I am not talking about grey hair, but about a phrase that I learned on Thursday afternoon after hearing the brilliant keynote speaker Ben Ryan at Rainmaker 2019. I am not going to elaborate on Ben's talk too much because it will ruin it for everyone else who hasn't seen him speak before (shivers were sent down my back on numerous occasions) around the amazing journey that he and the Fijian Sevens team went on on route to Olympic Gold in 2016. If you don't have the opportunity to see him speak then his best selling book is the next best thing.
What did resonate with everyone in the room was how the success was built, and how much of the rhetoric can be applied to the business world. The theme of Rainmaker 2019 was around the distribution of leadership and this is ultimately what Ben created with the Fijian team.
He actively encouraged them to be courageous, communicate at all times, be the best version of themselves and to connect to what they were doing. All of the players bought into what success looked like and what was acceptable by agreeing to core values at the start but they also thrived 'within the guardrails' that can be applied to any team in any line of sport or work:
It seems counter-intuitive in some ways but Ben's ultimate goal was to make himself redundant as the coach by empowering and aligning the team. Encouraging authenticity and being kind to people were key drivers of the Fijian rugby teams success as well as keeping things simple.
Once the individuals within the team have bought in, then achieving the goal becomes a lot easier as everyone knows what is expected of them and how they are going to get there. If anyone deviates, then black and white lines become blurred and this is where grey can get you!
Ben's success has meant that he has earned legendary status back on the Pacific Island whilst leaving a framework and an infrastructure allowing for success to be replicated again and again. In exchange, he has adopted the Fijian phrase Veilo mani and placed it at the centre of his philosophy for everything he does.
Love One Another
Peace With Each Other