Posted on July 15, 2018  
by Noel Guilford

Later today we will know the winner of the FIFA World Cup 2018 and it’ll all be over. Thank goodness. At least we’ll be spared England’s humiliation at the hands of France (my tip to win before the tournament started).

Don’t get me wrong, I am passionate about football and as soon as the Premier League season kicks off I’ll be avidly following Liverpool’s progress once again.

But the World Cup! It went on too long, had too many teams (twice as many as 1966) and let’s be honest the quality of the football was poor.

But in England’s failure to reach the final there are numerous lessons for us as business owners.

Firstly the positives. England got further than anyone expected with a pool of limited talent; if there was ever a demonstration of why you cannot do this alone, this was it. A well-disciplined team will always be more successful than a bunch of individuals working together. Are you trying to play the game of business alone? Who do you need on your team to support you?

Secondly, England had a purpose, a vision and core values to focus on. Unlike previous tournaments (both Euros and World Cups) where cliques of players with their own agendas clouded the vision and destroyed the core values, Southgate’s team were a single unit (much credit to him). This probably took them two rounds further than their skills alone would have done. Does your team know and share your purpose, vision and core values?

So what went wrong?

The semi-final against Croatia last Wednesday holds the lessons not just for football but for business. Early on (the first half) England were dominant, but then they became complacent and didn’t finish off the competition. Think Blockbuster and Netflix, Kodak and Cannon.

Later on their key player (Kane) played for too long out of position (too deep) and missed numerous opportunities. This problem afflicts most business owners. Are you still doing your own books, working ‘on-the’tools’ and managing everything yourself? If so, you are out of position. You can’t focus on what you must be doing in your business (the £100/hr jobs) if you’re still doing the £10/hr jobs. If you do you’ll miss opportunities. Just like England – the chances (ideas) were created but not executed.

And Croatia equalised.

Still England had a lifeline…a second chance. But they blew it!

Sometimes you just need to call on your inner strength (your ‘why’, your passion, your belief) to be successful. And in the end Croatia just wanted it more than England.

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Noel Guilford


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