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The Web of Accountability, Spider-Man and PSDT

This is how I think the convo went in the locker room at the 2019 World Cup.  


“OK chaps, let’s list the five critical objectives we need to accomplish to win this thing,” said Coach Rassie. He and Jacques were sitting with the senior players, and this meeting would determine the outcome of the entire tournament. What he was doing was a risk – but he felt confident it would work.  


“So, we’re going to write them down on this board… and each of you will take ownership of one of these objectives. Deal?” He looked at his players and was grateful to see five heads bobbing in agreement.   

“Jacques?” His lieutenant stood up and started writing on a whiteboard.  


“First up, we need to be physical. We need to be in their face all the time, especially up front.” He wrote down “Physical”. The players all grinned, and they turned to one of their own.  


It was Bongi, who gave a toothy smile. The combative hooker loved the rough stuff. "That’s all me, coach. I got this,” he said.  


Jacques nodded and wrote down Bongi next to “Physical”. He wrote down the next word. Well, it was more of a sentence. “Convert pressure into points.” He turned to the players.   

“This is for when we are in their 22 and attacking. This is when we need to force the errors that will lead to a try or conversion.”   


Duane Vermeulen raised his hand. “I’d like to own this one, coach.”  


He wrote down the hulking forward’s name. Thor, as Duane was known, was the perfect choice for this role, as he revelled in slowing down the opposition and converting possession.  


He wrote down the next piece. “Kick chase.” This was the variable attacking weapon where the back three players would chase the high kicks, putting pressure on the receivers and hoping to convert that pressure into territorial advantage or possession.   


Mercurial fullback Willie le Roux raised his hand. “We know this is not PSDT,” he said, to laughs from the others. “I’m all over it, coach.”  


He was referring by acronym to Pieter Steph du Toit, the indefatigable loose forward. Pieter-Steph just smiled. He knew he was here for a reason.  

“Yeah. We have a plan for him,” agreed Nienaber, before writing down another item. “Manage the referee.”   


Siya, the captain, nodded. “That’s my job coach.” Springbok teams of eras past had been at well-documented odds with the refereeing establishment – Siya with his humble and deferential approach was going to need to change that adversarial relationship.   


Nienaber nodded. There was one person left – Pieter Steph du Toit. He was waiting, and Nienaber chuckled. Nienaber wrote down: “Work rate and commitment.” Then he smiled back. “PSDT, we need someone to model the behaviour of JUST-NEVER-QUITTING. Could you do that for us?”  


“You betcha, coach.”

PG's Pro Tip

“With Great Power comes Great Responsibility” – Spider-Man 

As a leader, you need to make sure your top support team are in. They also need to lead, starting with themselves, but also each other. Giving your top players functional accountability for certain functions in the organization enhances ownership, and creates a web of accountability between them that takes the pressure off you. Use a RACI or FACE chart to plot out functional accountability streams in your organization, or give me a call on how to implement this. 

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