From Rugby to Work

Lee la versión en español aquí.

Just before I started working at Wolox, I decided to quit rugby. This was a major change in my life. Today, long after I stopped practicing it, I realized many things I learned back then can be applied to work and contributes to building a strong company team.

Proximity Roles

The first time I heard about “proximity roles” I was astonished, looking at my coach and thinking how I never thought about that before, something so simple that drastically changed my view of the world. This concept refers to the responsibilities you still have in regards to a problem or an event, even when you have a defined role within a team, depending on your proximity to it. In rugby, this applies to when a player enters a formation (ruck, for example) and is the first one to join.

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How does this relate to work? Let’s say we belong to a team where everyone has a specific role. What if one of the members has a problem and is unable to solve it? Each team member is responsible for resolving it so as to avoid the problem becoming worse. Even though the issue was raised by only one person, everyone must address it. This is something every team should always keep in mind.

My team at St. George’s College

I suggest you try this proximity roles concept, where you are responsible for helping the team above all, being alert and ready to take action when a problem comes up.

Look up, you are never alone

In rugby, when the ball is in your hands, your goal is to move forward through the opponent’s field and score a try. A very common mistake is not looking around, running with your head down and, if your opponents manage to corner you, you’ll clash against them and lose the ball, and create a mess of players on the field.

If you don’t look up, you cannot evaluate what are the best plays, and you’re not letting the team join you. That’s why my coaches always said to me “look up, you are not alone”. I realized today the same thing happens at work. When you have a problem that exceeds you, you have to look up and see who can help you solve it.

Preparing for the match

This applies to any group activity and you should remember you are not alone but surrounded by people willing to help you, it’s only a matter of looking up.

Rugby is and will always be the embodiment of teamwork, commitment, friendship, and dedication, for me. There are countless things I’ve learned that have helped open many doors.

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We constantly acknowledge and stress at Wolox how important teamwork is. Our best and brightest achievements were possible because there was a great team working together behind them.

I suggest, if you have the chance, watch a rugby match and take note at how the group dynamics works. Share that feeling with your team, encourage them to help each other and you’ll see how they solve problems together and better.

Posted by Ignacio Rivera (