During 2015, ‘not a hundy’ was the phrase used for the below-par condition of an All Black (i.e. a Steve Hansen-ism along with the phrase: ‘inconvenient fact’.) ‘Not a hundy’ invariably referred to a physical injury. (It is unlikely an All Black would not be a hundred percent for any other reason.)
While rugby union may be far from the average mind in the blistering heat of February, peak performance is not, as we saw with the New Zealand Sevens’ win at the weekend and with the 2016 work year in full swing.
If you are one of the 97% of NZ businesses that employs fewer than 20 people (with nearly 70% having no employees – MBIE Small Business Sector Report 2014) then chances are you can tell when your business is ‘not a hundy’. In the large majority of businesses employing up to 5 people, there is nowhere to hide. For those with 30, 50 or over a 100 people, below-par performance is not as immediately visible.
World class coaches select players either at their performance peak or who demonstrate peak potential. They are astutely aware when someone is not at their peak or not what the team needs. When it comes to sport, seniority, authority or organisational ‘level’ (title) comes second to performance level. In that setting, what you contribute is permanently on show if not to the public, then to your own team and the high performance coaches and management. Action is usually taken BEFORE under-performance shows up on the scoreboard whether it is by selection, substitution or a change in game strategy.
In larger organisations, where performance level or type does not serve the team well, the drag effect can be masked and/or delayed. Sooner or later, it shows up as one or more of:
- disruption to performance
- conflict and/or disharmony
- increased cost
- health & safety (and other) risks
- lost opportunities
- results less than potential
- tied up funds that could be more profitably invested elsewhere
Each time there is a pay run, an organisation purchases a capability – the critical question is: how much of this purchased capability converts to organisational results and the opposite of everything on the above list?
There are three main reasons organisations do not perform to their current potential.
- Wrong strategy – both externally and internally, the chosen strategy must match what both environments require for success at this moment in time, and given the particular sector or industry
- Wrong people – you have to have the right people thinking and acting in the right way, in the right place at the right time, for success
- Wrong approach – the way strategy is implemented and the way people are interacted with has to get the best possible outcome from strategies, people and situations or opportunities.
Personally, I have found that more heads are better than one, so favour a collective approach to strategy and decision making, but whatever approach you use, any one of these areas can be an organisation’s undoing. These three areas are the main culprits of human and financial capital waste. Get them right, and it is hard to fail.
Given that New Zealand is about the size of Sydney – just one city in Australia (yet with the obligations of a sovereign nation) – we cannot afford waste. When you have the right strategy, right people and the right approach in each situation, you have an organisation that hums to potential – a hundy.
We have the scale and track record as a nation to box way above our weight and given the scale of Business New Zealand, anything less than 100% should be quickly visible. As Steve Hansen says, success is only possible when you pay attention to the ‘inconvenient facts’. Taking the right approach in these areas can rewrite what’s possible.