Tag Archives: Soccer

What A Soccer Player Teaches Us About Business

I spent part of the weekend watching the UEFA Euro Tournament.

European football government body badge

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re into the sport of soccer, it’s must-see TV and the matches have, in general, lived up to the tournament’s stature as the best football tournament on the planet behind the FIFA World Cup.  During one of the games, the commentator described a player in a way that triggered an immediate business thought and that’s today’s topic.

The defender was described as having “a lack of pace but always a perfect reading of the situation so he’s quite valuable.”  In other words, he has the ability to read the situation on the field, react appropriately, and is rarely out of position even though he’s pretty slow relative to the other players on the pitch.  In my mind, that’s a good description of some desirable business traits as well.

How many executives do you know that act on knee-jerk reactions?  When they’re right, they’re often ahead of the field or have headed off a problem before it starts.  When they’re wrong, however, they often spend resources chasing markets that don’t develop or betting on new technologies that never pan out.  They end up out of position.

As businesspeople we can’t confuse activity for progress.  Moving quickly is always desirable but moving a bit more slowly while compensating for our lack of speed with a much better understanding of the situation is even more desirable in my book.  It’s not a particularly new thought:  we’ve all heard the fable of the tortoise and the hare and I expect we all know a few folks we’d describe as “slow.”  Slow is, in my mind, a relative thing – if they get to where they need to be because they can analyze a situation and react appropriately within the available time frame, they’re pretty valuable.

How about in yours?

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Club Atlético River Plate

Image via Wikipedia

How many of you are familiar with the concept of relegation?  In sport we see it most notably in international club soccer, where the bottom teams in a league are sent down to a lower division and the top performers in that lower division rise up to play in the higher tier.  Obviously, there are financial implications and clubs that are built on one set of economic premises based on playing in a top league often suffer severe hardships when they are relegated.

What got me thinking about this was a note from my buddy Oz about River Plate‘s relegation in Argentine football.  One of the oldest clubs in the world, this is the first time they’ve been out of the top division since…well…never.  This is the first time.  So what does this have to do with you? Continue reading

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Winning Fair

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

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Business Language

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

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Lessons from The Midfield and The Back

Chertsey Town FC vs Bookham FC

A week in and I hope you’ve had some time to check out the World Cup. Aside from the constant droning of those horrible vuvuzelas, it’s been pretty good so far.
As I was watching a game, I had a couple of thoughts about what was going on the pitch and how it related to business. I know – only me, right?  But at some point in almost every  game you see the ball being passed back and forth without it being advanced.  Generally this occurs in the defensive end or maybe in the defensive midfield.  Lots of activity, very little being accomplished.  Sound like any offices you’ve seen? Continue reading

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The World Cup and Your Style

Wembley Stadium, London England

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

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Character Guys

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

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