Facing the HAKA

Leadership Training


High Performance Programme to Help your Teams
Build a Resilient Mindset, Adaptability and Improve Effective Communication


How Leaders can Respond to Challenges, Build Stronger Teams Beyond the Crisis.

The All Blacks are the most feared Rugby team in the world. They are ruthless, brave, courageous and they are winners. The All Blacks have won three Rugby World Cup championships in 1987, 2011 and 2015. There winning percentage over the last decade is over 90% and in 2008 as the Captain of the Manu Samoan team I stood on the field facing them. Facing the Haka the most fearsome war challenge in the world. As one of only a handful of International Captains to ever face the All Blacks.

Elite Sports teams are similar business teams and leadership. There are 3 successful Leadership Habits which cover these key areas.

1. Adaptability

2. Knowledge

3. Attitude

Legendary management consultant Peter Drucker coined the phrase "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". How you lead teams starts with how your organisation culture thrives. The All Blacks culture changed in 2004 when Graham Henry was appointed head coach. Henry along with Wayne Smith and coaches strategically changed the culture. Players were not happy and many of senior players knew things had to change. Without going into too much detail Henry transformed his coaching philosophy and it impacted the way the team played. Leading into the 2007 Rugby World Cup the All Blacks were the favourites and eventually lost in the quarter final to France. It was then in 2011 they met the resilient French team in the final and only just winning in a tense action packed final.

How do you lead in times of crisis? What are you communicating to your board and executive team? Do you have a plan to prepare your team to adapt and change?  How you can face the challenges and mentally adapting to a new way of doing things. Your leadership determines what comes next and needs a clear strategy and planning for the new normal. Transformation change starts with the leadership and the individual responsibilities and organisational purpose and what a leaders needs now is to communicate effectively. Adapting is about preparing for the opportunities that lay ahead. Much has been written about the future of work and automation or AI and the impact this will have on many low skilled workers. Being alert and knowing your role.

Facing the Haka is being brave in the face of challenges, adapting as a leader and taking your team to the next level. In a crisis, there is an opportunity to re-imagine with your team’s potential to think creatively and change towards a better future. Adopting a growth and strategic mindset companies will reap the benefits of more engaged and productive employees.

Covid-19 has changed businesses, environment, communities, the social and economic fabric of our country. As leaders investing in your leadership and your teams beyond the crisis is crucial in the next normal. Building your resilience, and strengthening the growth mindset and strategic mindset will help you and your organisation’s future


CEO, Executives, Leadership Teams, Entrepreneurs, Founders, and Business Groups.


Leaders will develop a growth mindset and strategic mindset for their organisation. Research has shown that behaviours that are forced upon people are not sustainable – i.e. the lock down, isolation and face masks. Going deeper into the mindset of your employees' values your culture and vision will help build trust and engage them in a safe environment. The Harvard Business Review highlighted employees' in Growth Mindset companies. The results were a 47% increase in trust in colleagues, 34% feel a stronger sense of ownership and commitment, 65% are likelier to say that company supports risk-taking and 49% likelier to say the company fosters innovation.

Facing the Haka PDF Download

Gary Lin
BNZ SME Business Manager

"Filipo has a great sense of humour plus decades of experience in top level sport as well as in peak human performance. Also love his journey going from top level sport being ex-Samoan rugby captain, to corporate, and now being in business. Filipo ran a series of high performance workshops with our Auckland, Hamilton, and Christchurch BNZ SME Hubs. Our team performances have really stepped up another gear in the past 3 months across all 3 teams, especially Auckland!"

Clark Lewis
Community Rugby Manager

" Thoroughly enjoyed Filipo session that was based on 'Tackling Change' with life after rugby. He was able to personally relate with the players from being a ex-professional Rugby player and being paid well for the game he loved and then realizing that there is life after rugby and the need to be ready for this, and bring awareness around the numerous factors that influence how long a Rugby career can last. The session was fun and the players were genuinely interested and engaging. "

Alex Fala
CEO VEND Tech Company

"Thanks so much for sharing his insights with us. Highly relevant for our business, and lots of great feedback from the team here at Vend."

Kelly McCallum
Lecturer, Former Canadian Rugby Captain

"We had the pleasure of having Filipo as a guest speaker in our AUT Certificate of Sport and Recreation lecture. His unique and engaging approach left a lasting impression on our students. Many of the students found it easy to relate to his stories and experiences."

Lucy Chang-Lorenzi
Managing Director,
Rotary Club of Auckland

" Filipo shared  with us his personal story about how his father, a railway worker, made a brave decision to pick up the family and move from Auckland to Dunedin to pursue a better life. While in Dunedin, Filipo's father studied theology and became a role model for how hope, hard work, & education are pivotal in making dreams come true. Filipo followed his father's footsteps by breaking out of the norm, following his passion, and transforming his life."

Michael Hempsteed
TEDx Speaker, Author, Behavioural Expert

" ... a very powerful Keynote that can save and change many people's lives...your message can reach a very large audience. It's not just professional athletes who struggle with mental illness and feelings of loss when its all over, it can be people who fail to get a promotion, people who get fired from a job."

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Say Hello! Filipo is an all round great guy.  Don't hesitate to get in contact with him and see for yourself.
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