John Smit TLP

Rugby Legend


John Smit TLP was one of Rugby’s most successful players of all time. He was the captain of the South African Rugby team (with an astonishing 111 caps), leading the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007 and was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011. He is currently the CEO of Sharks Rugby showing he is just as good of the field as he was on it.

John Smit TLP

John Smit’s illustrious career in rugby is a saga of unparalleled success, marked by exceptional leadership, unwavering determination, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Hailing from South Africa, Smit emerged as a prodigious talent on the rugby fields of Durban before making his debut for the Springboks in 2000.

As captain of the national team, he led the Springboks to unprecedented heights, most notably guiding them to victory at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, a triumph that etched his name in the annals of sporting history. Smit’s leadership on and off the field epitomized resilience, strategic acumen, and a selfless commitment to team success, earning him the admiration and respect of fans, peers, and opponents worldwide.

Beyond his achievements as a player, John Smit TLP’s enduring legacy lies in his seamless transition to executive leadership, exemplified by his tenure as CEO of Sharks Rugby. Leveraging his experience and insights from the rugby arena, Smit proved equally adept at navigating the complexities of sports management, driving organizational growth, and fostering a culture of excellence. His strategic vision, coupled with a profound understanding of team dynamics, propelled Sharks Rugby to new heights, underscoring his versatility and impact beyond the confines of the rugby pitch.

As a rugby legend, John Smit TLP’s influence transcends the boundaries of the sport, serving as a source of inspiration and guidance for aspiring athletes, leaders, and fans alike. His remarkable journey from humble beginnings to global acclaim embodies the values of perseverance, integrity, and leadership, resonating with audiences far beyond the realm of rugby. Whether as a player, captain, or executive, Smit’s indelible imprint on the sport and his enduring legacy as a true ambassador of rugby excellence ensure his place among the pantheon of rugby legends for generations to come.

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Interview Questions

Success is a highlight, something that you can draw as a picture on a whiteboard. Success is something you measure in time as you go along.

My life was measured by success every weekend on a Saturday after every match, John Smit knew whether I was successful or not because of the result of the team.

Now in this environment it’s very much unlike that although the measurement of success is similar because you try and look at how the company is performing, how the team is going, how the ticket sales are going but your performance is not something that you can actually gauge on a weekly basis purely from a result that is adjudicated by one man.

Success is how close and how fast it takes you to get to achieving the goal that you’ve set. In a week as a rugby player, it’s very easy, your goal is to win the game and if you accomplish that then the result is easy to assess.

In business, it’s far more difficult, you’ve got to set goals, you’ve got set a process to get there, you’ve got to try make sure that you do not waste time because it’s not something that is judged every single week, so you got to create times where you judge yourself.

John Smit is Driven by Success:  Whatever I do, I want to leave it in a better state than how I found it. If I’m a part of a team, I want to know that when I leave, the team is in a better position than when I got there.

What drives me now is that my time here, when it comes to an end, people can say, “Sherbet, there was a huge amount that happened in this business” and John Smit can leave a positive legacy. Every one of us is driven by the fact that we would like to leave a legacy.

People who are ‘great ‘at what they do are continually driven by the detail and by a passion for implementing their ideas into actual actions (which is a difficult thing).

People who are only ‘good’ may have unbelievably great ideas but they just do not know how to close deals and actually action these ideas into becoming a reality.

John Smit believes greatness comes through an application of great thoughts and ideas into making things happen. It really comes down to implementation

If you want something done, give it to someone who is already busy because they have an unbelievable way of managing their time and getting things done without asking other people.

Honesty, humility, integrity, discipline and you have to have a high work rate as well; these are the things that will make people successful.

Be honest in everything that you do, it will make life easier. Telling people not what they want to hear but what they need to hear are key elements of being able to lead in a successful environment.

John Smit likes people and trying to work with them to untap their potential and vice-versa with honesty in mind and integrity.

It is important to keep asking yourself the hard questions; When you in a position of leadership, fire yourself at least once a week; (think of reasons why you would be either dropped from the rugby team or fired as the CEO of The Sharks).

Think of things you did not do well, judge yourself on a weekly basis to see how you are progressing on with your plan. It can be an early detector of whether you are going off track or not.

If you think of your last day on earth and about those who are around you, who have been in your life, (your family, your friends the family you create), the example you set with your life for your kids.

You will only really know when you eventually go and see from above, who has actually rocked up at your funeral to say goodbye. John Smit suppose it’s those actions and how you have lead your life that is important to see if you have actually understood the meaning of life.

Interview Date

  • 2020-02-20


  • South Africa


Speaker Profile
John Smit

John Smit stands as one of the most celebrated figures in the annals of international rugby, renowned for his remarkable leadership and prowess on the field. With an illustrious career adorned with numerous accolades, he embodies the epitome of sportsmanship, resilience, and strategic acumen. As the captain of the Springboks, the South African Rugby team, […]

  • Johannesburg, SA
  • Sporting Legends

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