Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lessons that we can learn from La Roja (Spanish Football Team) for Workplace

La Roja aka The Spanish Football Team

The Spanish Team has had a very long streak of success with a World Cup win in South Africa, an European cup and defending the Present European cup. As we may all be aware of, Football is not an individual game but a team game with a common objective, much the same way corporate world operates. Below are few of the lessons that I feel that the corporate world can take a few lessons from.

1.       No Superstar Ego’s – If we observed the Spanish Team, we would have observed that no single superstar stood out and no one was inevitable, I noticed that in some of the football teams, certain players stood out because of their ability to strike goals, hence their prestige and position within the team while there were others who were just as valuable, but in the Spanish Football team, there was always another person as good as the person in the team. Vincent Bosque, the Coach of the team was able to keep in check everyone in the team.

Within the corporate environment, we also do tend to have superstar salesperson or a senior person with a very impressive record who have superstar sized ego’s, while they do perform well, they also tend to know their importance within the organization and tend to dictate unreasonable terms, the Organization tends to suffer a big loss if they have a bad health or leave the organization which is why I think even within the Spanish Team, Torres a striker par excellence was used sparingly to promote equal responsibility and team work within the team.

2.       Alternative system of Operation Tici Taka- The Spanish football team discarded the standard football format of having a striker and defender who was solely  responsible for converting goals, while this was useful, in that the striker could hone his skills and be an expert in scoring goals, it could also be a weakness, when there was only one striker who could be checked by 2-3 defenders, but in the case of the Spanish team we had around 5 midfielders who were equally good and capable of scoring goals, so if 2 or more defenders tried to checkmate a particular individual, it left the others free which game them ample opportunity to score.

Many big corporates believe that to perform well and to impress others, they must have alumni of Ivy league Universities or in the case of India, IIM graduates, while I do agree that these graduates have an impressive record of placements, it’s not a prerequisite for success, many IIM and IIT graduates are sometimes placed within the organization as nothing more than a piece of furniture decoration. Also strict hierarchical systems which give precedence to seniority and not merit also tend to lose out. Most importantly, it’s imperative to remember that we should not blindly copy others because of their success but build up on our strengths understanding our weakness.

3.       More passing/ Communication- One characteristic of the Spanish team was the possession of the game by the Spanish team, even if they did not score any goals, they always kept passing it around, no single individual tried to drive the football towards the goal, this left the opposing team tired and frustrated as they kept on chasing the ball, in turn, the Spanish patiently waited for the golden opening on opposing side to strike right into the heart of the opposing team when they were least prepared for it.

      Many corporates fail because of what we would say Ivy tower syndrome, which is keeping oneself aloof and not communicating enough with the person in the field or ground. Sometimes corporate bosses make grand plans without consulting the people in the field, they believe that they themselves alone are right and know what is to be done, whereas conditions in the field market could vary depending upon situation and circumstances.  They sometimes tend to remain inactive and tend to bury their heads in the sand when situation and circumstance require action. It’s also important that there should be an open communication environment with approachability to fix problem which can only be repaired with more frequent communication. Frequent review meetings & communicating, just like football passing, would create an environment of success.

4.       Good Training & Relation - Most of the Spanish Team members had an unfair advantage over the other teams in that they were already members of the youth team, u-22 team and then most of them continued playing  and training together. Almost 80% of the football team were team mates Barcelona and Real Madrid who know each other and have played together often. Even though Barcelona and Real Madrid are fierce cross rivals in La Liga, they were able to keep their differences aside to work together as a single unified Spanish football team.

To have success in Business or Football, it’s important to have good training from the ground up, not from top down, good HR practice of selecting the best and brightest and training, review of training and updating with latest technology is very important for Success. To achieve the level of efficiency of Tici Taka, the Spanish team practiced and trained for several years before they achieved success, even with corporates, besides good selection of training, patience is important as good results  cannot be immediately shown.

Support for the Team runs deep in our Family.

1 comment:

  1. interesting, intesting point of view and good observation.