find out…

How do you build an inclusive team?

There were a number of things I thought had contributed to the success of the All Blacks. The first being the Haka and inclusive culture as part of the team organisation. The All Blacks are made up of players from many different ethnic backgrounds: Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Maori, Kiwi, English, and South African to name a few. They use the Haka in a way that represents New Zealand and gives these players from different backgrounds a sense of belonging. When you have a sense of belonging to a group, team or culture you have buy-in from the team members, which builds a more solid foundation for success.

Is talent enough?

I asked one of the All Blacks selectors, “When you’re selecting players, I assume you select on the basis of talent”. The answer surprised me, they added, “Absolutely, but beyond that, if you’re not if you don’t have it mentally between the ears (and I won’t say exactly what he said!) you just don’t get to play.”

The All Blacks team is also, big on legacies. Who you represent, what that represents, and where it comes from are all important considerations when selecting team members. The mantra of “Better people make better All Blacks” character is a huge part of becoming an All Black. Even the best player in the country would find it very difficult to make the team if they are don’t display the right sort of character traits.

What can business leaders learn from this?

This course is for team leaders and managers to learn what the eight characteristics of high-performing teams are, and some different strategies around how we might implement those characteristics. The eight characteristics I have identified are:

  • Building trust,
  • Being agile,
  • Sharing leadership,
  • Managing stakeholders,
  • Creating a purpose,
  • Improving systems,
  • Managing diversity, and
  • Continuous improvement.

In my experience, covering twenty years across twenty-one industries and fourteen countries, I’ve seen a lot of high-performing teams and without exception, they all exhibit these eight characteristics. They are critically important, whether you are a sporting team like the All Blacks, or an organisational team in industry, implementing these characteristics will give your team the best chance of success.

Course participants come back to me say “Hey, this actually works!”, and I think “Well of course it works, I know it works”.

Building a High-Performing Team: The Eight Characteristics of Winning Teams is a one-day course to help you learn about these characteristics and how you can implement them into your team or organisation. I’ve had some really good feedback around the course, and it is very gratifying to know that I have helped teams go from strength to strength. Find out more here.

Video Transcript

What if you could harness the power of the mighty All Blacks to build a high-performing, winning team in your own office?
Leadership expert Dr Tim Baker went behind the scenes with the New Zealand Rugby Union team to discover what drives them to succeed on and off the field. He’s translated that sporting wisdom into the business world and is teaching others through a QUTeX course and book called WINNING TEAMS: The  Eight Characteristics of Winning Teams.

Tim Baker: 
This course is actually for team leaders and managers. And the whole idea of that is that they come along and they learn what the eight characteristics of high-performing teams are. Then we go through some different strategies around how we might implement those eight characteristics of building trust, being agile, sharing leadership, managing stakeholders, creating a purpose, improving systems, managing diversity, and continuous improvement.

So all of those eight are critically important and if you show me any high-performing team, whether it’s the all blacks each team, would actually have those eight characteristics.

Rico Gear:
There’s a number of things I think that um contributed to I think the success of the All Blacks. Obviously, we have the Haka and, and culture, uh, as a part of the team the organisation, the All Blacks team, you know we’re made up of a lot of different, you know, backgrounds ethnic backgrounds: Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Maori, Kiwi, like English, South African. That makes up a lot of the All Blacks so they sort of came up with a way and… and use the Haka in a sense that yep that represents New Zealand but also gave the players from different backgrounds a bit of a buy-in, and I think when… when you have something that yeah you got a sense of belonging to, um, you know you have a more solid foundation for, I think, for success.

Tim Baker:

Well, they win a lot of games that’s a big thing, and… and look I, as an Aussie, I was getting sick to death or getting flogged every year and I thought to myself, well if we can’t beat them at least learn from them.

They do a lot of things off the ball that I think a lot of people wouldn’t understand until they found out about that. When I spoke to one of the selectors of the All Blacks I said, “When you’re selecting players I assume you select on the basis of talent”. They said absolutely but beyond that, if you’re not, if you don’t have it mentally between the ears, and I won’t exactly say what he said, but if you don’t have it between the ears you don’t get a gig, you just don’t get to play.

Rico Gear:

I know the All Blacks are really big on legacies, who you represent, what that represents, and where it comes from. So the mantra of the All Blacks better people make better all blacks character is a huge part of becoming an All Black, as well so you know you might be the best player in the country but if you’re not a certain character, very difficult to become an All Black.

Tim Baker:

I’ve been doing this work for twenty years and across twenty-one industries and fourteen countries – so I’ve seen a lot of high-performing teams. One of the things I do know is that all high-performing teams, and I’ve seen a few in my time, they all exhibit these eight characteristics, yeah. So the course is very much founded on the book and, uh, I’m very proud to say it’s just come out and if we go through the eight characteristics we’ve had, we’ve had, about six of these courses running and we’ve had participants come back and they’ve tried something out and they’ve emailed me and they’ve said “hey this actually works”, and I’m thinking well of course it works, you know. I know it works. So we’ve had some really good feedback around the course and… and hopefully, we can go from strength to strength.

Thank you

 

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Dr Tim Baker is a successful author, international consultant, and thought leader. Tim has written nine books and this program is based on his latest book: WINNING TEAMS: The Eight Characteristics of High Performing Teams. He has worked with some of the largest multinationals and public sector agencies globally. In 2013, Tim was voted one of the 50 Most Talented Global Training & Development Leaders by the World HRD Congress. He is a longstanding Member of QUT Council.

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