4 Reasons Why Good Governance Is Like Good Rugby


All Blacks II

Ever wondered what good governance looks like?

Think about governance in the same light you would about bringing a good rugby team together and getting them to win.  Both involve dedication, preparation and outcome focused selection to put the right players in the right positions.

For every rugby team, there are different things that need to come together on the day of a match if the team wants to play its best and win.

But, before the big match, the team also needs to practice hard, develop its skills and fitness, know the rules of the game, and learn to work together on the field. It’s more than a game of two halves. It needs a strategic coach, and a skilled captain who knows how to put the coach’s game plan into operation. If all of these things come together, then the team has a good chance of playing well and winning the game.

The team also needs to maintain its performance over the whole year, not just for one game. The players have to keep working on their skills, and if something goes wrong during a match, the coach, captain and team have to work together to fix the problem so they can get back to their best form for the next match.

There are a lot of parallels between the way a rugby team works and the way governance works in your organisation.

1. Strategic Coach

Rugby Coach sets the strategy, objectives, timing and direction.  They know what game to prepare for the most, who needs to improve their performance and what needs to happen to succeed.

The Coach has one eye on the conditions and one eye on the scoreboard.  Their job is to look at how they can learn from the past to put into practice strategies and actions to improve future results.  They need to have a firm grasp of the laws of the game and work within certain constraints but also make the most of every opportunity.  For good governance you need a good Board/ Directors to set great strategy to drive business growth and monitor performance regularly.

2. Richie Can Teach Us a Lot

Take a look at one of the best captains the All Blacks have ever had – Richie McCaw.  This guy knows about vision, values and about keeping his team focused and motivated.  He doesn’t say much, but he demands respect because he “walks the talk”.

He doesn’t try and do everyone’s job thinking he’s the best at everything, basically because he doesn’t have an ego.  He proudly excels at this role, implements strategy, gets team buyin and leads the way.  Do you have a captain on your team who does the opposite?  Do they think they’re experts at everything constantly changing organisational structures (or the team plan) regularly?  If you do, it’s time to replace him with a Richie or help him or her to become one!

3. Creating A Game Plan

The most essential component to any team, be it rugby or good governance, is that everyone has an understanding of where they stand.  This includes clarity around every role and where each individual’s responsibilities lie.  This allows you to move swiftly “past a knock on” or a “forward pass”.  It means your defensive and offensive systems and processes are in place to drive growth and success.  The strategy lies with the team but the success of the strategy relies on the whole team playing their part and putting in the hard yards.

Better still, at selection phase, ensure each team member hits your criteria and you know exactly where to place them when it comes to game day.

4. Teamwork

Last but not least, is understanding that teamwork is what will drive good governance.  You have to know your strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities.  You’re not going to put a hooker in as a fly half in your rugby team, why would you do any differently when it comes to running a successful business?

You can’t afford to carry anyone.  Play to each individual’s strengths and drive it home.  Lay down the ground rules and the laws of the land but remain flexible enough to switch out players if you need to.

If you’re the coach, do you have a “strong forward pack to win the scrum”?  Are your team reliable in the “lineout to win the ball”?  Appraisals and reviews are there for a reason. They’re critical observations to be done regularly so you’re focused on what your players can and cannot do.  It’s up to you to take advantage of your team’s talents and minimize their weaknesses.

Good governance relies on the same thing a good rugby team does when it comes to winning. You need a strong team, clear vision and values, rules and laws, assigned positions and tactical strategy.

With Accounting One whether you want to win the World Cup or the local league we’ll keep you firmly on track to take home the final prize.

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