Alongside the excitement that is the FIFA world cup, this entertaining month of non-stop football games also brings with it four invaluable lessons when it comes to teamwork. Whilst the office space is lacking the scale and grandiosity of the world cup matches, teamwork is an essential component of both that should be fostered and developed.
The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of The Parts:
A football fanatic or not, prior to the World Cup, many assumed Portugal and Argentina (both carrying the best two players in the world of Ronaldo and Messi), would be contenders for the final. However, much to everyone’s surprise, it was not Argentina and Portugal that would progress to the latter stages, but rather Sweden. Lacking any star players, Sweden has won games as a result of competing as a unitary team, as opposed to a team of impressive individuals. A collected team unit will always produce an output greater than what individual members could achieve individually. Within a business, a company’s vision reflects a similar goals in the World Cup. Having a common goal is what distinguishes between a high performing team and a group of individuals with their own agenda. No professional sport team has ever won as a result of disregarding the bigger picture with individual players focusing on their own agenda. Successful businesses and teams are all in for the win, together as a team.
Create a Strong Support Network:
Ask any professional athlete who competes as part of a team, and I am sure they will all agree the true capacity of the team is reflected in its squad; its starting players and bench. Brazil, a normally heavily stacked team, were without two of their stars in their match against Germany. Consequently, they crumbled, blaming this loss on the absence of these two ‘essential’ players. The fact a team has one or two in–form players is not indicative of game outcomes. Rather winning is the result of combined team effort. At a more individual level, social support and having a network of family and friends that you can turn to in times of need, is critical in times of stress, enabling individuals to continue thriving. Both individuals and superstar athletes such as the likes of Ronaldo and Messi may burn out due to overwork, exhaustion and pressure at times. And in such times, football teams and individuals are only as strong as their bench or the social network surrounding them. Such networks allow us to thrive when we our flourishing and languishing, as others push and encourage us to take opportunities. As Belgium showed against Japan, sometimes the substitute players are the difference between winning and losing the game.
Create a Strong Support Network:
Businesses and World Cup teams both need to be adaptable – in their business strategy and style of play. The most obvious difference between teams such as England and Brazil is their game style. Brazil is a spectacle to watch bringing an array of tricks to dazzle and wow the crowd. On the contrary, England, perhaps lacking tricks, adopt a modest style of play bringing out the best of their team. England, like any successful business, have adopted a growth mindset. When companies adopt a common growth mindset, employees report greater levels of commitment and support for their collaborative effort. Contrastingly, Brazil and companies with a fixed mind set, have greater deception among employers and team mates to gain an advantage – destroying the concept of overall team success. Organizational success requires identifying strengths. England would not have had success if they copied Brazil’s style of play, as it is not their strength. Each team and business is different, both in what they are best at and what individual team members bring. However, successful teams and business are those that work and utilise their strengths as a united front; regardless of how unconventional it may be.
Think Long Term – “It’s coming home!”:
Over the recent days, the phrase, “It’s coming home” has undoubtedly been thrown around the office space or heard frequently on the news. And perhaps this year is the year that England really do rid themselves of their demons and win. However, without jinxing their performance in these latter games stages, England successfully showed systematic investment in the future is fundamental to long term achievement of goals. Selecting one of the youngest squads of all the teams and winning their first knock out game since 2006, England adopted a young team, providing them with invaluable experience for the future by developing the next generation. Whilst it may not immediately pay off, it is future investment and the seeds sown now that will be reaped later. Whether this be on a small scale such as taking someone under your wing and acting as a mentor in the office, or providing younger individuals with the opportunity to perform at higher levels, neglecting the future creates a narrow vision business. The fruits of World Cup success or business investment may take years to become apparent as there is no shortcut to success, however, the ability to think long term, offers lasting success and sustainability.
As the world cup progresses into the intensive final stages, the winning team will not just be the team scoring the most goals, but will also be the team that successfully adopts team work. Teams and businesses can be driven by players of pure class and individualists, however, at the end of the day it is how players and individuals come together as a unit on the field or in the office that determines success.