I attended the NRL Auckland Nines just over a week ago and watched some amazing rugby league albeit with different rules. What intrigued me was the different ways in which each team interpreted these single-event rules and how important it was for successful teams to adjust their game plans to win games. The normal NRL season provides a longer timeline for teams to deploy new game plans but in the corporate world, the speed of change means the companies that adapt the fastest are the ones that remain competitive and thrive with the changing landscape.
Here are the four agility lessons to test your business against, to measure your ability to adapt to change.
Rules to influence behaviour
Every organisation has rules to influence behaviour. We start learning these from our parents, school and with corporate and government regulation. What was obvious over that weekend was that the NRL rules for the competition wanted to influence team behaviour much the same way. Scoring under the posts gained an extra point, time limiting restarts and conversions sped up the time for continuous play. Unlimited changes made sure that each team could play as hard and as fast as possible.
Simply put, if you wish your business to work a certain way create the rules and remember to delete the old/redundant rules so they are not conflicting.
- 25 seconds for conversions, 20 seconds for restart – faster response times.
- Extra point for scoring under the post – reward for extra effort.
- Unlimited interchange – maximise energy and effort for the team, collaborate, and apply your skill for the right part of the game. Always be fresh and focused.
Speed of adapting to new rules
The fact that the Auckland Nines is the first game of the rugby league season and the format is only played once a year influenced player and team adoption. However, what was interesting was that each team that adapted to the new rules quicker had a competitive advantage over those teams that were slower. Easy maths; the faster you apply new strategies for the new rules, the more competitive you will be sooner.
- As we learn through the rules, how willing is the team to change?
- Where are we willing to fail and how quickly will we learn?
- The team should be allowed to be creative. What part of the corporate rules are changeable?
Communicating the strategy to the team
Once you’ve seen the new rules, what method do you apply to communicate their impact on your team? I was surprised that some games still had certain players and teams asking what the rules were. To ask the question during the middle of the game is too late. Regardless of how slight the rule changes are, it is important for each team member to know the rule changes and how to respond as a result.
- How do you apply business strategy to the new rules?
- What have you rehearsed and practiced to see if your strategy aligns to the new rules?
- What skills does your team have to exploit the new rules to gain a competitive advantage?
Don’t forget what your core capability is
Everyone has a capability that contributes to the team’s performance. What surprised me over the weekend is how many players forgot to apply their standard skills. Forwards always need to run to the line to give momentum and provide opportunities to faster running backs, conversions are always important. (I did not see the level of concern with all teams about the importance of getting the extra points). Field position and the kicking game provide better attacking options on the field. Just because the rules change does not mean your standard capability is not applicable. Understand the impact of the rule changes and test your influence of ability with the new rule. Don’t just change everything for the sake of change. Keep the foundation of capability with the team and build upon it.
- Test your previous capability against the new rule.
- Fail as quickly as you can and adopt a new strategy learning from your failure.
- Supplement the current skills rather than overriding them.
Vital to the success of your project is good change management and Professional Advantage works with our clients to help them through the process. If you are looking for a partner rather than just a vendor, get in touch.