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Taking Tips from the G.O.A.T

from  October 26, 2023 | 2 min read

As a proud South African and ardent rugby union fan, I am, ofcourse, following the Rugby World Cup with great interest and, following our victory over England in the semi-final this past weekend, the tension, and a sense of anticipation is mounting as we move towards the final. 

In fact, it’s fair to say that excitement is reaching fever pitch and it’s not just South Africans who are feeling it. A short motivational video message

posted recently from Tom Brady – American Football icon and six-time SuperBowl champion – to the Springboks, our national team, ahead of the semi-final did, indeed, go viral. 

When a legend - known as ‘the G.O.A.T’ (greatest of all time) of American Football - gives a pep talk, we all need to sit up. As one of the most decorated NFL players, Tom Brady has been an inspirational figure to many people over the years...and not just in the world of sport. He played in the NFL for 23 seasons so is hugely credible when talking about commitment and passion, and his positivity and leadership shines through. 

Many of the messages Tom conveys are also great lessons for the world of business are just a few of his wise ‘nuggets’, which particularly resonate: 

  • Pressure is a privilege – this was actually a term first coined by former world number one tennis player, Billie Jean King, and how right she was! By facing pressure, it generally means that there is an expectation and great opportunity ahead, and that’s a positive.  To be faced with an important opportunity, to be under scrutiny and pressure to win is, indeed, a privilege – pressure, in the right forms, spurs people and businesses on to win. 
  • Rise as one – very relevant to the rugby match this weekend, the power of team. By supporting and lifting each other, having collective passion and goals, yet playing to our individual strengths, we can achieve great one. 
  • Dare to dream – if we don’t have dreams and aspirations, how can we achieve? By daring to dream, by thinking of the best possible outcomes, it drives us forward, and makes those more distant goals seem attainable. 
  • Anything is possible – this is a belief that we all need to have – staying positive and believing we can and that success, in whatever form, will follow. 

All of these rally cries also tie in to staying resilient - a topic I have spoken about at length over the last few months. In motivating the South African team, Brady stated ‘resilience knows no bounds’ and this can apply to both organizational resilience and also human resilience. Staying strong in the face of adversity, digging deep when times are tough strengthens both teams and individuals. Brady spoke about the power of the rugby team, praising their resilience, journey and spirit and how important it is to ‘take strength from each be an unstoppable force, together’. As people come together, their energy, differences and talent combine to drive a team forward – whether that’s a sporting team or one in business. 

And finally, the comment that resonated most closely with me was ‘Greatness is not achieved by the timid’.  I think that’s something we should all remember to live by and to take the chances when we can, be bold and aim high. Brady’s rousing message certainly hit the spot and I, for one, am inspired – so, as we head towards the final, come on the ‘Boks! 

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Mike Ettling - Chief Executive Officer at Unit4

Mike Ettling

Unit4 Chief Executive Officer

I’m a CEO, Investor, builder of world class teams, champion of diversity and continuous learner, and I’m passionate about people. From my first leadership role in the Boy Scouts, to exec positions in the tech industry, my career has revolved around elevating, engaging and enabling people. I joined Unit4 to get the market as excited in our unique approach to enterprise tech as I am. We’re building systems that change how people experience work, and the impact will be huge.

Outside of work I’m a proud father, Liverpool supporter and South African.