When Hawthorn won the AFL grand final this year for the 3rd consecutive year I heard a few people give them a hard time for winning again and saying it’s another teams turn.  This got me thinking.

” . . . Don’t you think its incredible that a team can win three years in a row?  Good on them! 

Isn’t that amazing and inspiring!”

. . . and I wanted to know more . . . 

“How DOES a team win the football three years in a row?”, “Who are the people in charge of this team?”, “How is the team run?, “What are the foundations?”, “What are the keys?”. 

I was fascinated!
I then heard very soon after this about a talk by Alastair Clarkson the coach of Hawthorn on Team Leadership.  I spent the evening listening to this talk and just loved it.
Alastair Clarkson, in the time he has been coach, has taken the team from the second lowest on the ladder to where they are now.  One of my favorite things he spoke about was . . . well a lot . . . but, “Ego On A Hook!“.  This refers to leaving your ego at the door ‘hang it on the hook’ when you come to ”work” or come to play football.  A player is only as strong as the team that stands behind him.  Alastair shared a lot about the value of team dynamics and not putting one above the other.  To invest in your ”team mates” and share the load so it doesn’t all fall on one persons shoulders and also the value of investing into your position.  He shared about one player who was a mid fielder and he changed his position to something that the player didn’t actually know much about so that player went to work to learn and invest into his position.
What are the values of the team and do the behaviors match up to these? 
  • Knowing your vision and values
  • Surrounding yourself in community and with great people
  • Create a culture that matches your vision and what you stand for.
  • Accountability to the values and vision.
I loved how he talked about how the values of the team and how “Ego On A Hook” applies to everyone on that team.  From the massage therapist, to the players, to the coach ect.  They all have to hold a value for the team and know they are accountable to the team for their actions and choices.
He talked about looking outside the box of your own knowledge and growing and bringing in different people ect to strengthen the team.
The team learns that success is not based on what I bring to the team, success is based on what we bring to the team.  There are no single hero’s but the players work to bring strength to the team as a whole and the success of one is the success of the whole.

Whilst understanding football and how to play well is important (something I actually know nothing about), Alastair commented several times that more important than that is the team and their values, the people and how to champion them!  Value for each other breathes respect and honor and a integrity to truly wanting to see your peers and team succeed and step into their best.

Do I understand the great depths of AFL and sport? No! I don’t even follow football, BUT, I am fascinated by leaders who run their “business” well.  So I am interested in Alastair Clarkson and people alike him, who have created a culture that has led to the success of the Hawthorn Football Team.

Something to ponder!

If you are interested in hearing this talk let me know!  He said a whole lot more than I have mentioned here.


Alyce Kate


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