I haven’t been much of a soccer fan, but am becoming one as a result of the World Cup. Having suppliers based in Europe – talk about fanatical! Guess that’s what happens when the Super Bowl of your sport only happens once every four years.
For those of you at BEC a couple of years ago when Mike Eruzione was the keynote speaker, one of the points he raised was the U.S. Hockey Team’s victory at the 1980 Olympics wasn’t just luck. And if you saw the Kurt Russell movie about it, you’ll remember (and Mike alluded to it) that Herb Brooks knew who his players were before the tryouts, worked their butts off to make them a team, and reminded them that they’d remember the 3rd period “for the rest of your #*@! lives.”
The World Cup only reinforces that concept. It’s absolutely amazing to see different teams’ approach to the game. How well Spain managed to control possession against a pretty good German team. How good these guys are at this level, from the final eight teams on to the final two.
And, believe it or not, this all has relevance to our industry. If you’ll recall Eruzione’s drawing the parallel, how well any business does first depends on having someone who can successfully put a team together, help make them successful by working them in practice (only practice in the business world ain’t practice, it’s working real-world, real-time projects), stretching them to achieve great things (the sum always being greater than the whole) and then enjoying the success. Another big difference: the business team has to keep doing it year-in, year out. Their team doesn’t stop being a team just because the Olympics are over.
On the other side, what happened to the French and Italian teams or their business equivalents? Talk about a coaching challenge! There are people out there who can coach up a team. Michael Jordan never won a title until Phil Jackson got to Chicago. Talent helps. Vision to put it all together and make it work is simply remarkable. Bill Davidson at Guardian was probably like that. Some of the original Apogee guys, Jerry Andersen, Gary Haider, Larry Neiderhoffer. When it doesn’t work, it doesn’t often get to be the implosion the French World Cup team appears to have gone through.
It’s interesting to note the “best companies to work for” results that magazines often run. Funny, never see any “best companies NOT to work for” but in all likelihood we all have our list of where we wouldn’t work.
Find the winners, ride the wave and be a team player. If you can just fill in a small piece of the puzzle, being a part of the whole is definitely worth it. It does take work, it isn’t easy, but it is worth it. And you will “remember it for the rest of your !@#$E% life.”
PS: Way to go, Spain! Don’t have any suppliers from the Netherlands, at least that I know of anyway…