Learning from the All Blacks' approach to a team effort

Collective impact, the National Strategy for Financial Capability, and the role that we all play.

What do we have in common with the All Blacks? More than you might think…

Developing financial capability in New Zealand is a collective effort - we can never achieve large scale social change working or existing in isolation. Likewise, the success of the All Blacks – world champions once again – comes down to gelling as a team.

Each player in the All Blacks plays a really vital role, some more important than others, but all play their part. The other team members do not necessarily have to possess the same set of skills or approaches to the game but what they do need to know is (a) that they can trust them to play their part in the team and (b) that they know what their function is in the team.

Take Dan Carter. The rest of the All Blacks may know a few of the intricacies of his position, they may have seen him train and could attempt a drop-goal under pressure.

But they don’t really need to know the mathematical angles that are required to get the ball over the post. They may have seen him practice goal kicking but never thought that it was their gig to be involved in that training. And it isn’t really their job to know what it takes “to be Dan”. They only need to worry about their own position, their own people, their own strategy.

What is important to this situation is that Dan kicks the ball over the post, and that his team can trust him to play his part. This is exactly how a functioning social change network ‘works’.

Applying this to the National Strategy, there are many different partners across the financial capability sector: banks, teachers, iwi, workplaces, finance companies, community organisations, etc. To some degree, there is an element of “just leave them to it”. Because really, an NGO doesn’t really need to know the intricate details of KiwiSaver legislation, just the same way that a banker does not need to know about how the Financial Capability Progressions are structured, etc.

What each sector partner needs to know is (a) that they can trust the other team members/sector partners to play their part in the team and (b) that they know what their function is within the team. This way, everyone plays a part in achieving the vision of “everyone getting ahead financially”.