On a visit to our global HQ in London, sporting legend, Sam Warburton, shared with our global leadership teams what it takes to be a great leader – on and off the field.
In his impressive career, the rugby star and Canterbury ambassador amassed 79 caps for Wales and the British & Irish Lions, won two Six Nations titles, and captained the British & Irish Lions. He was also Wales’ youngest ever captain, leading the national team at just 22 years old. Despite feeling unequipped to take on the role as captain, he said yes to the opportunity. Sam was awarded an OBE for his many achievements.
In his talk, he highlighted the parallels between rugby and retail and how championing self-belief, resilience and humility can forge a courageous culture that delivers some big wins. Leaders left inspired to pioneer more moments that make life better for our consumers and be force for good.
So, what does it take to be a successful leader? Here’s Sam’s checklist for being a game-changing leader.
1. Think about your legacy: “You need to work out what legacy you want to leave and then be relentless and courageous about pursuing those goals.”
2. Be brave and take risks: “When you’re under a lot of pressure, it’s very easy to go back and just do what you’re comfortable doing. However, being brave and willing to take a calculated risk in moments of adversity means you’re more likely to achieve something.”
3. Build the best team: “I think the real strength of a leader is recognising you need to get the best team around you.”
4. Do as I do: “You need to lead from the front and do what you ask others first.”
5. Be humble and be accountable: “Being able to swallow your pride is also an enormous sign of strength. Humility and accountability are critical to leading a winning team.”
Although Sam retired as a professional rugby player in 2018, he’s still involved with the sports world, launching a fitness business called SW7 Academy and working as a sports journalist.
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