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Transcript: Junior Wallabies Coach Talks Leadership (EP36)


Intro (with music): Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things, culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport.


Brendan Rogers: Hello, everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of The Culture of Things podcast. This is Episode 36.

Today, I'm talking with Nathan Grey. Born in Gosford and educated on the Gold Coast, Nathan was a committed, hard-nosed and straight running inside centre who gave his all for the club, state, and country. Nathan played three years of 1st XV rugby for The Southport School alongside former Wallaby captains, Nathan Sharpe and James Slipper, and represented Australia at Under 19 and Under 21 levels.

In 1997, he debuted for Queensland against New South Wales in Sydney but by the end of the year, he turned to the dark side and toured with the New South Wales development squad. Nathan was then offered a New South Wales contract and he joined the Waratahs.

Within seven months of his first Waratahs match, he was in the Wallabies squad and won a debut against Scotland in Sydney. Nathan was a key part of what was the golden era of Australian rugby.

In 1998, he was in the squad as Australia completed their first ever 3-0 clean sweep of a Test series against New Zealand.

In 1999, he was a member of the World Cup winning squad and in 2001, he started in each match of the historic 2-1 series victory over the British and Irish Lions. Nathan played 35 tests for Australia, starting in 19, over the course of his six-year international career.

In 2011, Nathan began his coaching career in Japan before joining the Melbourne rebels as an Assistant Coach. He was part of Michael Cheika’s coaching staff that guided the Waratahs to a maiden Super Rugby championship in 2014 and was also part of the coaching staff at the Wallabies from 2014 to 2019. He joined the Sunwolves in Japan for the 2020 Super Rugby season in the role as Technical Director before taking on his current role as High Performance National Programs Coach for Rugby Australia.

The focus of our conversation today is culture, leadership and teamwork as a player and coach in Rugby Union.

Nathan, welcome to The Culture of Things podcast.

Nathan Grey: G’day mate. Always good to be on board. Good to hear your voice and, yeah, looking forward to chewing the fat about all things footy and rugby moving forward.

Brendan Rogers: Awesome, mate. Look, thank you very much. A few accolades there. You've achieved a lot, both as a player and a coach. What I'd love you to do is just give the listeners a little bit of a story of your journey, pre-rugby, you know, even pre-joining TSS, The Southport School. What was life like for Nathan Grey?

Nathan Grey: Yeah, it's quite interesting, Brendan, because I sort of, I was born on the Central Coast, up in Gosford and then sort of at a young age of 4, my father worked for BP overseas and he got moved overseas. And so, I ended up living in New Guinea, lived in Port Moresby for three years. And then, he got moved again with work and got moved to Fiji, moved over to Fiji for three years living over there. And those experiences as a young kid, I didn't really realise how valuable they were for helping shape me as a person until I sort of look back reflectively now that I'm a little bit older. Yeah. So I spent a bit of time over there. I've got an older brother and an older sister. They both went to boarding school when we were living in Fiji. And I stayed back with Mum and Dad because I was too young.

So that dynamic of being away from your siblings and whatnot. And I think it sort of shaped me a fair bit. And then, yeah, the opportunity to go to boarding school on the Gold Coast. Knowing my family history now that my father never really had the opportunity to get a good education. He was from a broken family and it was something that he was adamant on that he'd sort of provided his kids with an opportunity for a good education that he missed out on. So, Mum and Dad made a lot of sacrifices to send three kids to boarding school away from where they were living and working. And yeah, that was, that's something that I sort of realised later in life about those sacrifices that you make for your kids. And having my own kids now, you sort of reflect a lot on that. Yeah. That's sort of my story pre-going to boarding school on the Gold Coast, where I met a lot of lifelong friends and ended up meeting people like yourself.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, I’m sure we will get an opportunity in this episode to talk a little bit about The Southport School and my old school as well, being Nudgee College, there’s a healthy rivalry there in these GPS schools, but let's put that to one side for a minute.

You touched on your experience as a young fellow living in a different country and how you didn't really realise the opportunity and the benefits of that being so young. And it's only later in life reflections. What are those reflections? What did that experience give you that helped you forge this career in rugby?

Nathan Grey: Oh, I think as a player and as a Coach, sort of just the ability to fit into your environment and to make the most out of your environment, no matter what it is, I’m obviously, as a sort of six-year old kid living in New Guinea, going to an international primary school and living in a foreign country, you just get on with it. That's the norm. You don’t complain. You don't whinge because that's the environment you're in. And you just make the most out of those situations. That's something that, you know, is really, was embedded in me, you know, at a young age. I didn't really realise until I look back reflectively of how that sort of helped me be able to deal with situations, be self-motivating, find the best out of poor situations or poor scenarios that you’re in, and try and be someone who, in terms of your relationships with other people, you have to mould to other people. Other people don't have to conform to what your beliefs are and exactly what you think.

You have to have a really good self-awareness and be very empathetic and have an understanding to get along with different people, of different cultures and different races and whatnot. So that's definitely something that I've really sort of tapped into. And then, obviously, growing up, and doing some more further study, you kind of realise, “Wow.” Those things that you sort of read about and you learn about in the psychological stuff, how important it is. And then, I know those lights go on and I go, “Wow.” Yeah, I was experiencing that. I didn't even know that I was going through it.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, it’s a great reflection. Let's tap into that a little bit. Let's look at the playing side of Nathan Grey first and how some of those things you talked about - resilience - and I guess even in the intro and doing some research on your background, you know, people referred to you as this hard-nose straight runner. It sort of aligns with what you just said. So, how did that experience shape you as a player and how did you use that experience as a player to be the best you can, but also to be the best team player that you can?

Nathan Grey: Yeah, it's a really good question, mate. Because, I think, I look back again, as a player, I was pretty limited. And I realised, you know, early on, I wasn't a very big guy. I wasn't very fast, I wasn't overly skilful, but I really loved the competition and the competitive and the physicality side of the game. So, that was sort of something that drew me to rugby in the beginning. And I pondered why that was part of the game that I really enjoyed. And, you know, I look back to my childhood and sort of being the youngest, I had an older brother who was three years older than me, and I just had this really deep-seated memory of him kicking my ass in everything. And I just kept trying, kept trying to beat him.

