Arrow’s Brisbane Team Day 27/11/12
They’ve asked me to talk to you a little bit today about teamwork, and I’ll do that in a moment, but I want to share with you a little story about myself; kind of sums me up a little bit.
When I was coaching the Broncos we were on the Gold Coast and it was late in the season, and we had about three or four weeks before the end of the season. We were pretty tired and we decided to go down there for three or four days of training.
We were coming in from training in the afternoon about six o’clock in the afternoon and I was waiting for the lift coming up from the carpark. And I’m not in a real good mood, which is not usual for me, and the lift door opens and there’s a guy standing in the corner of the lift, there’s nobody else, and as I get in the lift I can tell by his body language that he recognises who I am. So, I pressed floor 20 and the light was on above that so I realised that he’s going all the way with me.
The lift moves off and he said “Are you Wayne Bennett, the Broncos coach?”
I said, “No I’m not”. I said, “I’m his brother”.
He never said another word, I got out at floor 20 and gave myself a little pat on the back as I’m going in to my room. I work extremely hard at not being rude but this day I’d just had enough, I just didn’t want to go through the spiel about the Broncos. So I went to my room and I never gave it another moment’s thought.
Next morning rolls around and I’m going to breakfast. I’m waiting for the lift, the lift doors open, the guy’s standing in exactly the same position. I died a thousand deaths, I didn’t want to get on that lift, I didn’t want to make eye contact with him, but I knew I had to get on.
So I’m looking at my shoes, I’m looking at the floor, I get on, my head’s down, the lift moves off, and he says. “Mate, how’s your brother today”.
I said “He’s not too bad”.
He said “You’re a lot more bloody talkative than he is”.
I’ve been involved in teams most of my life, it’s the thing I enjoy most of all about what I do. So, part of that enjoyment comes from the fact I just enjoy being part of the team.
And my definition of a team is anywhere you’ve got two people together and there’s a common cause or job or whatever.
The terminology I want to put to it is it has got to be done, and you need some teamwork to get that done. So it means giving, it means cooperation, it means communication with each other, and it means an understanding that you can’t always have it your way if you’re going to be part of the team and you want it to be successful.
So, if I work for Arrow Energy like you ... I would try to make myself the best team member I could and the best employee I could. There is no security in anything that we have anymore with our times, but there is security with your ability and there is security if you work in a team that’s better than everybody else’s team.
I’ve been a long-term coach for over 30 years now and I’ve survived in a pretty hostile environment where coaches don’t have a long lifespan because that’s been my driving factor: first of all making myself the best I can be and then secondly making sure I’m a part of that team.
And I haven’t been a head coach, because I don’t see myself as a head coach. I don’t see that as part of what’s important about the team. I just see myself as involved in that team with a job to do, and if I don’t do my job then I fail you.
It’s a pretty simple formula, it’s not something that I argue with myself about. I have to make decisions that I don’t want to make sometimes [and], when I have to do things I don’t want to do some days, the consequences unfortunately impact on all of us because of the position I hold.
When I refuse to address issues, when I refuse to recognise people who aren’t being good members of the team, and so on, then obviously it’s not long before I’m going to have sit down to meet the consequences.
So I’ll repeat that for you, if you’re not cooperating, working as a team, building a team within your workplace, it’s not too long before you’re going to have to sit down to meet the consequences.
This morning I’ll be a little confronting. I haven’t come here to butter you up. I find it very confronting when I have to tell someone they haven’t got a job and I find it extremely confronting when the team’s playing poorly and nowhere near their ability, so I’d rather have that confrontation off the field, away from the heat of the moment, the action, and I’d rather you keep your job because you’re doing it and we’re getting the job done as a team, because I can’t think of anything more confronting in my life than that.
I had a Christian brother once who used to say to me “Wayne, if I do not challenge you then I fail you,” and so I do want to challenge you a little bit this morning about you and your role in the team that you’re involved in Arrow Energy.
Obviously this is a big organisation by all the people here today, but your team is not a big organisation. Your team is a group of men and women put together somewhere in the company, with specific guidelines, outcomes, and requirements and you influence [them].
Now, I’m a part of the NRL. There are 16 teams in the NRL but I’m not concerned about the other 15, I’m concerned about the one I’m in, that’s the one I want to make the best. And so in your company there’s lots of teams within the organisation, I’m not worried about what the rest of the company’s doing, I just want to make my team and the people that are a part of that the best they can possibly be.
And for a lot of us with teams, you know it means change. As I look around at the sea of faces and a lot of you have obviously been in the workforce a long time. Bill Gates said “the world’s going to change with or without you” and it’s a good thing to remember when you’re kind of fighting within your team that there has to be