I share with you in this article the values and beliefs of Jack Clark, Rugby Coach at the University of California, Berkeley. I watched coach Clark’s speech years ago on the subject of coaching high performing teams and wanted to share his 5 values and beliefs. I have added “character” as a 6th core value because I think character must be part of the day to day coaching and development process.
The values and beliefs shared by coach Clark are common values and beliefs for high performing teams and are likely shared by other coaches. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using known values and beliefs that are linked to results of high performing teams. It is absolutely essential though that every member of the team believes in the set of values and beliefs and is using them in their day to day process of getting better individually and as a group.
The head coach has the privilege of setting the values and beliefs for the team and in defining the culture of the team. It is absolutely essential the coach walks the talk and uses these values and beliefs as a filter in making decisions and in guiding his/her own actions and behaviours.
Players watch their head coach’s actions carefully because they are looking to him/her for leadership and to direct them through the good and tough times. Every head coach must be respected by players, coaches and all members of the team and organization(s) to be successful.
Core Values and Beliefs Example: Head Rugby Coach Jack Clark’s Team (1-5)
1. Selflessness: A team 1st approach is essential. No individual team member or group of members interests within the team are more important than the best interests of the team.
2. Constant Performance Improvement (CPI): Every member of the team must be committed to the teams’ purpose, values & beliefs and development process. Every team member must be focused on getting better every day. The league standings don’t always reflect the daily improvements being made. It’s the Head Coach’s job to make sure the team is aware of the developmental progress with examples on a regular basis and use of the right performance metrics.
3. Merit: Every high performing team functions as a Meritocracy. Consistency matters. Playing time is earned, period. Other factors like seniority, title and past performances don’t matter when it comes to time on the playing surface. Minutes are earned.
4. Mental Toughness: The ability to do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it the way you were trained to do it. Nothing must detract from your ability to execute the task at hand. It’s all about performance and you can’t let anything or anybody detract from your ability to accomplish the task at hand or the next play. Emotional awareness and control are key competencies that must be learned.
5. Leadership: Based on the ability to make team members better. Not based on your title, seniority, position or any other factor. The more leaders the team has the better the team should perform. Leadership by committee is welcomed.
6. Character: Performance character strengths and moral character strengths matter. Our character is what defines us and is the basis for all of our decisions, actions and behaviours.
Next up in the third and final Part: building true high performance teams.