Have you chosen your team yet?

sept. 15, 2015

With the Rugby World Cup kicking off in September 2015, the time is right to pick up on a blog I wrote nearly a year ago.

In ‘Ever thought of our project as a rugby game’ I compared projects to the sport of rugby. But one article did not seem enough to justify the comparison. And my passion for rugby as a sport, and my admiration for the players being true athletes urged me to write a sequel.

Teamwork is moving forward as one line

Have you ever watched a rugby game before? If so, you noticed that the teams move forward in what can be called a line, throwing back the ball to the next player when required. Similar to your project moving forward and once the timing is right, you pass on the subject to the next consultant. This colleague does his thing, before passing it on to the next person involved. It is a fast game. Only halted by for example a line out, when the subject is brought back into the defined lines of the project, or a scrum, when heads from both teams are literally put together, pushing forward with full force. Ideas are bounced off against one another.

Fair play and mutual respect are key

Some people might be repelled by rugby, as it seems to be such a rough game, but so might be the world of consulting. Isn’t it? However rough it may seem, however bloody it might get on the field, the players still show respect towards one another. Even in the heat of the moment, during heavy discussions it remains important to keep respecting your opponent and their possibilities, knowledge and skills. Whether this is on or off the field, fair play enables the participants to remain a  gentleman, playing a hooligan’s game.

Do not be afraid to show your vulnerability. It makes you more human.

Rough game or not, one thing is for sure: rugby players can handle pain and tough situations. And they do not have any heavy body protection: what you see is what you get. From a personal experience in projects, it is a quality that customers appreciate. Customers love to know exactly where they stand. In case they ask some questions you cannot answer, there is no shame in saying this. As long as you keep the ball in the game, and seek the answers required or the assistance of somebody more knowledgeable. A project needs to be teamwork.

Holding regular scrums ensures that the project is moving along: that help is asked on a timely basis, that tips and tricks/findings and ideas are provided to all team members involved.

The future recombined?

I would love for my sons to play the game. So they can learn about team spirit, teamwork, fair play and respect, both for the rules of the game as well as its players. Did I already tell you that my eldest son was named after a famous rugby player? :)

Both in business as for the Rugby World Cup, I have made my choice of teams. Have you made yours yet?



Author: Elke Toebaert. You can connect with Elke on LinkedIn