Wednesday, July 4, 2012

3 Business lessons learnt from the champion Spanish football team

It's always good to reflect and learn from successful teams. The emphatic victory by the Spanish Football team in the final of the recent European Football Championships was their third major tournament triumph in the last 5 years. So what makes them more successful than others and what can business learn from this success. Here are 3 business lessons I've taken away:

1. The Past Really is History

The conflict and intolerance of differences between the Spanish provinces is well documented and dates back to before the Spanish Civil War in 1936. This ongoing contention is manifested in the sporting rivalry between Spain's top two football clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona every time they play each other. Their fierce clashes are famously known as "El Clasico" (The Classic). 

In 2008, this generation of players said "enough". Under the direction of their management, they decided to put aside the pointless, unresolved dramas of the past and choose TEAM FIRST. They made a conscious decision to adopt a winning style of play that involved every member of the team playing their part, regardless of position or reputation for the sake of the greater glory of winning against the competition. 

Business Lesson #1 - learn from your track record, plan your strategy and make sure everyone on the team knows what they need to do.

2. Value Possession

The style of football that makes Spain different is known as "Possession Football". Put simply, it's continuously retaining the ball through a series of passes between players that not only frustrates the opposition but denies them the ball and the opportunity to score. They are patient with retaining the ball and once an opportunity presents itself to score, they capitalise. In addition, when they lose possession to the other team, they strike swiftly to dispossess the opposition and regain control of the ball so they can orchestrate another opportunity through possession.

Business Lesson #2 - retain your valued customers at all costs, keeping competition at bay and be readily positioned to act quickly on an opportunity.

3. Celebrate Success with Support Group

A perspective that many viewers may have missed in the coverage of the European Championship Final was the immediate post-game celebration by the players. Once the players congratulated each other and the coaching staff, they went straight to their families and embraced them. As professionals, they expect the support of team management. However, they displayed their appreciation publicly to those closest to them - their families - for the unseen support they contributed in their win. There are some fantastic images of the player celebrations with their kids on the field after the game that I've collected in a Pinterest Board called Spain Celebrates

Business Lesson #3 - celebrate success with the people who directly - and indirectly - contributed to you win, especially the next generation of talent. 

I'm sure there are more than 3 lessons that can be learned from this success. I would appreciate your comments and feedback on this one.  


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