Business Lessons From The Chiefs

Mark Wager will be in Suva on Thursday 8th June. Mark has limited availability on this day but if you want to meet him or invite him to deliver training
27 May 2017 11:00
Business Lessons From The Chiefs
Crusaders Captain, Sam Whitelock wins the line-out against Chiefs at ANZ Stadium on May 19, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Mark Wager will be in Suva on Thursday 8th June. Mark has limited availability on this day but if you want to meet him or invite him to deliver training at your business contact him at


During the past week Fiji was treated to a Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Chiefs. For any prospective rugby player, watching the match not only would  have been entertaining but also a source of  valuable lessons from watching two teams with so many skilful players. While rugby lessons were apparent, also available was some valuable business lessons learned.

It wasn’t long ago that Rugby was an amateur sport and today it’s one of the world’s most successful professional sports and at the heart of the wave of professionalism is the Super Rugby competition run by the combined unions from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

There are valuable business lessons to be learnt here and in this article I want to look at one of the most successful franchises, the Chiefs and breakdown some lessons that every business can learn.


Expand your market

Why go local when you can go global

The Chiefs hosting a home match in Fiji for the second time is an attempt to extend the market for their brand. The Crusaders did something similar previously when they held a match in England. The Chiefs understand the importance of getting more people to view their product and to gain new fans, they understand the importance of expansion and how to do it correctly.


In today’s business world the gap between the local market and the global market is far smaller than it has ever been with the advancements in technology and travel. If you have a business the most effective way to become more successful is to expand the number of people who can buy your product. So like the Chiefs you must look at new areas in which you can expand.


Develop your future

 Tomorrow’s success is determined by the planning you do today

The Chiefs have been a consistently strong side in Super Rugby for many seasons and the main reason behind this is their commitment to a talent pipeline.

No matter which player leaves and how valuable he may have been there is always another player who is waiting to take their opportunity.

Stephen Donald was the star performer for the Chiefs and when he first left we wondered who could replace him, but along came Aaron Cruden and when he leaves at the end of this season young Damien MacKenzie is ready to take over.

In your business you need to ask who are your valuable people and what would happen if they left tomorrow, who would you replace them  with and what would be the impact?

It’s easy to only think about the present but if you want ongoing success then you need to develop the future star performers of your business so that no matter what happens your business will remain strong.


Spread the Leadership responsibilities

 A successful team is a team of leaders

Everyone understands how important strong leadership is to a successful team but the Chiefs also understand that leadership is never a singular responsibility.

The Chiefs have a history of having co-captains and having a group of players who have leadership qualities. Leadership is at its very core the desire to lead by example and to hold others as well as oneself accountable.

If you have  people within your team who can do that then the team will be successful.

Leadership training has often been used to develop the senior most managers within an organisation but more and more companies are starting to see the benefit of having all their staff attending a leadership workshop.

If a person can lead by example then they don’t have to lead from the front, they can lead from anywhere within the organisation.


Stand for something

 People will rise to the level of the leaders expectations

I’m a Chiefs fan and when I go to the Waikato stadium to watch them play I’m always impressed by the Whatanoa Gateway. It’s  a carving at the stadium that the players have to walk under and it symbolises the passion, determination of ancient Maori warriors.

For the players of the Chiefs team they  know that when they put on the jersey and walk onto the field they are not just representing themselves or their club, they are not just fighting for their team mates, but the jersey represents the wider community and everyone who as gone before them.

The Chiefs play for something that is greater than themselves.

In business people will work for money and they will work very hard for a lot of money but if you truly want to motivate people and by that I mean create an atmosphere where people will be inspired to work harder than they ever thought possible,  will sweat blood and tears to achieve success.

If you want a team like this then you have to give them something to believe in that is greater than themselves.

If this can be created then the expectations will be greater and if it’s a cause that the people can believe in then their ability effort and performance will rise to meet that level.

The next time you see the Chiefs play or even any other Super Rugby side play, enjoy the game and admire the skills of the players on the pitch but ask yourself a question.

What  lessons can I take away from this game that can help me in my business because the next great business lesson may not be found in a business book but rather maybe found in the next time you experience excellence.

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