Archive for October 2011
Stop blaming the referee or the Aussies : It was a lack of strategic insight and I am getting fed up of it!
Callie Roos is a South African leading business consultant in leading change initiatives for both businesses and teams. This he does in the facilitation of leadership thinking, management skills, team processes and as a guiding coach for senior management teams.
It was a lack of strategic insight and it was waiting for us! It was there all the time and some of us could see it!
My point. There are many dimensions of strategic insight:
- That which helps us to see in advance and interpret what is still to come.
- That which happens in or during the battle (game) that asks for quick and often split second decision-making.
- That which we reflect on when it is all over.
Best for me is to use the example in the quarter final game itself. At half time the following was clear (at least in my mind):
- Line out superiority, by the Springboks, with Victor Matfield at his world class best!
- Good solid right shoulder execution of the scrum by the Springboks!
- Good solid defence in the midfield (true of both sides) with Schalk Burger playing one of his best disciplined games ever.
- Good solid defence by both team’s defensive lines (it was called a battle of attrition by one of the TV commentators).
- Australia’s total dependence on their ability and reputation to be the best defensive side in the world was clear.
- The referee’s total lack of interpretation on some of the rules of the game at breakpoint allowing both teams to get away with murder etc.
From a more strategic perspective the following was imperative:
- The Springbok team selection was brilliant (nothing wrong with that).
- The technical training and support staff were good (technically we were brilliant on the day when you think of handling; tackling; general discipline, etc.)
- The Springboks were playing with the best in form kicking (attacking) scrumhalf and fly half in the world (include the full-back if you want to as an attacking kicker of the ball.)
- Our two wings belong to the best when it comes to following up the high kicking ball or when kicked deeply into the defensive corners.
- The Springboks had superior dominance in both possession and territory.
- The Australian fly half was having his worst game ever and experiencing a lot of pressure becoming very vulnerable. So everyone around him.
- The Springboks had a slight breeze blowing in their favour and from behind.
- The war of attrition was going nowhere for both teams (the dam wall will not break).
- In the 1st half the Australians pushed us off the ball at breakpoint at critical moments (they did it; we didn’t, simply because it was not in our strategy but in theirs and it worked for them). For Australia this was their only strong point other than their defence.)
- The discipline in both teams was exceptionally good (taking cognisance of the fact that the referee was totally lost in the interpretation of what is happening at the breakpoint).
The zone of strategic insight is then to explore the following:
- See what nobody else is seeing (this is a gift) – this has got nothing to do with the drinking of red bull.
- Stay calm and facilitate the ability to consider different alternatives – this has got nothing to do with speaking on the TV at half time.
- The ability to choose and lead from a sense of wholeness and pro-activeness where you dictate the space of breakthrough and then get everyone to focus on it – this has got everything to do with genius.
- The ability to go with your intuition and create a belief around the domain (intelligence) of possibility – this goes beyond the administrator!
With this in mind there were many alternative options to consider. Some of these then could have been (let me mention 4):
- Place kick (with precision) the ball into the corners as best you can and then dominate the game from there.
- Use the rolling/ driving mall (our reputation was to be the best in the world – why not get it to work for you against a team who was getting drained in defence).
- Use short tactical kicking close to the defensive line and give your speed machines on the wings an opportunity to get in touch with the ball.
- Allow Biscmark du Plessis to play the 1st 60 minutes (he was brilliant) and allow John Smit the last 20 minutes as captain to lift the ‘crown’. This would allow the captain to also use his strategic insight looking at the game from the bench as it is often very difficult to ‘see’ whilst playing.
My point. Applying just the above or a combination would already give you alternative options from what happened in the 1st half. Remember, there are two things the referee can’t influence:
- A drop or place kick going through the posts.
- A try scored over the try-line.
In Conclusion. Generally speaking our leadership thinking in South Africa often goes back to the Second World War. I say this with sadness. This is not only true of some sport administrators, but also many politicians, community and some business leaders.
Therefore my opinion in this brief is not one of critique but one of understanding and if we as South Africans don’t learn the lessons soon we will keep on making the same mistake and pay the price for it. Our nation will also become more and more demoralized simply because it does not have to be like this. Our leaders are simply not good in reading the signs in a proactive way where the outcomes are dictated by our ability to see the whole and then allow for the best possible input in the zone of creativity and innovation.
I guess what we are looking for is leaders that have the mental frame of strategic mobility, agility, surprise and instinct. The inherent capacity to break through the traditional lines of defensive thinking where everything is based on high levels of adaptability, quick decision-making, trustworthiness and ingenious. All of this happens in the context of effective energy management as there is nothing to waste as we become so good in doing that nothing will go wrong. High levels of self-confidence and self-reliance is implied.
That is maybe why if we look for those to lead South African rugby into the future we will not have to look at experience in the 1st place. I can think of many attributes more important than that. Things like integrity, authenticity, inspiration, capacity for growth, understanding, meaning, knowledge about people, etc. In this context I also want to believe that more decision-making authority should go back to those who are actually on the field playing, playing the game.
I do feel for the nation and their disappointment, so the players. They did not deserve this. This was a world cup team that could go all the way. Many people could have helped in the process but for obvious reason we are not invited and that I do understand. My take is that the coach-leaders of the future need people who can assist and help to pull it off. In South Africa this is what I have become for many business teams, a facilitator guide who can influence the outcome on a strategic level and pull it off and one day we will hopefully become this for our politicians, community leaders and sport administrators. We are the ones who do not care who get the credit as long as we deliver on our goals and targets as promise. This is what the nation pays for and they have a right to get only the best on a higher strategic level of insight.
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