IMNZ

WHAT SUC­CESS AND FAIL­URE IN SPORT CAN TEACH US

NZ Business - - CONTENTS - Al­ida Rauben­heimer- Coet­zer is the busi­ness sup­port co­or­di­na­tor at IMNZ and a free­lance jour­nal­ist.

Busi­ness can learn a lot from sports, not least the fact that the im­por­tant traits of a suc­cess­ful leader in­clude a com­bi­na­tion of strong ethics, em­pa­thy, hon­esty and the abil­ity to lead by ex­am­ple. By Al­ida Rauben­heimer-Coet­zer.

There is noth­ing quite like the pas­sion­ate ex­cite­ment of par­ents and sup­port­ers next to a school sports field, es­pe­cially on a chilly win­ter’s morn­ing when the en­ergy ig­nites and drives emo­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions – lead­ing to any­thing from heartache and cel­e­bra­tion to con­flict, anger and much more.

Across con­ti­nents and cul­tures young and old seem to find com­mon ground in sport. It’s a driver for unity. It gives mo­men­tum to in­spire suc­cess. And it’s a tool for pur­pose-driven plan­ning, goalset­ting, growth and anal­y­sis.

But, it’s not only sports men and women who aim for suc­cess and who re­lent­lessly drive them­selves and their teams to be win­ners. All of us want to be win­ners, whether as in­di­vid­u­als lead­ing our­selves or as suc­cess­ful busi­nesses aim­ing for growth and pros­per­ity.

In the world of busi­ness to­day, all ide­olo­gies are aimed at the de­vel­op­ment of the emerg­ing lead­ers, the younger gen­er­a­tion of man­agers who are be­ing schooled and formed into the thought-lead­ers and trend­set­ters of to­mor­row.

Most busi­nesses are aware of the crit­i­cal need for soft skills or trans­ferrable skills and the need to in­vest in peo­ple in such a way that it will change be­hav­iour and drive pro­duc­tiv­ity and growth.

There is no deny­ing New Zealand’s fierce sup­port of most any sport that pro­vides a com­pet­i­tive spec­ta­cle. In my opin­ion sport is the back­bone of be­ing Kiwi and also the rea­son for me sit­ting be­hind my com­puter to­day writ­ing about school sport as a build­ing block for a strong work ethic, tenac­ity, re­silience and ca­pa­bil­ity. Many lessons in life, along with our in­her­ent need to seek pur­pose, are very of­ten un­con­sciously di­rected by our ex­pe­ri­ences of suc­cess and fail­ure in the sports arena.

“CON­FI­DENCE IS CON­TA­GIOUS, BUT SO IS A LACK OF CON­FI­DENCE.” ANONY­MOUS

There are many le­gends and heroes who have car­ried the New Zealand flag across the world with much pride. How­ever, it’s of­ten only their ul­ti­mate suc­cesses and the pin­na­cles of their ca­reers that come to mind. I won­der what the learn­ings were when they were young­sters, wish­ing only to have fun with their friends and be­ing quite happy if sev­eral of them made it onto the same team.

“Many lessons in life, along with our in­her­ent need to seek pur­pose, are very of­ten un­con­sciously di­rected by our ex­pe­ri­ences of suc­cess and fail­ure in the sports arena.”

Black Sticks as­sis­tant coach Bryce Collins started play­ing hockey on the North Shore at age six. Avidly chas­ing the dream of fun and games with friends, be­ing part of a team was an op­por­tu­nity for him to con­nect in the com­mu­nity and spend time with his mates. It seems that was his first en­counter with Marc An­thony’s vi­sion of the ideal job: “If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.”

Sport gath­ers peo­ple from across fi­nan­cial di­vides and all spheres of so­ci­ety and it may be the first steps to un­der­stand­ing di­ver­sity and cul­tural dif­fer­ences.

For Bryce the big­gest learn­ings were found in the chal­lenges around fi­nan­cial con­straints, a short­age of play­ers at U/15 level and some ma­jor in­juries and ill-health which im­pacted his play­ing ca­reer tremen­dously over the years.

How­ever, he be­lieves the frus­tra­tions and the tears helped build his re­silience and en­abled him to adapt and put the chal­lenges ahead of him in per­spec­tive.

Bryce be­lieves the most sig­nif­i­cant lessons learnt to have a sound work ethic are to: • Ab­sorb. • Learn. • Re­flect.