I remember, as a young fellow, we were in Fiji and I made my brother stay and we played squash for six hours and I couldn't beat him. I didn't beat him once. But I just kept going back, kept going back. I think that sort of competitive side of me was sort of drilled into me as a young bloke just growing up with an older brother and playing different sports. But I've sort of figured out that my contribution to the team was going to be in that sort of physical and commitment sort of side of things. And that sort of didn't really come to fruition for me until I sort of was more probably, in that Wallaby environment, having discussions with coaches around, you know, why I was selected and why they sort of picked me in teams and whatnot.

And it sort of flows into that coaching side of things as, you know, as a Coach, you need all different types of players in your team. And I could provide something to the teams that I was in that coaches felt was really valuable. And as a Coach now, I think, “Yeah, I'd like to have a couple of people like myself in my team.” You don't need too many of them. You can't have them all like that. But those types of people with those different skills are really needed in a team. I suppose I figured out what I could bring to the team and really focused on delivering that because I knew that was valuable to the teams that I was in.

Brendan Rogers: What’s just going through my head again, is that definition of insanity, because you said about six hours of squash with your brother, and they often say, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” But you've taken a bit of a different slant on that, mate. Resilience.

Nathan Grey: Absolutely. Like we had a table tennis table underneath the house and it was just, my brother got jack of me asking to play all the time ‘cause I could never beat him. But you know, the odd time, I would. And then, I'd start to strategise how I could try and beat him again. But yeah. So all those experiences as a young fellow growing up, it sort of helps mould you no doubt. 

Brendan Rogers: I guess everything you've just said around a player and you sort of led into coaching a little bit. What is it that's really helped you taking that mindset into the coaching arena?

Nathan Grey: It's having an understanding of, and that respect of that different personalities are fine. There's no one perfect athlete or perfect player that you are going to get. And then, you don't want to try and replicate them and sort of cookie-cut that type of person. You need so many different types of personalities, different skill sets in your team, and they all compliment each other. And the really good coaches are the coaches that just get that balance really right. You know, they have a really skilful guy, they have a real hard nut, couple of hard nuts, they have a couple of guys who have freakish talent, but can, you know, can cause some errors for you. And then, off the field, you know, you have a couple of guys who are bloody smart ass jokers. You have a couple of guys who are really serious, you have guys that don't take themselves too seriously.

And getting that balance right and understanding the sort of the psychology of the players and then the team environment, that's a real skill. It's a real learned skill. And that's something that I'm continually learning. And I played under and I've coached with some really, really exceptional coaches over my career. So, to tap into that and draw on things that they do well is something that I've done, but also draw on the things that I think, you know, I probably wouldn't have gone down that path and then putting your own individual slant on how you want to play the game and how you want the team culture and the team environment to be set up is something that is a constant, ongoing process. Because at the end of the day, you want to perform. You want to perform. And I think the focus has become so sharp on performance at the professional level that we've tended to drift away a little bit from the personality and the relationship side of what being in a team's all about. But joyous things that essentially have nothing to do with performance but when you break down performance, all those little things are evident, and when you break down poor performance or consistently poor performance, you go, “You know what, there's a couple of those things there that are really missing that they stand out like dog's balls.”

Brendan Rogers: Mate, once again, lots of great points you make. Let's just tap into that relationship side. What's the difference that relationships and good quality, strong professional relationships make in your rugby environment?

Nathan Grey: It starts with having that, you know, if you have a good relationship, you're going to trust the people that you hang around with and that you involve yourself with. And that trust comes in, you know, in lots of different forms. You have to work hard from a rugby perspective to get the ball across the line. You need a gambit of skills and techniques and whatnot to be able to do that. And you can't do it on your own. You have to trust and have the confidence in the players around you to be able to help you do your job. And then, as a collective, do the team's job. So, you know, having that trust in the players around you is a very easy thing to say, and then sort of, “try and emulate”. But the reality of earning that trust comes from, you know, hours of training, hours of footage, watching footage, taking the time to get to know each other, spending time off the field together, having a healthy respect for each other, and having conflict with each other as well. Like being honest with each other when you're not happy, or if you’re disappointed with their performance or, you know, you're being honest saying, you know, “Look, I really need your help here,” being vulnerable. Those types of things go to building that trust amongst the players. And then, that translates to a good performance on the field.

Brendan Rogers: Is there a time when you look at your playing career, and your coaching career, where you felt that the robustness in the conversation, the vulnerability, the trust that's developed in amongst either the playing or the coaching or the playing and coaching group where that's really been, you felt it was excellent for you?

Nathan Grey: Oh, yeah. Like I have a number of times jump to mind, but for me, it was 2004 leading into 2005 Super Rugby Season. This is as a player. You know, Ewan McKenzie was the Coach of the Waratahs and we'd sort of been bumbling along throughout the year. We had Ray McLean from leading teams, come in and do some work with the team. And we did an exercise that was a stop, start, keep exercise where an individual would be selected from the squad. So you might have a squad of 30 players and maybe, 15 staff.

So we were in a meeting. One guy, we did this over a long period of time, that one guy would leave the room. And then, the whole group would talk about that individual around behaviours and actions that they should stop doing, behaviours and actions that they should start doing, and then, behaviours and actions they should keep doing.

So the group nutted it out for sort of 10 minutes, and then, that person would come back into the room, and then they'd get the feedback from the group. I remember having that done to myself and also to another guy, Chris Whitaker who's a dear close mate of mine. And he was the Captain of the team at the time. And his perception of how the playing group and the staff saw him was so different to what the reality was. He was made the Captain of the team and he's a very reluctant leader. Wits, very quiet guy. And the feedback that he got was, “Mate, we want you to start barking at us more. We want you to be more dominant as a leader. We want you to be really vocal. We want you to tell us when we're not maintaining those standards that you do all the time.”

And for Wits, and having a conversation with him after that, he was just blown away. He's like, “Holy shit. I didn't realise that that's how I was perceived or that my actions were read that way by the playing group and the staff.” And then, it was a matter for him. It was like, “Okay, these guys have been honest and open with giving me that information. I’ve been vulnerable in opening myself up to receive that positive and negative feedback. I know what to do. I've got some action points. I can go and action that.” And we did that process for a number of people. And it was quite confronting for a few guys, but in terms of growth and understanding and building respect amongst one another, it was massive. And it's really stuck with me, mate. Yeah.

Brendan Rogers: What I'd love to know, and I'd love you to share in that. What did you take away from that in the start doing, stop doing, keep doing?

