Monday, May 18, 2009

Learning from Rugby Legend John Eales


His nickname is "Nobody" because "Nobody's Perfect". However, Mr Perfect is one of Australia's high achievers in the sporting and corporate world.

John Eales (pictured), who graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) in 1991, participated in two successful Rugby Union World Cup campaigns, captained the Wallabies in victories including the 1999 World Cup, led Australia through three Bledisloe Cup wins and two successful seasons of Tri-Nations fixtures and led the Wallabies to their first defeat of the British and Irish Lions.

He retired from Rugby Union in September 2001.

In 2002 the ARU launched a prestigious award to honour the game's best Wallaby player each season, known as The John Eales Medal.

Following retirement, Mr Eales embarked on a new journey in the corporate world. He developed the John Eales 5 brand, now trading as International Quarterback, in corporate hospitality and event management.

Mr Eales is also a consultant to BT Financial Group, a Director of the Sports Australia Hall of Fame and a Fairfax columnist.

Sport is a great metaphor for business success, although sport is less complex.

Here's a rundown of what I learnt listening to John Eales speak at an MBA Alumni breakfast in Perth recently.

1. Understand what it is you want to achieve

Sustained success is about faith in yourself, your team and the system. It starts with a desire or agitation, this provides a focus, which leads to a goal and then reality.

Leaders need to articulate this and "take the complex and make it simple and take the simple and make it compelling".

Keep a consistent focus on what is important.

2. The ability to give fearless, frank and timely feedback.

Are you being consistent? How do you reward people?

3. Knowing how you're going to do it.

It doesn't matter what it looks like, what is important is what it represents. What are the messages you give people? Learn to deal with failure.

Earn trust. Your brand is your connection point and needs to be consistently backed up by the environment, systems and symbols of your business.

John Eales was also a contributor with me to the book "Understanding Influence for Leaders At All Levels".

To order your copy of the book, click here.

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