Social Business is a Contact Sport like Rugby

This article follows a chat with Frédéric Domon of social learning. We are both former rugby players and we found a lot of point in common between rugby and the social business. Of course the same analysis could be done with others sports like basketball for instance. If rugby is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen, is the Enterprise 2.0 implemented by gentlemen (if they keep the spirit), in a ruffian’s world ?

If I speak about gentlemen and about spirit, it is because there is a kind of philosophy of 2.0. In schools of rugby is taught selflessness, tolerance, solidarity, mutual aid … These are undoubtedly the values found in management 2.0

Rugby is primaly a team sport. Of course there are some « stars », but not at the level which we know in the other sports, like soccer. It’s especially a collective sport where a person, as good as it is, is not much  (even when he is Jonah Lomu). This person has to rely on the others to be able to move forward and scores. The collective game is an obligation, otherwise it is the failure. Rugby is giving before taking (like in an enterprise social network). It’s to understand that we are the link of a bigger chain. Give before taking means that if we are in this group spirit, in return there is necessarily something strong which occurs (whuffie factor illustrates that). This requires work, desire to do well, self-transcendence, the spirit of initiative, the team spirit … Whatever is the phase of game, it is always the collective which counts :

  • Line out : my teammates are there to help me to rise, if I am the jumper. That’s the same in a community of practices, I know others members are here to share and make me grow
  • The line of the backs going up and scores. You can’t score alone, you need all the line, except in case of a chip kick. It’s a collective try where each one has a role in the attack, like in a project. You succeed with your team where each one has  a role to play and a task to perform
  • The scrum is like a community, moving in the same direction and facilitate by a half back who can be compared with a community manager

Rugby is also being aligned with a constant improvement process. For the coach, it’s to provide the means to progress. This progress being made by tries of successive solutions and corrections of the errors. Rugby is in perpetual beta phase. That’s the same for a social business project, it’s work in progress, leave open the possibility of being wrong. You build your project step by step.

Rugby is a contact sport where there is pleasure, but also knocks and bumps to be taken. Usually, carry out a social business project in a  in a pyramidal company, it can be challenging, but it’s also many moments where you take knocks. Nevertheless, do not be discouraged, because the game is worth the candle. End at the, if it is important in a project to celebrate victories, I believe that the rugby is not outdone as for the third half-time.

Ready for your social haka ?