Munster Rugby’s High Performance Leadership Programme

I attended the Munster Rugby High Performance Leadership (HPL) Programme recently. It is great that a programme like this is available in the Irish market. The HPL programme learnings derive from Munster Rugby’s ambition, excellence and success and are tailored so that these learnings are transferrable to people in their business and personal lives. The programme takes each participant as an individual and enables you to evaluate where you are, at this point in time. The 2.5 day course is set in Munster Rugby’s world class High Performance Centre within the University of Limerick campus with gym, kitchen facilities and the auditorium. This is an inspiring location and we were sharing the facilities with the players during our time there. One of the evening meals was with 2 current players and it was interesting to understand life from their perspective.

In preparation for the programme you are required to carry out broad based 360 reviews from the full spectrum of people you interact with, i.e. your work colleagues, your family and your voluntary organisations. You also carry out blood tests and basic fitness tests to enable you assess your current health and fitness status. Both the health tests and 360 feedback results can be challenging but they are also very empowering in terms of creating awareness around building a platform for improving performance and quality of life.

The programme looks at the individual from a physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual perspective. Apart from the benefits it brings to each participant, it also makes the programme very enjoyable as the mix of activities means it is constantly engaging.

The programme draws on UL’s experience and expertise in Sports Science/Exercise, Nutrition, Psychology and Business. Without hitting us with too much detail we were provided with very useful insights on nutrition and exercise (physical and mental).

We had a very interesting session with Anne O’Leary CEO of Vodafone on her style of leadership and how she progressed to her current role. This was in an informal setting which was excellent in terms of understanding the person and her values. The final ingredient the programme brings is the Munster Rugby values and culture which we experienced. There was an excellent session with Jerry Flannery where he spoke very eloquently and honestly about how they deal with the challenges of managing a large organization. I really enjoyed the programme but it is what I do with the learnings that will determine the benefits I achieve from the investment in time and money involved. For me, the key outcomes were the following:

  • Participating in the course in the first place provided me with a vote of confidence in myself as a leader and as a person. It was a luxury to shut myself away from the normal world for a few days. It’s refuelling and recharging with high quality fuel.
  • The awareness both on the diet and the exercise side has definitely resulted in positive outcomes on the health side and they are sustainable.
  • My biggest learning was the importance of how I go about setting my goals and it is something that I must give time and attention to in order to set the right goals going forward. When the goals are right the outcomes are significantly better. It is a fundamental learning from having to confront it.
  • The most important thing to me is appreciating yourself and backing that up with developing and supporting that asset for the benefit of family, work and the other stakeholders in your life. The programme provides context and processes to do this.

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