The biggest sporting event on the planet began its final phase last week. Soccer’s World Cup, which began its qualifying process over three years ago, is down to the final 32 teams and will crown a champion over the next month.
I’ve been very lucky in my life to attend almost every big sporting event at one time or another but nothing compares to this tournament. For those of you less familiar with the world football scene, The World Cup is national teams playing one another. Football (it’s only called soccer here in the U.S.) is by far the sport played everywhere and it incites passion like no other. What’s most interesting about this is that most of the world football leagues are very international in composition. A club might have half its players from the “home” country but an equal number who play for a different national team.
Take, for example, the Spain/Portugal match of the other day. Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal’s star and is beloved there but he plays for Real Madrid in the Spanish League (La Liga) and is equally beloved there. Some of the players on the Spanish team are his club teammates but they were tasked with stopping him the other day.
What does any of this have to do with your business? If you’ve ever worked in a medium to a large company you’ve probably seen the internecine warfare that often develops between departments. The sales department might be fighting with finance, marketing might not have any love for research, and legal often has nasty things to say about everyone. I liken it to a national league. All the clubs (departments) live in one country (business) but they are extremely competitive and want to be seen as the winners. There has to come a time, however, when the rivalries take a back seat to the “national” interest, in this case, The World Cup; in the case of a business, maybe it’s when other businesses or marketplace circumstances (countries) are on the attack and the entire enterprise is threatened.
Part of managing in an environment where the departments are extremely competitive is keeping the mindset nationally-focused and not club-focused. You need to let your team know that undermining another area serves no common purpose. It’s dangerous and unproductive. Set a World Cup mentality and then try to inspire the same sort of national fervor that the tournament does. You with me?
I’m really sorry the World Cup is over. It’s amazing to me how the intensity of the event starts out at a high level and just keep growing, reaching its apex during the final, as it did yesterday. Two sides determined to win at all costs and bring home glory. Ah, competition!
Any yet, in every World Cup game we get a business lesson when someone gets hurt. Continue reading
Like some of you, I watch a lot of sports on TV. I listen to sports when I’m in the car. I’m kind of obsessed, I know. Because of this, I hear a lot of different announcers – good ones, bad ones, smart ones, dumb ones. But it’s only over the last couple of weeks – yep, World Cup again – that I’ve come to appreciate how the careful, clever use of language can enhance the event experience much as food is enhanced by the cook who knows how to season it properly. And that’s something to keep in mind for business as well! Continue reading
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. Continue reading
I love the World Cup. Besides being a month-long celebration of the world’s most popular sport, it’s always great to watch any sport being contested at the highest levels (as an aside, this is also my favorite sports week since the U.S. Open happens on one of my favorite golf courses but more about that later in the week).
What’s really intriguing, especially for the millions of Americans who don’t watch soccer on a regular basis, is how you can really tell the different teams by their styles. In fact, if there is anything really noticeable about the US team, aside from how good we’ve become, it is that I don’t think we have a real distinctive style which, in itself is our style. In a way, that totally makes sense. After all, we are a nation of immigrants playing a game invented elsewhere and we’re amalgamating the styles from all those nations. But there are some business lessons here as well. Continue reading
This was a big sports weekend. Baseball playoffs going (let’s go Yankees), the NFL is heating up, NASCAR is halfway through its championship series of races, college football is getting interesting (Michigan wins it all in 2010 – you’ll see!), The President’s Cup was contested (and was closer than the results would have you think), the US qualified for The World Cup, and the NHL is back in action. As I was watching almost all of the aforementioned sporting activity (now you know why I work in sports!), I got to thinking about one guy who is common to each of those teams. Nope, not the fan, although we OUGHT to be front and center on each of them. I have another guy in mind. Continue reading
I usually try and keep the blog light on Fridays but this morning’s topic is on the serious side. Since next week is Thanksgiving here in the US, we’re going to focus on food and so this might be the last business-related post for a bit. Please keep reading!