Having beaten New Zealand as recently as November, the Irish rugby team might feel they have already cracked the world’s most successful sports team.
Nonetheless, an author who spent a year embedded with the All Blacks, will be in Belfast tomorrow to share the secrets of the All Blacks.
James Kerr, who went ‘deep inside’ the All Blacks camp in 2010, will pass on the secrets of the New Zealand rugby machine to Northern Ireland charity bosses.
Mr Kerr spent a year with the New Zealand squad watching them at close quarters and wrote a best-selling book, published in 2013, on the secrets of their success and how other organisations can learn from them.
He will be the keynote speaker at the CO3 Leadership Conference and Awards at the La Mon House Hotel tomorrow.
Ahead of the engagement, he said: “I know Ireland did beat them last year – that was a magnificent performance – but the fact remains that New Zealand’s achievements are unprecedented in any sport.
“They have a 77% winning record in test rugby and frankly, that’s not a coincidence.”
He identified a series of lessons that he believes charities can learn from. They include:
• Sweeping the sheds: after each game senior players like Dan Carter and Richie McCaw have to clean their dressing room. Former All Black Andrew Mehrtens describes it as an example of personal humility, a cardinal All Blacks value;
• Follow the spearhead: all players are part of an extended family, always working together – if you are not a great team player you’ll not get selected no matter how brilliant you are;
• Leave the jersey in a better place: every All Black represents every player who pulled on the famous shirt before him and all those still to come, this creates a sense of higher purpose.
Nora Smith, CEO of CO3 said: “There is a huge amount of interest in James’s work and we can’t wait to hear him speak.
“Running a charity might seem a million miles away from coaching an elite sports team, but we need to learn how to lead better and James’s work is both ground-breaking and exciting and many other organisations across the globe are already putting his findings into practice.”
The two-day conference begins tomorrow and includes CO3’s awards ceremony.