Nathan Grey: I got the feedback of, something for me to stop doing was being so hard on my teammates. That was definitely something that I felt I didn't really realise that. I thought I was just being demanding and wanting to get the best out of guys. But the feedback I got was, “We love your enthusiasm. We love the way you want to play the game, but everyone isn't the same.” And that was going back to what we were talking about earlier is having that understanding, that respect and knowledge, that your way isn't necessarily the best way and that other people don't function in the same way that you do. And that's fine. And that's fine. So that was some great learnings from my perspective around, “Okay. There's lots of different ways to get the same result. The way I might go about my preparation and my performance is different to someone else, but that doesn't mean that it's bad, but it just means that it's different.”

And we’re both getting to the same destination. And that was something that really, that I needed highlighting. Something for me to start doing was taking a bit more of an interest in the younger guys in the squad coming into the squad and sort of helping them out a little bit. ‘Cause I was always at the sort of end of my Super Rugby career in 2004, 2005. And the young guys were, “You kind of come across a little bit intimidating.” My perception was that, “Mate, I'm cruisie, I'm pretty relaxed. I'm laid back. I’m no dramas.” And these young guys are going, “Mate, well, we're worried about when you walk in the room not to look at you.” And that was, again, that was something that, I didn't see that. I just didn't see that because I had this self perception that, “Yeah, I was pretty approachable.”

I was pretty relaxed. And then, I could turn the switch on and be quite serious. So getting that balance right was some feedback that I got. And again, it was great for me because it was, “Okay, these guys need this from me and want this from me. And I can do that.” It's not a big change for me. It's just a matter of identifying that, knowing it, and then going out and actioning it. So, yeah, that's sort of the two big takeaways that I got from that process. And I've been involved in teams where I've really wanted to do that. And there's been some pushback from other coaches. And to me, that's a red flag in itself that if you're not willing to sort of go down that path, then maybe you're not wanting to hear what the reality and the truth is.

Brendan Rogers: Where do you think that pushback lies? What's the root cause of that pushback in what you've seen? Have you nailed that?

Nathan Grey: Mate, I think it's the potential, it’s not, undermining is not the right word, but the potential that the course and the road that you were heading down might need to be adjusted. And therefore, you might be criticised as a Coach. Your philosophies might be questioned and criticised, and that might not sit well with you. But in saying that, it all depends what set of glasses you want to put on to look at that information, doesn't it? It's, “Well do you see that as a negative?” or “Do you see that as your players talking, your staff talking to you about how they feel things can be better?” It doesn't necessarily mean that they're saying what you're doing or the course that we're going on is wrong or is bad. It's just, let's look at it and talk about it. I've also been told that the Leading Teams that, like, “You need to be very careful.” I heard, you know, “A couple of AFL teams have gone down the path and it was facilitated really poorly. And it ended up being, you know, disintegrated a lot of relationships and culture within a couple of organisations and it wasn't handled well.” So, you know, it's a very powerful tool, but I think it needs to be managed and facilitated really well. And again, that's a real skill.

Brendan Rogers: You are a hundred percent spot on. And the Leading Teams guys and girls, they are just absolutely experts in that craft, but it is a very much a real skill. You've got to be able to read the room and read the team effectively before you even introduced an exercise like that. What I really love, and I shouldn't say I'm always fascinated by this because it's just so common, even in my introduction about this hard-nosed person that you are in this defensive, you know, you really built your game off the back of defence. Your background, as far as a young fellow growing up in places like PNG and Fiji, and your words where you just got on with stuff, you know, you move forward and you became quite independent, but then how that's rubbed off into what people gave you, feedback about what you should stop doing is people perceive that as being, not that comfortable when they're with you and you walk into a room and the room changes.

Nathan Grey: It's your own perception, but against the reality. And people are making those decisions and those assumptions based on your behaviour, whether it's your expression on your face, your body language, your tone when you talk, how you get your message across. Are you very sociable? Do you make an effort to sort of be approachable? And being approachable, it doesn't necessarily mean one way is the right way. And I've learned that as a Coach now, where I've had to go into a, you know, go into a dining room, I have a strong philosophy of when, you know, when you're in a team environment, you tend to go and you have meals together regularly. So you tend to always go and sit with similar people. It’s like, as a coaching staff, you might go and find another coaching staff to sit on a table or whatnot. So, but I'm really conscious now of going in and sitting next to someone who I haven't had, I don't know that well, I don't know a lot about them and I’ll feel a little bit uncomfortable for the first couple of minutes. And I can tell you, honestly, I've sat there with my plate loaded and I've scanned the room and I've gone, “Oh, okay. I want to go and sit over there.” I don't really want to go and sit over there because I don't really know that guy that well, and then, no mate, go and do it, “Now's the time.” And that sort of a tool that I've used to try and force myself to put myself out of that comfort zone, to get to know someone better because I know how important it is.

Brendan Rogers: I wonder how many of the players or coaching staff are sitting there thinking, “Don't make eye contact. He might sit here. Don't make eye contact. He might sit here.” (Laughing)

Nathan Grey: Yeah. And if that's the case, I look at that as, “That’s my problem. That's my problem to diffuse. It's not the players. That's my problem.” So I've got to lead the conversation. I've got to make the effort. It's funny. Like I've sat, I sat in a restaurant, had breakfast with a guy. He’s a very quiet guy. And he's a very sort of inward-looking guy, very quiet. And I'd tried to sit with him a couple of times and had a couple of awkward conversations, and whatnot. But this breakfast, I went, “Right. I'm going to test him out today. I'm going to sit down.” And I was only two people at the table. Like, sitting across from each other. “I'm going to stay strong. I'm not going to say anything until he starts the conversation.” Fifteen minutes of dead silence, got up, left and having a chat to him after it, he was like, “Oh. No drama. I had, no dramas. It was, I was just having my breakie, my own thoughts. And then I finished, so I left.” So in his mind, he’s fine. It was, everything was normal. It was sweet. That dynamic is really interesting. And everyone's different. Everyone's different. Some guys want, are very talkative. Other guys are very quiet. So it's interesting.

Brendan Rogers: Absolutely. Look, really great example. Thanks for sharing that. I want to throw a bit of a curve ball in there, back to your schooling days, TSS. Now, I'm sure your parents are absolutely fantastic people, but I'm really struggling to understand how they chose a school like TSS as a boarding school versus Nudgee College. What was their thinking in that?

