Insights from Germany v Brazil World Cup 2014
In 2003 I attended the OMP (Owner Manager Program) at Lagos Business School. Amongst all the lessons I learnt, the most memorable was the one about not running your business as a one-man business, but to create systems and structures which would enable the business function just as effectively in your absence; whether it be a broken vertebrae, pregnancy, study leave, or whatever else.
Today, as I watched the humiliation of the Brazilians at the World Cup, all I could remember was that lesson. Why would a team be so heavily reliant on one or two people? A top player is out. So what? Two down? So?
LONE STARS VERSUS STAR TEAMS
Where was the succession plan? Where were the other stars? Wouldn’t it have been better to build a “star team” rather than a “star player“?
I saw in the Germans a concerted team effort. The goals weren’t scored by only one person. I suspect? Germany could have still played a solid game if their top scorer was out.
Brazil on the other hand, like most “developing” countries, and most growing businesses was so focused on “star players” rather than star teams and systems that would survive irrespective. Therein lies the gap of poverty versus wealth for companies as for countries. Compare countries like the U.S. or the U.K and any developing country and see that there are no celebrity presidents or celebrity cabinet ministers. It’s about a system that supports great play by great people.
BECOME IRRELEVANT IN YOUR BUSINESS.
I’ve always been paranoid about clients who try to make you the lone star in a business. You shouldn’t see it as a compliment and I personally tend to resist it by focusing on recruiting other stars and evolving a strategy for allowing them shine so that as much as possible, you can become irrelevant to your game. It’s still work in progress for me but one that all growing businesses should be determined to win. You should certainly do same, if you want to play at championship level.
BUILD UP YOUR GAME. HAVE A SYSTEM.
If we can build a sustainable business that can function, based on discipline, team work, systems and structures, an understanding of everyone’s roles and a follow through of the policies and strategies laid down, more businesses would be successful.
GOING THE DISTANCE TAKES 3 THINGS.
But alas, what truly differentiates championship teams or companies are a combination of three simple words: “Vision, Discipline & Focus.”
– VISION gives you a mental picture of what sort of outcome you want and why you want it. Herein lies your strategic direction and propelling force.
– DISCIPLINE means you actually DO ALL it takes, including employ the best resources, technology, psychologists; and whatever else including conducting a market study of the opposition, scoping out the territory, understanding the weaknesses and opportunities then executing your plan based on your competitive strength and strategy without deviating irrespective of whether you are in enemy territory or not, a hostile economy or not.
– FOCUS means you stay intentional and hungry until ground zero. You don’t stop at 3 or 4 goals if you can score 7 or 10! And you don’t allow any goals through if you can help it, irrespective of how far you have come.
We know that the Germans clearly had all of the above while the Brazilians did not. The important question though is, do you have all of the above three elements or are you playing a lone star game? Are you a one man business waiting to be demolished by the Germans of your industry? Hmmm…a word is enough for the wise.
To your success!
Ps. Social media was on fire last night during this spectacular game. Here are some of my favourite Facebook comments/lessons and jokes.
BRAZIL v GERMANY Game summarised.
Shambolic. The Game.
Appalling. The Brazilians.
Ridiculous. The Germans.
Embarrassed. The country.
Incredulous. The fans.
Irresponsible. The goals.
The German approach:
Lessons: Keep your passes simple and just move. Go for the reward.
Do more direct passes. Keep moving forward. Pass the ball. Head for the goal.
The Brazil Approach:
Not listening to each other
Not supporting each other
Not doing what they are assigned.
Flat footed back.
Didn’t show up.
Lessons: Show up. Play the game. Score goals. That’s what footballers do.
German v Brazil Jokes:
Interviewer: Pele are you Brazilian?
Pele: Me? No, I’m a full born Ghanaian.
Is it true that girls who wear Brazilian hair have no goals in life?
Ok No more Brazilian hair. It’s now German hair. (Ok only women will understand these hair jokes.)
Lighten up and have a great day everyone.
P.S. FINE AND COUNTRY SUPPORTS LBS MBA BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION
I spent my whole day, yesterday at Lagos Business School on a Panel of judges for an Impact Investing Business Plan competition, where Fine and Country also sponsored the first and second cash prizes to support the budding entrepreneurs. I am a firm believer that small and medium size businesses are one of the strong keys to economic growth.
Enjoy the pictures here.
NOTE: All images are courtesy Google.com