He de­buted for the Black Sticks in 2003 at the age of 23. A year later he had to pull out of the 2004 Athens cam­paign due to ill-health, and then rup­tured his ACL (An­te­rior Cru­ci­ate or knee lig­a­ment) play­ing Aus­tralia in the Ocea­nia Cup in 2007.

Bryce has rep­re­sented Auck­land, Can­ter­bury and North Har­bour in the New Zealand Na­tional Hockey League – one of his ca­reer highs scor­ing the win­ning goal for North Har­bour in the 2007 NHL fi­nal. To­day he is the as­sis­tant coach for the Blacks Sticks side who earned sil­ver at the 2018 Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games.

It was through the tremen­dous chal­lenges, com­bined with the in­cred­i­ble highs of be­ing in­cluded in the na­tional squad for the very first time, that he re­alised the im­por­tance of the small ges­tures that im­pacted on him.

The over­whelm­ing ex­cite­ment in his gut and a per­sonal phone call to an­nounce his in­clu­sion – from a leader with the soft skills to en­able a young and up­com­ing player to be­come great.

What did he need to ful­fil his po­ten­tial? • A good mea­sure of nat­u­ral tal­ent. • A strong work ethic. • Em­pa­thy and the abil­ity to con­nect

so­cially. • The abil­ity fo­cus and steer his

com­pet­i­tive drive. • Re­spect and the abil­ity to stay hum­ble. • A will­ing­ness to learn from oth­ers. • The abil­ity to lead your­self. • A con­certed ef­fort to un­der­stand and

build on your strengths. • Con­tin­u­ously ask­ing your­self what makes you tick and build­ing on that.

Lead­ers are very im­por­tant to drive teams for­ward and en­able growth and pro­duc­tiv­ity. In sport, as in busi­ness, th­ese are the peo­ple who set the tone for suc­cess.

Of­ten in a team the best player or the most pop­u­lar per­son is ear­marked for the cap­taincy. Over many years par­tak­ing in a va­ri­ety of teams, Bryce has seen the value of the right cap­tain or team man­ager.

The choice, he be­lieves, should be a con­sid­ered op­tion. A fine bal­ance be­tween abil­ity to per­form on the field, em­pa­thy to re­late to the in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of the team and a strong char­ac­ter to set a con­struc­tive di­rec­tion.

Ev­ery­one on a team brings ex­per­tise and value and it’s quite im­por­tant to de­velop the lead­er­ship skills of ev­ery in­di­vid­ual. Lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes to raise the lead­er­ship ca­pa­bil­ity of ev­ery player is, in sport, as in busi­ness, of the ut­most im­por­tance for suc­cess.

Bryce be­lieves the im­por­tant traits of a suc­cess­ful leader in­clude a com­bi­na­tion of strong ethics, em­pa­thy, hon­esty and the abil­ity to lead by ex­am­ple.

The driv­ing force be­hind the in­creas­ing need for soft skills in sports de­vel­op­ment and in board rooms alike, is the fear of the un­known fu­ture of work. How is AI im­pact­ing the world of hockey?

Bryce says AI is al­ready play­ing a piv­otal role in New Zealand. He says the sport has em­braced the pos­si­bil­i­ties with a clear will­ing­ness to adapt and evolve into an un­de­fined fu­ture of sport and work.

AI is def­i­nitely not be­com­ing the next player on the field (yet), but it’s al­ready en­hanc­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and adding to the abil­ity to an­a­lyse, plan and boost the com­pet­i­tive play­ing edge.

In hockey the AI tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties are con­stantly evolv­ing in the form of video sup­port, game and player an­a­lyt­ics and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing. It em­pow­ers bet­ter sports­man­ship and en­ables the en­force­ment of sports codes and poli­cies.

As in any team or busi­ness there are growth sea­sons and the Black Sticks as­sis­tant coach seems to be on the road to new things.

Keep­ing one foot in hockey, it’s also time to spend more time at home with loved ones, whilst rekin­dling old hob­bies, like surf­ing, fish­ing and cy­cling. There’s also the op­por­tu­nity build on his in­ter­ests in the fi­nan­cial world and ac­tively pur­sue leav­ing a le­gacy as an en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist who made a dif­fer­ence.

His best ad­vice for young play­ers and emerg­ing lead­ers out there: “I dili­gently planned, stud­ied and tried to save some money dur­ing the fast­paced hockey-play­ing years. To­day th­ese are the en­ablers for the next step into my fu­ture.”

“Sport gath­ers peo­ple from across fi­nan­cial di­vides and all spheres of so­ci­ety and it may be the first steps to un­der­stand­ing di­ver­sity and cul­tural dif­fer­ences.”

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