Nathan Grey: (Laughing) Yeah. How stupid. It certainly wasn't rugby-based ‘cause if  it was based around rugby, I would have gone to Nudgee. Nudgee was an absolute powerhouse when I started at school and TSS was a genuine minnow of rugby. But my father's Mum lived on the Gold Coast. She lived at Palmy. That was my Dad's only sort of family in Australia. And his sister lived on the Gold Coast as well. So yeah, that was, my sister went to St. Hilda's and my brother went to TSS. Yeah. We just followed. So that's the reasoning why we ended up there.

Brendan Rogers: That's a pretty good reason, mate. I understand that. But I guess you sort of busted one of the, maybe myths that you and I joke about, but this is the first question I want to throw into you around a bit of a trivial pursuit around GPS schools. Which school has won the most rugby premierships in its history?

Nathan Grey: Wow. Which school? I'd have to say, probably Nudgee.

Brendan Rogers: Well done, mate. Well done. Nudgee College is 42 premierships.

Nathan Grey: Yeah.

Brendan Rogers: Do you know how many the Southport School have won?

Nathan Grey: Well, who's 2nd? That might be a better way. Who's second?

Brendan Rogers: I'm asking the questions here.

Nathan Grey: (Laughing) 42nd, 42. I reckon, maybe 10?

Brendan Rogers: Pretty good, mate. 11.

Nathan Grey: Oh, okay.

Brendan Rogers: 11. So Nudgee is almost four times better than TSS.

Nathan Grey: That is bullshit, mate.

Brendan Rogers: Look, stats do not lie, Nathan.

Nathan Grey: Oh, dear. Fair point.

Brendan Rogers: Look, let's move on. Let's move on. But thank you for raising that point about rugby and Nudgee College. I appreciate it.

Nathan Grey: No worries.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, what I'm really interested in understanding about Nathan Grey the person is I've been really fortunate to know and interact with a number of people generally in the football space. That's my background that have played at a high level and elite level of football. There's so many of them that they finish their elite playing days, their professional sporting days, and the last thing they want to go into is coaching. They really want to get out of the environment. So, you certainly took some time away, obviously, since playing, but then coming back into coaching, what is it that drives Nathan Grey, you had this great playing career, and now you're developing a really fantastic and solid coaching career.

Nathan Grey: Look, when I was playing, they used the ex-players used to come in and sort of have a chat to the team sometimes. And I was so switched off about that and all that and I was yeh whatever, like, “Just let us get on with playing.” And under a number of different coaches and they're all good, some bad, some great. And I had no motivation at all to go into coaching at all. I wanted to go into advertising. And then, when I finished in 2004, end of 2005 in Australia, I signed my deal to go to Japan. And part of the deal was I had to coach as well. And at the time, I just went, “Yeah, no problems. Yeah, whatever. I'll coach.” And I was very fortunate because Adrian Thompson who works at rugby Australia now, he signed as the Head Coach of the team that I was going to.

So there was an Australian Head Coach, and then, I came in as sort of a marquee player. And then, I was going to coach as well and Thomo sort of set up the whole program. And then, he just goes, “Oh, look, mate, you just look after the backs, both attack and defence. And then, I’ll do a little bit of the defensive stuff and I’ll do all the lineout and whatnot.” And I jumped into it and I just found it so intoxicatingly fun and enjoyable. And the ability to just pass on a little bit of information from my experience to these Japanese guys, then seeing them go onto the field, deliver that, and then get their confidence on the field and then that confidence on the field then translated off the field as being really good guys. It was something that I thought to myself, “Man, I've been pretty lucky with the rugby pass that I've had from a playing and then being coached by different coaches.”

I really enjoyed, started to enjoy the coaching side of it from the benefit that it gave the players. That was really my motivation, or not motivation, it’s not the right word. That was my, that was the drug that I sort of became addicted to was seeing opportunities for players to get better, helping them achieve that, and then witnessing the confidence and the growth in the players and then the team that I was involved in. So yeah, I have a real strong memory of being over at Kyuden, which is where I was. And we were in second division when I arrived there. And there was a game that we played our final game to get promoted into the Top League over there, which is the Super Rugby of Japan. And we played in this stadium in Fukuoka and there was 15,000 people at this game.

10,000 of them were from the company that we were working with. We reckon the CEO sent out the memo saying, “If you don't go to this game, you're going to be fired.” And just looking around them, and we won the game, and we got promoted to Top League. And just looking around all these Japanese people, all the players, all the staff and the genuine joy, jubilation that the game had brought to them and the result had brought to them as individuals, and then, as a company as well with something, you know, I sat back and I sort of looked at it all. And I thought, you know, that's bloody awesome. And it wasn't, you know, as a player playing for the Wallabies, you kind of, that support that we had was just so good and so consistent, you kind of did take that support a little bit for granted and you forgot how powerful it was.

And just seeing it in a different country in a, like a small second division team that we were when we first started, it was really intoxicating. And that's what sort of lit the fuse for me around coaching. And I was in Japan and coaching over there. And then, Rod McQueen gave me a call at the end of 2010. And he said, “Mate, I'm going to be the Head Coach. And I'm setting up the Melbourne Rebels, which is going to be a new Super Rugby side coming in.” Blah, blah, blah. “Would you be interested in putting your hat in the ring to come over and be a Coach?” And I was, “Wow.” I thought, “Yeah. Okay. No dramas.” Did my presentation, put my hat in the ring. And then, next thing I know, I was lucky enough to get the gig and then moved the family back to Melbourne.

And it started there in a side that I was really excited to be a part of because you know, it was new, and you could really put your stamp on it. And, you know, I still have great memories and friends in Melbourne from that time of setting it up. And again, just highlights to me the beauty of our game and how good the relationships are and the people involved in it are. So, yeah, the only problem is if I find out they’re from Nudgee, they sort of drop down a few rungs on the ladder.

Brendan Rogers: (Laughing) Mate, I've got another question for you, but seen as though you've raised that again, what I'd like to do is just ask you another trivial pursuit GPS question. And that is out of the two schools, St. Joseph’s Nudgee College and The Southport School, which has won the most basketball premierships?

Nathan Grey: (Laughing) Who cares? TSS has won the most basketball; they're very strong in basketball.

Brendan Rogers: Unfortunately, not. Unfortunately, not. TSS has won three premierships and St. Joseph's Nudgee College has won seven basketball premierships. We are only a little bit more than twice as good in basketball. Getting back to the main topic, what I'm also really interested in. That's a really fantastic example of the coaching experience and that euphoria around that and more, what I heard through your voice was actually the pleasure that you had in helping that team. It wasn't about you it was about the team. How has that started to shape you as a Coach? And what does that legacy look for you as a Coach moving forward?

