Lessons for Business from the World Cup

As the Spanish celebrate, and the rest of us commiserate our team’s losses at the Football World Cup, it is a good chance to look back at some of the lessons that we can take forward into our businesses.

• New Zealand’s undefeated run against Slovakia, Paraguay and the reigning world champions Italy showed us that a team that works for each other, toward a common goal can hold its own against a team of stars looking for personal glory.

LESSON– Look at your team, who is working for the glory of the team, and who is working for themselves?

• The infamous “Jabulani” ball caused a lot of controversy for its unpredictable movement. England, Algeria and Slovakia all criticized the ball after losses. The problem is, the winners played with the same ball.

LESSON– Legislation, the GFC, and a raft of other issues means that business landscape is often changing., The businesses that recognise that their competitors have the same limitations to work around then adapt the fastest, are usually rewarded.

• North Korea, isolated and closed to most of the world, were embarrassed by a 7-0 loss to Portugal, while South Korea, free
trading and open to new markets, played great football.

LESSON– Get to know your competition, learn from them, and leverage off of them.

Obviously, there are a million parallels that I could compare between the world cup and business, but the most important one, to me, is that each team had a Captain and a Coach. The Captains role was to be in the thick of things, feeling how things are going and leading by example. The Coach identified the skills needed, the resources available, and came up with a strategy to overcome each hurdle. Diego Maridona, possibly the best know footballer in history and Argentina’s Coach, may have loved to have been on the field, but his role as coach allowed him to look at the game objectively, while his football career fuelled his passion and understanding of the game.

LESSON– A lot of great business people may miss opportunities or threats by being so involved in the business of doing business and the best coaches are often passionate players. If you are unable to look at your business from an objective point of view a Small Fish Business Coach can help.

It was a long road to the World Cup, with three years of qualifying matches just to get there. Your business success will not happen overnight, but if you start preparing now, who knows, you could be the best in the world!

Dean Atkins
Small Fish Business Coaching

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