5 Lessons for a CFO from our triumphant Springboks

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AFMS Group’s Jamie Louw shares his top learnings from the multiple wins South Africa’s rugby team achieved this year, unpacking the five that resonated most with him as a CFO.

What a year 2023 has been for our national sporting teams, particularly our all-conquering Springbok Men’s National Rugby Team, who won the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. This was the first time that South Africa had managed to complete back-to-back victories in World Cups. They stand alone now in the pantheon of greats with four World Cup wins, more than any other country.

There are a few lessons we can take from this marvellous national achievement. As a CFO, I have reflected on the five that resonated with me most below:


1. A clear and compelling strategy, with the ability to pivot where necessary

What the Springboks proved was that strategy is still important. From the coaching staff to the players, everyone had a part to play in developing and executing game plans. When tactical decisions needed to be made, they were done and were fully understood by all without disharmony in the camp. The goal was the key, and the team was able to pivot as conditions changed and where tactics against each opponent were considered. The truly exceptional can surface when strategy is fit for purpose, and tinker for changes emerging from underlying environmental conditions. This can mean that the personnel may change, or the tactics may change, but the end goal remains the same, and always remains in sight.


2. Resilience and determination, fuelling cohesion built through trust

The Springboks faced many challenges with injuries and moving parts through the tournament, but they showed immense resilience and determination throughout. Their ability to bounce back from setbacks demonstrated the importance of resilience in achieving success. This would only have been possible in a group that was united and where everyone trusted each other both on and off the field. Ubuntu-like principles were implicit in the Springboks’ mantra, where a shared goal to overcome any obstacle led to the manifestation of greatness. We can draw on these lessons as we strive for excellence daily.


3. The power of diversity made manifest

The Springboks’ victory highlighted the power of diversity and inclusion and its importance. With players from various cultural backgrounds, they showed that a diverse team, working together in harmony, can achieve incredible results. In a diverse society like South Africa, we need to find ways to celebrate the power of our diversity as a nation, and within our teams. Our diversity makes us strong and sets us apart from the rest.


4. Mental and physical preparedness

The Springboks’ in-depth preparation, rigorous training and conditioning played a significant role in their success. Their mental fortitude, discipline, and physical fitness were integral to their performance throughout the tournament. As finance professionals, we need to remain financially fit and mentally strong to withstand pressures in our environments, and a complex and volatile economic context. This will enable us to continue to operate with stealth to make value-adding decisions in our areas of expertise and within our spheres of influence.


5. Passion and inspiration powering unity under a common cause

The Springboks’ victory united the nation (again), bringing a sense of pride and inspiration to South Africans. It showed the potential of sports to transcend societal divides and bring people together. Finding our passion as finance professionals and seeking buy-in among our peers and colleagues can help bind us to a common purpose, which can amplify our efforts within our spaces and in our organisations. We must not neglect the power of common causes and how our passion for our work can inspire others and gear up our organisations for growth, prosperity and thriving in future.

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