Last Thursday, here at Passle we ran our Annual Rainmaker event in London: Rainmaker 19.
Our final speaker of the day was Ben Ryan and what a superb job he did. In fact, if you are ever looking for entertainment, laughter, inspiration, raw emotion and motivation from a speaker at an event you are running ... make sure you get in touch with Ben Ryan.
Often, a speaker will try and wedge learnings from sport into the business world but Ben's story of taking the role as Head Coach of the Fiji rugby 7s team and leading them to Olympic glory had genuinely authentic, amazing parallels with running a successful team within a business and the theme of the event: Distributed Leadership.
Ben told the story of taking some exceptionally talented rugby players but who lacked the fitness, the nutritional knowledge and the tools to go out and be the best in the world. In three years, Ben had turned them into Olympic champions and helped them win Fiji's first ever Olympic medal of an colour.
The top few points I took from Ben's talk:
1. The importance of building "Trust and Accountability" and how that has to go both ways with your team. You have to go on the "shop floor" regularly and listen – hear the tone of your team and feel the pulse
2. Plan your work and work your plan. It's an old one but never less true. Build a plan that focuses on your objectives and then stick to it.
3. Understanding the Purpose. Ensure that your team are able to connect with what you are asking them to do with the "why". Also get to know each of your team individually and realise that everyone is different with different motivations.
Ben set strong discipline with his team, he worked hard to understand their culture and what motivated each of the individuals and he gave them the tools to go and be the best they could be as individuals and as a team. By the time they took the field for the Olympic final, his job was done, he could do more. The players knew what they had to do.
Ben recently wrote a best selling book with his story and is a brilliant read with some amazing lessons to transfer to leading successful teams at your own business: Sevens Heaven: The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream