The Importance of Playing Your Role

This finals season Hawthorn have adopted ‘Play Your Role’ as their mantra, and we’ve had an interesting variety of experiences this week that have really highlighted the importance that both knowing exactly what your role is and then playing that role has on team performance.


Clearly the Hawks delivered on their mantra to a much higher level in the second round of the finals that they did in the first, and I’m sure it was a message that featured frequently during that week’s training.

We were watching the game from Singapore, where our pit lane view of the Formula One teams gave one of the best illustrations ever of knowing exactly what your role is and executing it seamlessly.  When you’re part of a team whose job it is to change four wheels on a car and get that car back out on the track in less than four seconds, knowing and playing your role is absolutely critical.

It was also interesting to consider that an F1 team must now be global, with phenomenal amounts of data generated by every part of the car and sent back to be analysed by both algorithms and team members in other parts of the world.  Decisions are then sent back to the local trackside team for execution, again illustrating the import of every person knowing their role and playing it to deliver the best possible outcome. It did make me laugh that in such a high tech environment  one guy on each team still had the job of putting lap numbers on a sign & sticking that out through a hole (on the far left below) but he still knew his role & played it!

A completely different example came from the team at the Ritz Carlton where we are staying.  I wrote after our previous stay about the truly extraordinary service culture that this hotel has, and it was on display again during this visit.  I’m sure one of the contributors is the way the managers and leaders here lead from the front, clearly modelling the type of behaviour they expect from their teams.

Every team member knows and plays their role in delivering a fantastic experience to each and every guest who stays here, whether that be those managers who are always visible in the public areas, interacting with guests and ensuring their stay is everything they wished it to be, the team who make the incredible towel art that sees our kids racing back to the room at night with eager anticipation,

Our family as towel art

or the team members whose role it appears is to come up with ways to surprise and delight that you could never have anticipated.

Sascha and Sam thrilled to be invited to be chefs for the day

It’s been a fascinating week for reinforcing the importance of both knowing and playing your role. Hopefully the Hawks play theirs to the best of their abilities this weekend and earn a place in the Grand Final as a result, but regardless of that outcome it’s definitely provided food for thought for us to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to assist our Epic teams to know and play their roles.

Newer Story:

Sunshine & Segways in Paris

September 27, 2015

Older Story:

Networking & Neuroscience in Noosa

September 20, 2015

Leave a Reply