Nathan Grey: It's an interesting one because that ability to extract the best out of people and get them to be their best is something that is hard to do. And, you know, obviously, the success of Australian rugby in the last sort of 10 years, it hasn't been great. But you know, it's all about, you know, you're very self-reflective on how you can do things better, how you can improve what you've been doing, how you can get more out of the players, how you can get them to understand the importance of some key things around the game that they need to get better at. That sort of search for that continual learning is something that I'm very, very interested in, and sort of diving into it at the moment around. How can we get more and be better at what we're doing?

And that sort of search for doing that and that, I suppose, from a legacy perspective, I'd love for someone to have a conversation with a player 10 years after they've retired and they're talking about footy. And you get mentioned as someone who, you know, they enjoyed being in the environment with, they learned from, they got a new appreciation or a different appreciation for the game. That would be something that I'd be very proud of in terms of knowing that was happening. In 2015, I had Adam Ashley-Cooper at the end of the World Cup, we were sitting down having a few beers. And he's like, “Mate, he goes, Mate, the last couple of years, I've really enjoyed working with you and I reckon, I'm actually, I reckon I’m going to become a defence coach.”

And I thought to myself, I thought, “You know what? I've had some input to that kid or that young man.” And that's awesome if he thinks that he, you know, he has enjoyed and experienced the coaching that I've been involved in in the team environment. And he wants to sort of take that on as something where he feels as though he could give back. That's something that, you know, that I was sort of certainly very proud of and chuffed at to hear at the time. That's what I'd like to sort of be in terms from a legacy perspective is, you know, that you're an honest person, you made a difference. You lit a spark in someone and created that enjoyment of the game and the relationship that you have with them with something that's memorable and that they'll hang onto for a long period of time.

Brendan Rogers: Given that the coaching is where it sits for you now, and I imagine at some point, you will be a Head Coach, I think that's where you want to go. What are the leadership qualities based on your own experiences, your own qualities, the qualities you've seen in leaders that you've played under, what are those leadership qualities that you value for maybe future leaders of a team that you're head coach of?

Nathan Grey: First and foremost, you've got to have a really good understanding of what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, both from a rugby-knowledge perspective, but also, from a personality perspective. And I've learned that from sort of observing and being involved in other coaches. You know, you look at coaches that I’ve been coached by. I know Bob Dwyer is someone who, a World Cup winning coach, who was a wealth of knowledge on every aspect of the game. Then, you've got someone like a Rod MacQueen who, you know, his knowledge and his visions of the game were great, but he surrounded himself with some really, really good people around the technical, really specific technical sides, parts of the game, that balanced him out. Eddie Jones is another one who's a very good leader, but he also identifies his weaknesses around different aspects of the game or the different benefits that other coaches could bring to his teams.

So he goes and gets those people and gets that balance. Working with Cheika, he identified that, you know, he was interesting because he identified in me. He sort of said to me, he goes, “Mate, I’m a Lebanese immigrant who's come to Australia and I'm coaching the Wallabies. Like what connection have I bloody got with the Wallabies?” He goes, “Yeah, I wanted to be a Wallaby when I was playing, but not really like,” and he sort of saw me as someone who, you know, had played for Australia, had represented Australia and he sort of, not too complimentary, sort of said, “Mate, you're the closest best Aussie that I know. So I need to have you involved. I need you to bring that to the team.” So sort of understanding yourself is I suppose, where I'm getting at is a really important attribute to have as a leader and being genuine in your delivery and how you sort of want to present yourself.

That's certainly something that I sort of feel very strongly about. Also your leadership style, you know, whether you need to jump around with a different leadership style, you need to be that democratic leader. You need to be that authoritative leader occasionally. You need to drop into those different types of leadership styles to get the best out of your players because that's ultimately the goal of what you want to try and do. You need to provide an environment where the players can come in, feel safe, feel comfortable, have trust in one another and then go about building and performing and being the best that they can possibly be. So understanding individuals is probably something that's very, very important as well. And that comes with being able to drift in and out of the different leadership styles to be able to extract the best out of people.

Another sort of attribute is empathy and having a genuine understanding of your players. And again, that's easily said and very hard to deliver. You've got, you know, a squad of 40 guys, everyone who thinks they should be playing, everyone who thinks they probably should be selected. So you're dealing with selection issues and knowing how to go about that and that process. While, you know, you’re obviously delivering a few shit sandwiches to players. You're doing it in a way that their contribution is valued, their opinion is valued. They're welcome in the team. They need to feel safe and very comfortable in the team to be able to perform and to stay persistent that their opportunity might come. So being able to do that as a Coach and as a leader is again, that's hard to do.

And I’ve all been involved with Coaches. Who were sort of, you know, you get the shits with players or you have a grievance with someone and that can impact their selection. The ability to, you know, step above that and then sort of go, “Okay, what are the pieces of the puzzle that I need? How am I going to do that? And how am I going to get the best out of each of the players that I'm involved with?” So being genuine, understanding your leadership, you know, your strengths and weaknesses, the ability to jump between leadership styles is critical in achieving confidence and comfort with your playing group and your staff as well. And that's something that often gets forgotten about is the relationship as a leader with his staff. It's usually just the Coach and the players, but the Coach and the staff relationship is so critical in building that environment where people can perform.

And I suppose that's the perfect segue into the last point for me, is as a leader, creating the environment for performance, and that has a number of different arrows that go into it around building that environment, creating the right culture, getting the right people and having the right resources and basically, having a real, clear vision and purpose of why you've come together and then going about and setting the course to go and achieve something.

Brendan Rogers: At risk of putting you offside with any past teammates or anything, is there a player that comes to mind that may not have been a Captain of the Wallabies, but demonstrated these leadership qualities that you really value?

Nathan Grey: Hopefully, your listeners aren't too young or know some of these players, but the leadership of a team or the leadership group, these sort of buzzwords that you hear a lot of the moment, I've got a really strong feeling that, you know, we tend to sort of try and find this one person in a squad or these two people in a group that you go, “Yeah, they’re our leaders and they have great values. They have all these things that are excellent. That's what we want to do.” Where the reality of any successful team, you look across any sport, everyone's a leader. Everyone is a leader in their own way.

