The strength of the pack is the wolf. And the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Saracens the best culture of any rugby team. Culture in high performance sport

Congratulations to Saracens. The 4th team to retain the European Cup. 2 games away from a “Double Double” of European Cup and Aviva Premiership triumphs in consecutive seasons. There are few teams in Europe that come close to them on the rugby pitch.

And there are few teams that come close off the field. Saracens have worked incredibly hard to build a strong, positive culture. At the centre of their culture are the players and staff. They talk about being a wolfpack. As Rudyard Kipling said “The strength of the wolf is the pack. And the strength of the pack is the wolf.” And therein lies Saracens. Strong individuals but they know that their real strength is how they work together.

A major part of their culture is that Saracens give the impression of caring for their people. In return, they expect their staff to “work unbelievably hard”. To me, that’s what sets the Saracens culture apart. Work in any industry, for any company in any country of the world and there will be an expectation that you will work hard. How many can honestly say in return for this, they really care for their employees?

Team building trips to New York, Octoberfest or Miami. A creche for children of the player’s (not for the players themselves)! Saracens have a huge budget but they spend it differently to many others. Yes they have their superstars, yet none are placed on a pedestal. Hence it’s not a pride of lions. It’s a wolfpack.  At Saracens they look after their players with the expectation they will then perform on the field. Their results suggest the plan is working.

A rugby club is more than the players. Again it seems Saracens have identified this. It is the entire club that went to the Coachella music festival. The expectation in return is that they work hard for their reward. Looking after their own creates shared experiences. It creates memories. It also creates hunger to achieve together. It unifies people into a team. On the field there are fewer more organised teams, each player knowing their own roles and responsibilities and what is expected of themselves and their teammates. And you get the sense it is the same off the field- player’s know what is expected of them individually and collectively.

Culture is not the only reason Saracens are so successful. One must also credit their coaching team and the quality of players. Yet the culture they have instilled is so important in getting the best from these players and of continually striving to be better, to win more, to achieve greatness. Finally, Saracens have an understanding that it is only rugby. They do things away from the game and they also help prepare for life after rugby. Another example of looking after your employees to allow them to focus on what they are there to do.

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