Go For The Business Gap. 

When You’re On Top of Your Game, Change Your Game.

New Zealand’s All Blacks are the world’s most successful sporting team. The stats are incredible. Google it; let your eyes widen in awe.

How do these gods of rugby do it? They work together towards a common purpose: to win.

How do they manage this? They follow 15 principles called the First XV (clever).

The principles are so simple, so bleedin’ obvious, it hurts. Principle II caught my attention recently:

“Go For the Gap. When you’re on top of your game, change your game.”

This got me thinking about my previous business…

The first five years we were in survival mode. We had the concept and demand; we just needed to create the model to get the money in the bank and keep the current customer happy. Not an easy mix at any stage of business but we applied common sense and managed the never-ending chaos. It was nuts. We made it work, though, and finally came up with a reasonable business model.

The next five years we grew really bloody fast. We were top of our game, met Richard Branson, shook hands with lots of suits and got the VIP treatment off the bank. But unlike the All Blacks, we didn’t change our game. Sure, we slickened up; added bells and whistles, but the core model remained the same. On reflection, we were just relieved to have stabilised. Outside of growth, our appetite for rejuvenating the model was limited. And we suffered for that. In short, the model nearly took the business down because it couldn’t handle the growth. 

In the final five years, we made like the All Blacks and changed our game. Radically. We addressed our shortcomings head-on, invited external objectivity and changed focus from growth to innovation. 

Sure, changing our game was risky. The revenue took a tumble along with the bottom line. We had to seriously hold our nerve for a year or two. But eventually, with commitment and clear strategy, we created a flexible model to scale and evolve in line with the future customer.