And probably, a couple of guys that jumped to mind for me, a guy like when I was playing years ago, in the early days is someone like Dave Wilson who was a back-rower. He was the David Pocock of the golden era of, in that sort of 90’s through to 2003. He was a guy who just performed consistently well all the time. When he spoke, you listened. He was a really lovely guy to be around, really honest. But not put on a pedestal as a leader. He just went about his business, had a strong understanding of his impact in the team and how he could help the team and just went about doing it. You hear a lot of conversations around, you know, John Eales and George Gregan, and around being great leaders. Yes, they were but their leadership style is very different to each other, both those two, but was done in a way that brought the best out of the team. You know, the ‘99 World Cup team that won, would have had seven really good leaders in a Starting XV.

Even going into 2003, playing is still a core. Like it would have been half a dozen guys who were all leading, not just one guy. And that's probably a bit of a downfall of, I think the Wallabies over a period of time when I was involved with them was we sort of had Michael Hooper as a sort of standout really good leader. And he needed support and he needed help. That's probably our fault as a coaching group that we didn't help develop that. And we didn't help nurture that a little bit more, but you need to have a group of leaders in your team and not someone who sits back and goes, “Oh, he's going to do the leading.” That's when you start to get that, you know, one guy starts to get pushed to the top and everyone looks to him for everything. And then, for that person, they get drained. There's too much demands on them and they try too hard and they're only delivering their best, but it's just too draining. So you need to have a good spread of leadership.

Brendan Rogers: I feel like it's time for GPS trivial pursuit three question. I think you like this one. So this is cricket. Now, when we talk cricket, BBC is first the outright leaders in the premiership table of the number of premierships with 35. Who do you think is the second school with GPS cricket premierships?

Nathan Grey: It has to be, it would have to be TSS.

Brendan Rogers: Well done, mate. It is TSS with 20…

Nathan Grey: Strong.

Brendan Rogers: ...very strong. Very strong. Nudgee College is actually third from Bottom 10. So, you can say that TSS is double as good as Nudgee College at this moment in time in cricket.

Nathan Grey: Wow.

Brendan Rogers: I want to move across to teamwork. What does teamwork look like in rugby for you?

Nathan Grey: It's a culmination, teamwork looks like a culmination of a number of different things coming together, and then it's delivered on the field. In a way, that the players are confident in delivering. They're going to make mistakes, but that teamwork and that cohesion is very visible from a number of different sort of metrics from a purely analytical perspective. But also, just if you're watching a game, you can see the teamwork and the cohesion when everyone's working positively, they're working hard for each other. They're getting off the ground. They're getting in position early. They're executing really well. So teamwork on the field looks like a game that is flowing. They're able to build pressure and they're actually being able to put pressure on the opposition and then score points. So that's sort of what it looks like on the field. And then, teamwork off the field for me is again, a number of little different things that you're going to see around the training paddock, in the locker room, a number of different things around teamwork that are going to go into creating a really positive environment.

So just, a consistently-delivered group of behaviours that shows each other and the outside what the team's about, you know, their ability to prepare well, look after each other, look out for each other off the field, as well as on the field and genuinely be good people to each other and be diligent with their work. That's what teamwork looks like. It's a very individual thing. Teamwork. I know that sounds weird, but it's a very individual thing that when everyone's doing those things well and consistently, that's going to transfer to trust and understanding, and then, obviously, a good performance on the field.

Brendan Rogers: Very interesting, what you just said about teamwork, can be an individual thing as well. I hundred percent believe that there are certain traits and qualities that individuals have that make them great team players. For you and in the environment you've been in and what you've experienced, what stands out for you about someone or people that have been fantastic team players?

Nathan Grey: It would be their consistency and also their demeanor. From a consistency perspective, they always train at a high level, they're always well-prepared. It's not that they don't make mistakes or make errors. It's if they do, the errors are made going flat out, the errors are made with really good intention. There's no lazy errors. And then, off the field, it's, you know, they're very approachable. They're very confident in what they're doing. They're very willing to have conversations around how you can help them, but also how they can help you. And that they speak up, they voice their opinions. They let someone know if they're not happy, but conversely, they'll also show gratitude. They'll show other people that they're very thankful for what they're doing. And they're very appreciative of what other people are doing. So, to have all those attributes is quite rare. But if you want to strive towards being an excellent teammate and being someone who can contribute to your organisation in a really positive way, I think they're the attributes that you want to be displaying.

Brendan Rogers: Conversely, what does a really poor team player look like in your environment?

Nathan Grey: Well, the first thing that comes to mind for me is selfish. They don't have that level of understanding how their actions, their frame of mind, their demeanor is going to impact others. And selfish is the first thing that comes to mind. And that's a difficult one as well. Because if you look into the world and the mind of a professional athlete, by nature, you need to be a selfish person. You need to be a person that you are making a lot of sacrifices or choices around, giving things up to make sure that you're okay. The people around, you have to have an understanding that you can't do a lot of things because you are really focused on your professional career and you can't be going to parties. You can't be going out, away for the weekend. You can't go to family's weddings and whatnot. And from one lens, it is a selfish environment to be in.

But it's important that guys understand that everyone is in the same boat. And then, you need to flick that switch to having that sort of empathy towards, “Okay, everyone's making these choices around that, but the selfish behaviour needs to be for the betterment of the team.” So you're selfish in your focused ability to do what's best for the team. And the selfishness can be sort of exhibited in a negative mind when you're in a team environment. Your needs, wants, desires are prioritised above someone else's. And those types of people in an organisation, they're your vampires. They're the guys, or girls. They're the people who are sucking the blood out of the organisation. They're detracting from people being their best or people getting on and doing their best because everyone's not always going to be at their best.

But if they know that it's okay to have a bit of a shit day and you're going to be supported and whatnot, then you're going to get out of that negative mindset pretty quickly. But the selfish people, the vampires, tend to be the ones who are just constantly draining the resources of the organisation. And they, in the harsh reality of professional sport these days, you've got to identify those people and you've got to get rid of them. They're going to hurt you. You want to be, you know, you want to be a leader and a follower. You don't need vampires.

Brendan Rogers: In your coaching experience so far, have you had that and again, I’m not about sort of naming people specifically, but where that's sort of come about and even how you've helped deal with that or how you've had to deal with it?

