What the All Blacks can teach businesses about Smart Buildings

Even if you don’t follow rugby, you’ve likely heard of New Zealand’s All Blacks. Having won the last two Rugby World Cups, it comes as no surprise that the All Blacks are through to the semi-final against England on Saturday.

It wasn’t always this way. Not one World Cup went to New Zealand between 1991 and 2007. So how have they become the number one ranked rugby team in the world and the most dominating force in world rugby over the last 11 years?

In 2010, James Kerr, the author of global best-seller Legacy, embedded himself with the All Blacks and he learnt what made them arguably the most successful sports team of all time. I was delighted to welcome him as the keynote speaker at a previous ExcelRedstone Symposium. There he shared his inspirational insights – that he teaches to top business leaders – with those in attendance.

He had many great lessons – such as sweep the sheds, giving the lesson no matter how senior you are you do the jobs that need to be done. And pass the ball, and how leaders create leaders.

One of his lessons was “play with purpose”, which is possibly the one that sticks with me most. He explained that leaders connect personal meaning to a higher purpose to create belief and a sense of direction. Inspired leaders, organizations and teams find their deepest purpose – their ‘why?’ – and attract followers through shared values, vision and beliefs. What does your company want to achieve, and how do you enable it? How do you spread the word?

Here are my own lessons on how to have purpose when approaching smart building success:

Know and believe in the benefits
We don’t all wake up interested in smart buildings, so you can energise the message within your company.

Have the right visions and outcomes
There are many benefits to be had but try to focus on the key ones for your project and what will really move your team to action.

Engage with the right delivery team…
They’re like the team coach. They will know the ropes and the potential pit falls and they will help steer you in the right direction.

…And engage them early
And any other partners of internal teams. The earlier in the process the easier it is to set the right course and achieve success.

If you’re not connected, you’re flying blind…
To truly reap the benefits of systems working together and to take advantage of the boom in analytics, your systems need to talk.

… but remain secure
Work with a partner that understands and can anticipate security issues that may affect your project.

Prepare for the handover and ongoing management
The work after delivery is often just as important to ensure the project’s long-term success if not more so. Ensure you plan proper training and set a long-term vision for the building.

Remember your audience
Employees of today and tomorrow will look to their employers and their buildings to reflect their design for a meaningful place of work that supports their environmental goals.

James explained it’s all about the story telling. Engaging with and explaining that higher purpose.

Follow these tips and give your business a sense of purpose. I think we’re guilty sometimes of focusing on the here and now, and the technologies. But to truly achieve success we have to begin with the purpose, tell the story and from there the buy-in will come.

So, if I convey any piece of advice it’s play with purpose.

Matt Salter, a proud Kiwi who loves smart buildings almost as much as the All Blacks.