Do you know what it takes in a business environment to build an exceptional team?

Have you been in a business or organisation where leadership and guidance has resulted in an exceptional team?

What makes a team great and which teams can we not stop talking about?

In the sporting world, which winning teams come to mind – the 2019 Springboks, the All Blacks or Real Madrid …?

On a professional level, can you define a winning team as the great team in your business? Have they achieved exceptional results in the last year considering the trying market conditions?

So, let me ask you again. What makes a team great? Why do some teams leave a legacy and keep on talking about it year after year?

According to the Oxford Dictionary: “A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal”.

In great teams we find a high level of synergy. Team members with complementary skills working together in a coordinated effort that allows each member to maximize their strengths.

In his book Legacy, James Kerr talks about the 15 Lessons in Leadership and what the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life.

Why  a rugby team? They are arguably the most successful sports team in any code of sport . Enough reason?

I would like to highlight 3 of these lessons that resonated with me regarding business leadership. I believe they contribute significantly to the success and legacy of any exceptional team.

Creating a high-performance business culture

We know that exceptional success is not just something that happens overnight.

It is the product of a clearly defined vision, clearly defined strategic goals, hours of detailed planning, continuous learning and meticulous execution. All of these elements combined, unifies a team of highly talented individuals.

Exceptional success requires exceptional character.

It’s about always improving to be better, even when you are regarded as being the best.

It’s that personalized discipline that holds the team of highly talented individuals together. In business, as in any sport, you need the team to pull together. You most certainly don’t want a group of individuals who are not in sync.

Talent beats character.

According to Kerr, “successful leaders balance pride with humility: absolute pride in performance and total humility before the magnitude of the task.

Let’s not forget Owen Eastwood’s  performance formula, where he states that:

Team Performance = Team Capability + Team Behaviour

In leadership, the environment we create drives the behaviour and the team must know that they are never too big to do the small things that need to be done. Even if that means sweeping the floor.

What’s your purpose?

As leaders and business owners we must connect personal meaning to a higher purpose. In order to create a clear sense of direction for the team and the individual. We need to do our work with purpose and learning from the All Black Team … Better People Make Better Team Members

Simon Sinek talks about “Starting with Why” and as leaders and business owners we must connect personal meaning to create a higher purpose and a sense of direction that our exceptional teams will follow.

During the time that I worked for McCain Foods South Africa, I experienced this firsthand. The R57 million loss-making business that we bought was a burden for the parent company. They did not want the business any longer and wanted to get rid of it asap.

With the backing of the McCain Family a leadership team was put together for the “new” business in South Africa. With the goal to turn the ship around as quickly as possible.  In just one year the leadership team and the team on the shop floor managed to bring the new business to a small profit.

So how was it possible with almost the exact same workforce?

I believe that it all started with the leadership team crafting out a vision for the business: “Every South African eating at least one McCain Meal every day.”

Imagine how that industrial theatre was used to roll out the new vision, mission, and company values to the staff in the 5 locations the business operated in. The team bought into this vision and goals and the business results showed it.

Research has shown that 78% of people believe it’s very important to find meaning and purpose in life and in business.

Remember what Donald Calne said, “reason lead to conclusions and emotion to action.”

If you are after higher performance begin with a higher purpose, start with why.

Ritualize to actualize

We are not all African and we are not all European. As a result, our society has changed and so has our team at work. Our team is made up of all cultures in South Africa and some more. The question is, do we understand what this new culture is that we want to create for our business and for our exceptional team?

How do we go about creating this collective all-inclusive culture that will ensure that the business we are building today is a legacy for our future success?

According to James Kerr, “inspiring leaders establish rituals to connect their team to its core narrative.”  He also states that: “These rituals are used in business to remind, reinforce and reignite the team’s collective identity and purpose.

In our business coaching practice, we have our own rituals.

These rituals are the things we do before starting a coaching session like our WIFLE – what I feel like expressing – where you get to talk about what feelings you have right now. Things that we listen out for is: I am stressed, over worked, unsure, not motivated to name but a few.

Another ritual is the stretch we do before we start a session in GrowthCLUB –  our 90-day business planning sessions. The stretch symbolizes opening yourself up for learning and allowing yourself to be uncomfortable so that you can get the most out of every session and the day.

What are the meanings behind your rituals?

How do they help create a legacy and is your exceptional team involved?

Remember you need to ritualize to actualize.

Connect with me at or get in touch on LinkedIn at  to find out more on how you can create a high performance business culture using effective leadership skills

Yours in better business,

Coach Bert


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