Nathan Grey: Yeah, I think. You know, hindsight's always 2020, but a really good learning from my perspective was, you know, was Israel and it's quite, look, it's not really controversial. It's just the way it is. But Israel Folau and his beliefs and his stance, which became very public, you know, he was in the team environment for five years. And to think that that didn't have some sort of erosive impact in the team is probably a little bit naive. But as coaches at the time, we couldn't really see that. You know, we were sort of seeing, “His performances, his application to training, his ability to help other teammates and that as being excellent.” But under the surface, clearly, there was something that was going on and to think that players weren't significantly impacted by that, is just crazy. So it's a really interesting point because, you know, you have someone like him, who's a world-class player in your organisation, yet still there's some erosive features going on in that you're not really sure about, that you can't really put your finger on, that are eroding the quality of the team and the culture that you're trying to create. So yeah, he's someone who really jumps to mind around that. And I just find that I look back openly and honestly, and I go, “Yeah.” You know, we really, really missed that as a coaching group. And then, that significantly impacted our ability to get the best out of the team. No doubt.

Brendan Rogers: I know you've been dying to talk rowing for our next trivial pursuit question. So let me ask you this question. Out of The Southport School and Nudgee College, which has the best win ratio in the Head of River with GPS rowing?

Nathan Grey: That is, you are moving the goalposts, my friend. The best ratio, that is absolute rubbish ‘cause Nudgee only started rowing a couple of years ago.

Brendan Rogers: (Laughing) Please answer the question.

Nathan Grey: I'm still saying Southport has the high ratio.

Brendan Rogers: Unfortunately, that's a wrong answer, Nathan. As you indicated, Nudgee did only join the Head of River competition and the rowing competition in 2002. And has since won 9, Heads of River, The Southport School has won 21 overall, but they started in 1918. So St. Joseph's Nudgee College ratio in rowing as far as wins Head of River is far superior than The Southport School.

Nathan Grey: Wow.

Brendan Rogers: I want to move into the culture of rugby. There's that famous book Legacy, which is all around the All Blacks. For many years, I guess you can say that the culture in Australian rugby, and I think, unfortunately, that's probably been just a measure of results on the field, but what is this rugby culture that the All Blacks have? And how does that seem to differ from so many other teams in the world?

Brendan Rogers: Like a lot of cultures, it's a product of the environment and it's unique. Yeah. So trying to compare a New Zealand rugby culture to an Australian rugby culture to an English rugby culture is very different around their environments. Look at New Zealand as a country, from a sporting comparison, for the amount of people that they have, they're extremely successful across a number of different sports. You got netball and rugby are probably the two biggest, but from a participation perspective, rugby over there is light years ahead of any other sport available, any other sport available. And then, you look at, even over in the UK where you have soccer or football, and then you've got rugby from a males and more, so much now into females as being the two major competitors for athletes. And then, again, football probably has the upper hand there and you go to Australia where we have rugby, we've got rugby league, we've got AFL, we've got football, the draw and the competition for athletes in Australia is not matched anywhere else in the world.

And that's just the dynamic of where we are. That's just the reality. That's not an excuse or a one comparison to the other. It's just, that's the reality of where we're at. So trying to create and draw the best possible talent into your sport is not an issue, but it's something that New Zealand doesn't have to deal with that we do. And in saying that, even when we get a hold of players and when they come into the rugby fraternity, into that rugby environment, there's so many great values that are instilled in people involved in rugby from a very young age, like junior clubs, men's and women's clubs.

When you look at all the different competitions around Australia and Junior Rugby. And rugby in itself is really thriving. And the performance of the national team is critical. Yeah. And we haven't had that. We haven't had that success. We haven't had that consistent success for a few years. But again, you look at the lens that you look at that through. Look, we've played in the World Cup final in 2015. Yeah. We got beaten in the World Cup in 2015. We've beaten New Zealand on a number of occasions between ‘15 and ‘19. You know, a number of times, we played really well. Just lost. A few times, we've been consistent with being beaten. We haven't had the Bledisloe Cup for 18 years, but you need to win a majority of games to win that thing back, but it's not like we can't beat them or they haven't been beaten. So it all depends on the lens that you look through. I think the rugby culture in Australia is really healthy. The relationships of people that I speak to and their desire for the national team to do well is overwhelmingly really positive.

The friends that we've got at young ages of families who are coming into rugby are just so buoyed by the type of people and their relationships and the welcoming nature of what our game offers. And the fact that it is a global game is something that is truly unique to rugby. So I think that having a look at that broader culture of rugby in Australia is really healthy. And then, if you narrow it right down to the culture of the Wallabies, and I've had a real intricate knowledge of that, it's something that is a real work on for us. When I first came into the Wallaby environment in 2014, Michael Cheika, we adopted a Wallaby side that was under sort of Ewen Mckenzie. In 2014, Ewen Mackenzie resigned from the Wallaby role after the rugby championships. And then, the Wallabies were to leave on a spring tour, five weeks to the UK in two weeks. And they had no Wallaby coach. There was no coach.

So, they essentially asked Michael Cheika if he'd do the job. And he was super happy to do that, and then asked if we'd come along. And sort of on that trip, we sort of discovered that, you know, the guys sort of didn't really have a great deal of purpose in what they were doing and a really clear understanding of why they would trying to do what they were trying to do. So Cheika went about creating an identity piece where the players could be really honoured and could tie themselves to that identity piece. And that was something that was very instrumental in the success of what we had going through 15 sort of 16.

And the ability for us to evolve that culture from there after getting that success is something that I've certainly learned as a Coach is that's really important to do as a Coach is to evolve the culture of your team. You can't rely on something that's worked really well one year, and then think that it's going to work the next. You don't have to change it drastically, but you do have to evolve. And that's something where I think we haven't done that quite well enough. And from having conversations with guys in the Wallaby environment now, that Dave Rennie coming on board with the new coaching staff has been able to sort of reignite that and start to evolve that culture within that Australian team so.

Brendan Rogers: You’re in the know. We're outsiders looking in here. I guess we only see and hear what the media allows us to see and hear. If there was one thing that you would change or adapt or whatever that word is within the Wallabies today to help really create solid foundations and this cultivation and evolution of culture, what would that be for you?

