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Few believed in me. Most actively discouraged me - Heyneke Meyer pens book

15 February 2021 8:00 PM

Bruce Whitfield interviews former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer about his new book "My Notes on Leadership and Life".

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Every week The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews the author of a new or trending business book.

This week Whitfield interviewed Heyneke Meyer, former coach of the Springboks.

Heyneke spoke about his new book and the seven principles in it that he hopes to instil in his sons.

Former Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer, author of "My Notes on Leadership and Life". Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

My whole life people told me all the reasons I can’t do it…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

It’s important to get the best out of people. If you serve them; you will be successful… It’s great to serve people, and if they buy into your vision, you’ll be successful…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

You want to serve your country, and make it proud…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

We came up against the best All Black team, and they were better on the day…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

Picking a team was the most important thing for me… I pick for character… Even if a player doesn’t have talent, I invest in him and help him…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

If you don’t have work ethic you will never be successful… When I recruited Morné [Steyn], he didn’t even kick for his school’s first team… nobody wanted him… Morne worked for hours and hours and hours…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

Most guys get injuries… they need to be mentally tough… and they need people who support them. But the most important thing is work ethic…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

I shout when they don’t put their bodies on the line for their country… but you don’t shout if they make mistakes… If they don’t put their bodies on the line for their country, you can tear them apart…

Heyneke Meyer, former coach - Springboks

Description of “My Notes on Leadership and Life” on Reader’s Warehouse website:

Heyneke Meyer was still at primary school when he told a teacher that he would one day become the Springbok head coach.

Rather than encouraging the youngster, he was told this was a pipe dream.

This discouragement continued at university, but against advice to the contrary, he studied sports management, education, and “just about everything I believed was necessary for me to realise my ultimate goal of coaching my country. When my time came, and it would, I had to be ready. But few people believed in me.”

Unknowingly, his coaching career would evolve along with seven key principles of leadership, and these would only become apparent to him after experiencing the ebbs and flows of what is an extremely uncertain career choice.

In 1999, in his first “major” coaching job, he led the minnow SWD Eagles-side to their first Currie Cup play-offs.

In the same year, Nick Mallet appointed him as the Springboks’ forwards coach.

He was 32 years old, and his dream was taking shape.

But by the time he turned 34, Meyer had twice been fired as the head coach of a Super Rugby side.

However, with the support of only a handful of rugby administrators, he would not only go on the turn the struggling Blue Bulls around, winning four Currie Cups in five years, but he also became the first coach to lead a South African Super Rugby side victory in 2007; the first of three titles in four years.

In Pretoria, Meyer built a dynasty, making the Bulls the envy of just about every other major rugby club and franchise in the world.

He was appointed Springbok head coach in 2012.

This was his dream, but not yet the end goal.

It was merely a departure.

On this journey, he would experience incredible highs, but also lows.

All the while, his belief in his now established seven principles of leadership remained.

In his own words:

“My coaching journey has been rewarding, but I’ve never taken the road of least resistance.

“I’ve had more adversaries than supporters in my life.

“In my career as head coach, I have come to believe in seven key principles of leadership that kept the ship on course in calm and stormy seas.

“These have led me into head-on confrontations with individuals, who doubted my methods and values, but for almost three decades, these seven principles have always served my teams well.

“This book is not about me.

“I don’t enjoy the limelight or talking about myself.

“This book is about the seven universal principles of leadership and life that I have been fortunate enough to experience along my own journey.

“If I achieve nothing else in life, these are the seven principles I would like to instil in my two sons.

“As it has done for me, 'My Notes on Leadership and Life' will serve as a map and compass for anyone seeking hope, direction and fulfilment in roles of leadership, be they corporate executives, SME business owners, public servants, teachers or coaches.

Listen to the interview in the audio below.




15 February 2021 8:00 PM

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