February 12, 2016

David Kirk’s leadership philosophy draws heavily on the All Blacks culture

By David Kirk in The Australian Financial Review via www.afr.com

What are managers and investors are looking for when we say we are focused on a high-performing organisation or a high-performance culture?

I feel very confident I know what such an organisation looks and feels like. The best, most successful teams or organisations have a unity of purpose and an emotional commitment to what they are trying to achieve that is palpable. This spirit, this essence, is very difficult to define, but you can't miss it when you see it or feel it and it literally takes over when you are a part of it.

The core feature is that motivation for the members of the team or company moves from being instrumental to being intrinsic.

The question for those of us interested in building better businesses is this: how do we create an environment in which a chosen, selfless commitment to do great work and achieve great things flourishes?

My view is this:

First, team members need to respect and believe in what has gone before and want to build on that heritage.

And then there needs to be sufficient freedom for team members to make choices about what to do and how to do it. This makes them owners of outcomes in a way no position description or plan ever will.

The drive to win and the inherent uncertainty of competition requires problem-solving, which is an exercise of creativity, which in its exercise is rooted in the desire to give.

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