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It's the details that matter to build the team

It might sound like a cliche to look at the Crusaders for lessons in strong team dynamics. But it's worth it.


In March this year, Rā Whakatā, Weekend magazine, featured an article about the team. And when they won the Super Rugby Championship again recently, I thought I'd look into their team success again.

And it's in the details.

Team culture is the backdrop. That started with Wayne Smith in the late 1990s. Then as trust developed, physical touch became important. A handshake, high-five or even slap on the bum were part of the team's routine. (Yes I know the last one won't work in most workplaces.)


Physical touch breaks down barriers when you connect in this way every day.

Sam Whitelock has another valuable technique. You win the game off the field, according to him. Everything is determined by the build up to the games. And on the field? To get the players' focus, he often takes a knee or changes his eyeline so the players are more engaged in what he's saying.

And whispering, rather than shouting works well. He changes his tone and body language when needed. "Sometimes the subtle things can make all the difference." Too right.

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