Friday, December 25, 2015

LEGACY – Leaders with Character Sweep the Sheds

HUMILITY is the hallmark of character that says that the best leaders — those with character — are never too big to sweep the sheds.  That is, to get down and get the fingernails dirty in the grime of the work at hand.
At the root of the All Black learning culture is the Māori way of doing things — to never be too big to do the little things, and to do those little things with a high degree of purpose.
“Humility is deeply ingrained in the Māori and broader Polynesian culture,” and this is equivalent to Māori mana, which is “great personal prestige and character.”
There is such deep personal respect for the ancestor in Māori culture.  It’s as if each All Black walks out from the Shed onto the Park to play, to respect the Jersey, to improve their play, to leave the Jersey in a better place.  And that commitment of character, bound up in the All Black culture, is not just about on-field success.  The All Black is a steward of the massively steeped history of the All Black tradition.
The commitment of character required of an All Black compels a questioning culture.  No one leader has all the answers, but the best leaders learn to question in such ways as to involve those at ground level — to inspire them to help.  And this helping is all about cutting away unhelpful beliefs, but not through instructing, but through guiding.  It’s all in how questions are asked that draw out the deeper wisdom in those involved at the coal face.  Those at the coal face have the best answers.  Leaders are best positioned to ask questions that reveal the answers that are dormant beneath.
So the best leaders don’t have the answers; they ask the best questions.  They drive excellence through innate curiosity.
And what is most intrinsic about the quality of the All Black is their personal discipline, the foundation of humility to commends them to sweep out their shed; to simply clean up after themselves.  Their pride is their dignity to do what must be done.  They let no one do what they alone should do.
For the All Black, their resolve is dug down into the fissures of their strength; a stoic humility that leaves no stone unturned in the quest for personal and team excellence.
Legacy is about character that leaves its indelible mark on those we exist with.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.
This article commences a series on the James Kerr book, Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life.  I know for a fact that this book is being distributed among the sporting elite to give them an edge on leadership and culture.  Its wisdom is gold.


  1. How very sad to receive, on Christmas Day of all days, an article that totally misappropriates the so called All Black culture. What, I suspect the vast majority of, Aussies do not appreciate is that a great many Kiwis are utterly sick and tired of things all-black and how that temperament has taken over Aoteraoa New Zealand.
    This beautiful green land is fast becoming a place of all black and bland. But, thankfully, there is a revolution afoot in these 'multi-cultural' islands that are no longer, again thankfully, either Polynesian or Pakeha, but intercultural and interfaith. Maori and Polynesian culture has just as much bullying and like posturing as does the remnant of White Imperialism. And, yet again thankfully, that remnant is dying fast.
    The last thing I want to be reminded of on Christmas Day - of all days - is a self-centred, egotistic, self-perpetuating multi-million dollar industry called the All Blacks.

  2. Sad to read that - your first message. The interesting thing is that this book has captured the imaginations of many, not just me. I intend on writing articles on each chapter, so you might have to block me for a week or two. Bless you Br. G-M.

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  4. It is wonderful to read Steve’s comments which I believe reflect the values of Richie McCaw and other greats who have gone before him. Also, I think it is always a good idea to leave something in a better condition after moving on. People like Br .G-M also have their place in the community. As a part of leadership, I would fight to let people have their say but I do not have to agree with them.

  5. Yes, I agree. It's a wonderful thing to have permission to disagree.

  6. For us, Christians, who are illumined and enlightened in Christ, everything in this world has value and meaning only insofar as it’s a means and path to eternity. Because we are asked to see what’s not apparent and gaze upon the invisible. What is wrong in elevating a team of rugby players to such exalted heights is just that - at the end of the day they are only rugby players. We might extend the Oneness of God to include the Son and the Holy Spirit, but a team of three cannot play rugby, and neither can a team of one. Without the other fourteen, there is no team. We regulate the whole of our lives in time on the basis of that which is eternal, what is human on the basis of the one God. Christianity is God-centric, not rugby-centric, even though a few Kiwis might think the All Blacks are gods.


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