Does sport and more particularly rugby, teach us anything about running a successful business?

rugby sport teamwork logistics teach business successful training motivation responsibility

Does and more particularly rugby, teach us anything about running a successful business? I for one believe it teaches us several important things about leadership, teamwork and correct preparation. My passion is rugby and I have long thought that there are many parallels between successful modern day rugby teams and successful businesses.

Teamwork is obviously key in all sports but particularly so in rugby. In fact in rugby there are teams within teams – the forwards, the backs etc just as in business there are different departments or cost centres and each of these is led by an individual or team of individuals. Historically rugby teams were captained by one person but as we have seen recently, particularly within the England team, the coach has selected 3 or 4 individuals who are the key leaders on the field. Business could learn from this by employing several individuals to run a department etc. That way responsibility does not fall on the shoulders of one person and arguably you end up with better, clearer decisions.

When England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, one could be forgiven for thinking that England actually had the best side in terms of players. If one is totally honest that was almost certainly not the case. The truth is actually far simpler. For the first time England were better prepared than the other sides. The Head Coach, Sir Clive Woodward, was not necessarily the best rugby brain but he understood the logistics around a team travelling to the other side of the world to take part in an extended competition. He surrounded the players with the right team of coaches, medics and physios, cooks, nutritionalists and sports psychologists such that when they actually ran onto the pitch the players were in optimal condition and merely had to execute the game plan. In the same way managers must enable their staff to do the best job they can by providing the best possible environment, training and motivation – only in this way are managers fulfilling their obligations and allowing their staff to reach their full potential.

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Paddy Green

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A passionate sports lover and business manager who tries to bring out the best in those around him


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