An Understanding

Sport in childhood. Association football, show...

Like many of you I’m glued to the World Cup. Despite some horrible officiating and the US’ exit over the weekend, I still think it’s the greatest sporting event on the planet.  It’s great to see that others around the last great nation to get on the football train are waking up to the world’s game.

As with any sports, soccer has its own language which may be a bit indecipherable to the new audience.  Touch line, bi-line, a clock that’s not really the clock – all of these things may take a bit of translation.  There’s also a term you may have heard in passing and it’s that one from which we get today’s business lesson.

You might hear an announcer say that two players have “an understanding” on the pitch.  No, this isn’t some strange agreement to do something with the ball or to the opponents or some mystical game knowledge.  It’s used to mean that two players are on the same wavelength – they know where the other will be at all times and can pass the ball into space with impunity, knowing that their teammate will find it.  It’s the ultimate instance of being on the same page and the best teams have a couple of forwards and a midfielder or two all with a great understanding.

The best teams in business are the same way.  I was fortunate enough to have understandings with two assistants and some fellow executives over the years and it made daily functioning incredibly easy and productive.  You were never back-tracking, fixing a ton of mistakes, or wondering what had gone so very wrong.  Things were often done before I had even asked for them to be.  Throw in the trust that is a natural result of having an understanding and you have a couple of the basic building blocks for success.

Think about your team.  Who has an understanding?  What can you do to develop one?  Like soccer, it involves playing together for a while and being patient while it develops.  It also mans being open, unselfish, and communicative.

The World Cup only lasts another couple of weeks.  A great understanding on your team can last for a lot longer.  You with me?

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