Last night I had the privilege of listening to All Black coach Ian Foster talk on talent identification, leadership and the development of culture.

All Blacks head assistant coach Ian Foster.

Below are a couple of the quotes I took throughout the session….

“It is a privilege to influence people”
In leadership our job is to develop people and make them better. At all times we should see this as a privilege, and although it is hard and at times frustrating, we must remind ourselves we are in a position of privilege.

“Coaches and managers develop and grow over time”
In the old days a coach had a 3 year tenure and then was thrown out. This was wrong as all coaches can grow and learn.

“Don’t let people give you a label – good or bad”
As a coach one week you are a ‘bumbling idiot’ and within a few months the ‘the world’s best’. The reality lies somewhere in the middle.

“I’m looking for the mastery of the basics”
As a coach the most important thing are players with the ability to be proficient with the basic of rugby – run, catch and pass. We practice these every day.

“Vulnerability in tough conversations is the key to growth. It is important that leaders spend a lot of time in this space”
The main aspect vulnerability involves being able to honestly reflect on performance in a open and frank way. This can be hard, brutal and uncomfortable. But it is always done in a safe environment.

“When you are at the top you need to keep moving the bar higher for everyone”
The All Blacks are always changing and evolving to ensure that they are trying to get better.

“I change 25% of our game plan each week to keep everyone fresh”
This keeps everyone fresh and ensures that even a long serving All Black turns up on the Monday of test week with things to learn and change.

“Preparation is going out of your comfort zone to learn something new”
Often people associate training with preparation. True preparation involves the learning of new things and then looking to implement them.

“I don’t have to be cautious about what I believe, but I do have to be cautious about what I say.”
Israel Folau.

Leaders are made and not born”
Real leaders grow and develop with experience and knowledge.