Business Lessons from Japanese Rugby

21st September 2015

Brave Blossoms of Japan

My throat is still a bit sore today from all the shouting at the TV over the weekend. The highlight of the Rugby World Cup so far was undoubtedly Japan’s heroic triumph over South Africa. It should never have happened, but it did, and the rugby world went mental.

Reading some of the news articles on the Japanese team, I started thinking that business owners could learn a lot from the Brave Blossoms of Japan.

South Africa as an opponent were formidable.  They’re established, with a strong tradition and great historical victories.  They have huge resources and experienced players.  Yet Japan, who nobody thought would achieve anything this world cup, put one over on them.

3 Key Points about the Japanese victory:

(1) It was planned for

The Japanese didn’t just show up on Saturday and decide that they’d try really hard.  They planned for that victory.  They looked at their opponents and worked out where they could create a strategic advantage.  They would play to their ownstrengths, not the South Africans’.

Small businesses have the advantage of agility, speed of response, and the personal touch.  How can you use this to your advantage in your market?

(2) They understood the importance of leadership

Many people were quick to praise Eddie Jones, the Japan coach, for his savvy and wisdom in leading the team forward over the past few years.  He was undoubtedly a key factor in the team developing and getting to the point where they could create this victory.

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(3) They worked on the team

Japan used to really struggle with their scrum.  Now, it turns out their scrum is pretty good.

They didn’t get from there to here by getting a whole new set of players.  They worked hard to train and improve the team they had.

Invest in your team and they’ll more than pay you back for your trust and time.

That’s enough about Japan.  GO ENGLAND!