Business Lessons From the Rugby League World Cup

Whatever the outcome of the Rugby League World Cup without doubt the highlight of the tournament has been the success of the Tier 2 teams over the Tier 1 teams.
26 Nov 2017 10:00
Business Lessons From the Rugby League World Cup

Whatever the outcome of the Rugby League World Cup without doubt the highlight of the tournament has been the success of the Tier 2 teams over the Tier 1 teams.

In particular the Vodafone Fijian Bati teams 4-2 quarter final victory over the New Zealand Kiwis.

There is a history of the business world taking lessons from the sports world.

A lot of coaching practices that businesses use originally come from tennis and a lot of personal productivity training I deliver has its foundations in sport psychology.

The business world has already learnt a lot from sports and it still has many more les­sons it can learn.

So lets look at the success of the Vodafone Fijian Bati team and see what lessons we can use in our own business.

It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t perform when it matters.

Prior to the quarter final in many people’s eyes the New Zealand side was clear favour­ites to win.

Yet in sport like in business its never the best team that wins it’s the team that plays best on the day.

In terms of performance we all have those days when everything goes well and days when no matter what we do nothing works yet.

If you want to truly succeed in business you need to be able to perform at your best when it matters most.

Whether it’s a vital interview or a crucial sales pitch because if you can’t perform when it matters then like the kiwis you will get beaten by others who can.

Take your opportunities

After the quarter final victory Fijian Coach Mick Potter spoke about the need to take eve­ry scoring opportunity that became avail­able because against the so called bigger teams these opportunities arise so rarely.

You never know when the next great busi­ness opportunity will arise so just like the Fijian team you have to be prepared to take advantage of the situation when they do oc­cur.

When you look at the history of the world’s top business people you can always trace their success back to a single opportunity that they seized while others hesitated, it’s in this moment that history is created.

Your most valuable asset is passion

One thing that was perfectly clear when watching the World Cup was just how much representing their country meant to the Fi­jian players.

The post match interviews were filled with genuine emotion that touched the hearts of everyone watching them.

In business you need many things to suc­ceed, you need talent, you need the right people around you and yes you need a bit for luck but above all, to succeed in business you need passion, you need to care about your team, care about your customers and care about what you are trying to do.

Confidence delivers talent yet humility delivers success

A hallmark of the Fijian Bati team and of all Fijian teams is the humility that is dem­onstrated.

In my experience of coaching business leaders, the biggest challenge to success is success itself, when things are going well you are rewarded and praised, and when this happens it’s easy to develop a false per­ception of your abilities and think you are better than you actually are and when this happens you fail to develop as you should.

This is why humility is so important for success, because humility enables an indi­vidual to maintain a realistic perspective of their ability.

Strive for something greater than the


The best teams do not consist of individu­als who are playing for themselves instead the teams aim to achieve something which is greater than anything that the individuals could hope to achieve on their own.

When the Fijian players step onto the field they do so because of their families, their community, their country and their God.

If you have a team then you need to inspire them by making them realise that the team exists for a reason that is greater than the individual.

In order to do this don’t ask yourself what your team does instead ask yourself why your team exists and within that answer you will find the inspiration you are looking for.

You can compete with the big boys

In a post match interview, Jarrod Hayne described the team as “giant killers”and for me this highlighted the biggest lesson from the Rugby World Cup, which is that no mat­ter your size, your history or your resources Fiji and Tonga proved you can compete with the big boys.

In the business world it’s tough to compete with businesses bigger than yourselves es­pecially when they have more resources but never forget that there are many things in business that money can’t buy.

It can’t buy a vision or determination and money definitely can’t buy passion. All of these qualities are within your reach, you just need to be willing to make the effort to obtain them.

If you would like Mark to train your team contact him at


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