Nathan Grey: Oh, for me, it's the identification and the application of aggression and intimidation in the game. It's something that was, it was very much taken for granted during successful periods. And I think it's drifted away a lot from the Australian game. It’s not from a lack of trying, I think it's just, we need to maybe reeducate our players around the aggressive side of the game, the intimidation side of the game, and how important that is to allowing you to do what you need to do to perform really well. And that aggression and that intimidation is not illegal play. It's not foul play. It's just being really excited and up for the contest and understanding how important it is to be physically dominant over your opposition. You know, you look back to successful teams, you know, South Africa last year at the World Cup, current World Cup champions, were excellent in that arena. Excellent in that arena. You know, England are getting very good in that part of the game, around, you know, their ability to do that. You see, when the New Zealanders are very consistent in delivering that. You know, Australia, when they get it right, we beat anyone. It's the consistency of delivering that. So that's probably one thing that I would love to just get a big fat syringe and inject it into everyone.

Brendan Rogers: We've probably got time for maybe two more GPS trivial pursuit questions. Let's talk football ‘cause you mentioned football. What GPS school heads the lists of football premierships?

Nathan Grey: Oh, I'm gonna go with, I don't know much about football at GPS schools. I'm going to go maybe, Brisbane Grammar.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, I'm really surprised with your answer because there only can be one answer. It's St. Joseph's Nudgee College with 9 wins. Do you know how many The Southport School have?

Nathan Grey: Oh, they’d have a couple. Three?

Brendan Rogers: Three. Well done. So we are only three times as good again.

Nathan Grey: At soccer.

Brendan Rogers: At soccer. Yes. Yes.

Nathan Grey: Wow.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, what does the next part of Nathan Grey’s life in the coaching arena look like? Where do you want it to go? And what's the impact you want to have?

Nathan Grey: Yeah, for me, it's an opportunity to head up a program somewhere and head coach. Potentially, the opportunity might rise with the Under 20’s, with the Australian Under 20’s, with the Junior side of which I'm super excited about the ability to, you know, all the things that we've sort of spoken about that I really love about coaching is the ability to pass on knowledge and motivate and be involved in a team. Trying to be the best they possibly can. Is something that I'm really looking forward to. And, you know, knowing that those players are gonna progress through to the Wallabies and be the ultimate players for Australia is something that I find really exciting to be involved in. So you can see, you know, the current crop of Wallabies that are playing. There's a number of those guys who played in the Under 20’s last year and the last couple of years. So that pathway there for players is very clear and getting that pathway right is really important because if you can get that right, then they're going to go into that Wallaby environment and can slot in and can perform straightaway.

Brendan Rogers: Fantastic, mate. One more trivial pursuit question. Out of swimming, tennis, and track and field, which school - Nudgee College or TSS - has the most number of aggregated wins in premierships?

Nathan Grey: I'm going to have to go with Nudgee College.

Brendan Rogers: Well done. Absolutely correct. Nudgee leads TSS on all three of those tables.

Nathan Grey: Really?

Brendan Rogers: Just so you're aware.

Nathan Grey: What a sporting institution. 

Brendan Rogers: You said it. Mate, how can our listeners get hold of you?

Nathan Grey: You can get hold of us at nathan.grey@rugby.com. I’m more than happy to chew the fat, swap ideas. And, yeah.

Brendan Rogers: I would just want to say, mate, you've been a great sport on the show today. I really appreciate your comments, your experience both as a player and as a Coach. It was fantastic to meet you through, you know, Joey Peters and the GPL stuff that she's doing. I think it's really exciting, your mindset as a leader. But also, as a former player and a future or a Coach today, but certainly a future Coach of potentially, the Wallabies into the future. Really exciting stuff, mate. So well done on what you're doing. Well done on your mindset. Thank you for being a guest on The Culture of Things podcast today.

Nathan Grey: No worries, Brendan. Really appreciate it. And thanks for your time. And yeh, to all the listeners out there. The Culture of Things is where it's at. So thanks for having me on board.

Brendan Rogers: Absolute pleasure, mate. Thank you. And before we do go, I have time for one final GPS trivial pursuit question. Out of chess and debating, which school - Nudgee College or TSS - has won more premierships?

Nathan Grey: TSS. ‘Cause they're more astute where, so I'm thinking of chess using the mind and what was the other one? Chess and debating. Yeah. We’re clearly young fellows on the Gold Coast, trying to argue their way out of something that they haven't done, are going to be more successful than the Nudgee Collegians.

Brendan Rogers: Mate, it's a pretty reasonable guess. It's not quite right because...

Nathan Grey: So close.

Brendan Rogers: Very close. You only had two to choose from. This one was a bit of a trick question because both schools, at least in chess and debating, are as crap as each other. Both have never won a premiership in chess or debating.

Nathan Grey: Oh, wow.

Brendan Rogers: Thanks for being a guest, buddy.

Nathan Grey: No worries, mate.

(Music plays)

Brendan Rogers: So much of what Nathan shared involved looking at himself and what impact he had individually or as part of the team, whether that be as a player or Coach. That self-reflection and self-awareness is so critical to improving as a person and as a leader. Nathan mentioned during this interview about a possible opportunity to take on the Head Coach role of the Junior Wallabies Under 20’s team. Since recording, Nathan has been confirmed as the Head Coach. Well done, Nathan. Based on your mindset around culture, leadership, and teamwork, Rugby Australia and the Junior Wallabies are very lucky to have you on board.

These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Nathan.

My first key takeaway. Leaders have a high level of self-awareness. They understand their own strengths and weaknesses and how to leverage these for the betterment of the team. They are aware of the impact their actions and behaviours have on the team, and they create opportunities for feedback to continue to gain a better understanding of how people perceive them. This helps drive their high level of self-awareness.

My second key takeaway. Leaders are passionate about helping people improve. They love searching for opportunities to help people get better. They love helping people perform at their best, and they love motivating people to be their best. Helping people improve is the fuel that powers all great leaders.

My third key takeaway. Keep the great team players and get rid of the vampires. If you want to build an A-grade team, you have to develop A-grade players and get rid of the C-grade players. The difference between a potential A-grade player and definite C-grade player is their behaviours. Like a vampire, a person with the wrong behaviours will suck the blood out of a team and organisation. Get rid of the vampires quickly, allowing you to put your time into developing the great team players.

So in summary, my three key takeaways were: leaders have a high level of self-awareness, leaders are passionate about helping people improve, and keep the great team players and get rid of the vampires.

Before I go, I wanted to give a shout out to a friend and ex-work colleague, Gary Wotherspoon. He's a champion bloke who I learned a lot from in my days in the corporate world. Gaz, I want to say thank you for listening and thank you for your help and support over the years. It means a lot.

If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a message at brendan@brendanrogers.com.au. Thank you for listening. Stay safe. Until next time.  


Outtro (music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.