Why Jake White is so successful Email Print
Published: 1st of Feb 2008 by: Debbie Engelbrecht

In the aftermath of our World Cup victory, we have most probably forgotten that this is the second national team that Jake White has taken to the number one position in a world cup. A phenomenal achievement indeed. How did Jake do it?

By busting some management myths and implementing good management practices instead!

Myth Buster Number One
Good managers never ask anyone to do something they are not prepared to do themselves

Jake himself has never played the game at national level. In addition, I don't think he did much scrumming in practices nor did he chase Habana down to demonstrate a tackle. In fact, I'm pretty sure that his own skills as a player would be found sorely lacking if pitted against the likes of our national heroes (he he). YET, we are the proud holders of the William Web Ellis Trophy. Managers please take note.

Myth Buster Number Two
Good managers never make any mistakes

Sporting a gazillion losses in a row, 2006 must have tested even the most loyal of Jake White supporters. It certainly tested me and I am embarrassed to admit that I lost faith altogether. For this I apologise, Jake White, SIR. You stuck to your beliefs, remained true to yourself and finally triumphed, like any good manager would. So perseverance pays off.

Myth Buster Number Three
Good managers know more, or are at least are assumed to know more

Bringing Eddie Jones to the party was the action of a brave man. This could very well have divided a nation, divided a team and also undermined a weaker manager's confidence. This was a move that clearly indicated that we need to look at the greater good. We should continue to learn at all levels, from even the most unexpected of sources and in doing so, we continue to uplift all of those around us.

Myth Buster Number Four
Good managers have unfailing support from their seniors and always agree with them

The political jostling , the interference, the subsequent chaos, and the bad press that surrounded Jake and his decisions led to his aging visibly in one short year. His hand was forced on more than one occasion. If the press can be believed, he was a mere step away from the gallows, but he survived, more importantly, he triumphed, achieved his goal, and delivered on his promise, and at the time he said he would. Respect is due !!!

Myth Buster Number Five
Good managers never change their minds about a decision they have made

I would like to contend that good managers don't continually shift the goal posts, but they certainly explore all avenues to get there and if this means that they need to rethink their original strategy, then so be it. Jake saw Francois Steyn play a school boy game in Grade 10 and picked him for the team at that point? I don't think so !!!

Myth Buster Number Six
Good managers are always imposing, visible and quick to the draw

Being a rugby fan myself, I first became aware of Jake White as a television panelist and even at that time, it was apparent to me that he was not the loudest guy in the group. He tended to analyse and evaluate and seemed to have a very calm and, dare I say it, "caring" management style. Later he accompanied the 20 year old Francois Steyn to his citing hearing , realising that his support would be very valuable. He also placed this 20 year old with the very experienced Percy in a hotel room. Excellent managers in my opinion are more analytical and fluid and able to adapt their style to the people they are managing.

Myth Buster Number Seven
Good managers tend to follow trends

What was noticeable about our 15 to 6 victory over England was that very few bench players were played, in fact, it was noticeable in the semi final too. Yet in other pool games they were used and in the game against Tonga, well, thank heavens for the substitutes! I don't think I saw any other coach do this. All of them, as has been the trend, used most, if not all, of their benches.
Good managers should only follow trends if the trends work for them!


Well done Jake! Well done to the Springboks - each and every one of you have done us proud. Ole!

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