Leadership, Our Thinking

Values as a Lens


A big discovery Leadership teams in business often make is that they create organisation values but don’t really use them to their true potential.

Within sustainably winning sporting teams we see the use of values to create the identity of teams and organisations and ultimately use them as a lens for appropriate behaviours, decision making and communication. In turn, enhancing team trust and confidence.

A great example of this is the most successful sporting team in the world, The New Zealand All Blacks. Like many sporting teams the All Blacks don’t just put words up in the gym or use them on a letterhead.

The All Blacks have managed to find a way to use value based story telling to drive the behaviours and hence culture of their team. The power of this has been that due to their high profile the All Blacks have acted as a Leadership Team to a Nation. As a consequence of this communication and role modelling they have been able to influence and enhance the culture of the whole of New Zealand population and as a result the country has got a reputation of over-achieving.

In the published book Legacy by James Kerr he explains examples such as “plant trees you will never see” for Legacy, “aim for the highest cloud” for Aspiration, the Rajah Kipling poem “the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack” for Teamwork and perhaps their most famous “sweep the sheds” for Respect and the Haka as a display of united Strength and Prowess before a battle.

By using story the All Blacks have been able to create meaning to their values and therefore accountability to live true to these values. In doing so, they are using them as a lens for the behaviours within their culture. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your organisation could do the same?

Reference : Legacy, What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life by James Kerr

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