In 2010 James became one of the only ever people to be allowed inside the camp of the New Zealand All Blacks, the most successful sporting team in history. What he learned from this experience he translated into 15 lessons that can be translated into any high-performance team be it sport, military, or business for success.
James Kerr’s book has been described as ‘seminal’ by the Independent newspaper and ‘unputdownable’ by Bloomberg. The Daily Telegraph newspaper called it the ‘modern version of Vince Lombardi’s guides to coaching’ and says ‘for those searching for genuine keys to team culture, it is manna from heaven.’ It’s still one of the most popular 1% Podcasts.
+ “It should hurt to lose.”
Recollecting the All Blacks’ loss to the Lions during the McGeechan years James talks about how the team took the pain of that loss, felt it and reflected on it and used the desire to never feel it again as propulsion for their future performance. Comparing it to business, he notes how in business because there’s always the next meeting or call we can sometimes forget to look back at what caused losses whereas if you lose a tournament in sport there’s no match the next week and so little choice but to reflect on the training, preparation and mindset that led to the loss.
+“Empowerment is literally giving away power.”
Great leaders create other leaders by giving away responsibility and empowering their people to develop and grow. James talks about how the ideal environment is a macro-managed one where a leader in your team is telling you about a problem after they have solved it.
+“The body follows the mind.”
In exploring how perhaps the All Blacks aren’t seen as quite so unbeatable anymore even though statistically they are more unbeatable than ever James attributes this to changes in the sporting profession. There’s a shift now amongst other teams to abandon the crowd mythology and instead to take stock of their own performance and their own team narrative as the sport becomes more professional.
+“We’re gonna rip their heads off.”
In speaking about the importance of mindset, particularly when in a dominant position like the All Blacks, James talks about the importance of constantly applying pressure and avoiding the trap of being at the top, becoming complacent and playing not to lose. He says that teams that go out to metaphorically “rip their heads off” are more likely to apply pressure, more likely to make the plays and more likely to win.
Listen to full episode Here