7 Wisdom Lessons for Entrepreneurs from the FIFA World Cup 2014

In July 2014, another world cup drew  to an end with Germany taking home the coveted Gold trophy, it leaves behind glorious memories, ideas, reflections as well as lessons for all those passionately involved in the game and also for those busy chasing their entrepreneurial dream. While the world gears up for the next season, here are 7 Wisdom Lessons for Entrepreneurs drawn from FIFA World Cup 2014.

Leadership is the key


Most West European teams are now a mixture of Africans, East Europeans, Middle-Easterners, – it is important to create diverse, multi-cultural teams and the Captains play a very key role in games. Christiano Ronaldo, arguably the world’s costliest footballer and captain of Portugal, could not lead from front and inspire his team this world cup also. He would wait for his team to pass the ball to him and only play on the opponent’s half. Lionel Messi, the Argentine captain did the reverse and whenever he did, his team won. The latter would come back to the half line, take the ball and be the play maker as he knew very well that the opponents would not let him dribble and score and he would be heavily marked. This approach of Messi as a world class footballer and an inspiring leader almost won Argentina the world cup.

Remember, Captain runs as much as all the other 10 players- no special privilege of work less and gain glory.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail


Planning is very important in a game / business. One needs to strategise the before, during and after the game in order to be successful. Understanding playing styles of opponents, adapting to the climate, playing to your strengths and taking timely decisions as planned will deliver success. A classic case in point is the Argentina-Germany match, where it was almost thought to be a repeat of the Brazil-Germany semi final, the Argentines proved otherwise. They played to their strengths and learned from the mistakes which Brazil made, had studied the Germans pretty well and gave them a run for their money.

Remember: Old habits don’t give you new results


What got you here may not take you there. One needs to continuously innovate and adapt fast to the ever changing scenarios. Spain, the reigning world champion and also home to the best and biggest soccer clubs and Spanish footballers, did not change at all. What they were four years ago they were still the same this year as the manager, most players, the playing style everything was still the same. They were so predictable in their approach that every opponent could easily outplay them. In business, the dependence on a few clients can be risky and cause heavy losses, if these clients suddenly stop dealing with you for whatever reasons or if you don’t add value to your existing services/ products, your opponents can easily take the business away from you.

Your bench has to be strong


Games as well as businesses are full of uncertainties and surprises, which are beyond ones control. Over dependence on a player can be fatal and it was evident from the much talked about Brazil-Germany match, where star striker of Brazil Neymar was injured and their captain Thiago Silva lost out on account of suspension. The Brazilian bench was very feeble and their over-dependence of these key players cost them their aura. One should have a balanced team and not rely on a few key personnel, because if they quit they might take the business along or the business could simply be taken away from you.

Team goal always before individual goal


Football is a team game and winning is what matters. While individual performances do matter, the team has to perform and win. Neymar, Messi, Robben, Muller, Ozil all world class goal scorers made the game look so easy when they passed the ball to their respective team mates for the team’s success and morale. Similarly, in business, if targets are shared, it helps the business to succeed at a faster and easier manner than it would with individual targets. The team should use each other’s potential and succeed.

Blend of youth and experience, it works!


Football is a full contact sport and a fast paced game. It requires great deal of speed, skill and stamina in order to outperform your opponent in 90 minutes (regular game) and another 30 minutes (extra time). Age does slow you down, but your experience counters the speed with sharpened skill set and stamina to consistently perform. Germany,a classic team that had a perfect blend of youth and experience with Klose, who played his 4th world cup (16 years) along with Mario Goetze (the goal scorer in the final) who at 22 was playing his first world cup and together they brought glory to the country. Even Holland and Argentina displayed this killer combination of youth and experience. In business too, this combination of youth and experience helps you build a sustainable model and also in succession planning.

Coach and mentor play a major role in success


A coach/mentor takes a team to a place where the team cannot take themselves. This world cup personified this statement very clearly. The timely decision making skills of coaches from the sidelines coupled with the understanding of the game and situation led many a players/team to impossible wins. Joaquim Leow (Germany), Van Gaal (Holland) , Jurgen Klinsman (USA) are unarguably the most noticeable coaches who took their respective teams to great wins by their sheer understanding and vision. Klinsman the former German captain and coach, who also mentored Jocqaim Leow in the last world cup has won many accolades for USA’s performance and obviously inspired Leow’s performance as a coach of the world champions Germany. The player handling skills of Leow for a team, which has so many celebrated players like Muller, Ozil, Klose, Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Podolski, Goetze, Khedira, Boateng and Schurrle, was a classic example of how a coach can take a team to great heights. Entrepreneurs need to wear the hat of a coach/mentor to take train their team and take the business to greater heights by using their timely decision making skills and steering the direction of business.

Do let me know what you think of the above lessons. Are there any more that you wish to add? Do like, share and leave a comment. I would love to know your views.

Authored by:
Amarkant Jain 

Disclaimer: This series is an original piece of writing. All copyrights remain with the author, any content re-purpose, copying or lifting is not allowed. The author is an award-winning Sports Person, Business Coach & Digital Maverick. He has written this post based out of his own personal experiences while handling large brands. Incase you need to discuss business, please email: amarkant.jain@sarvashreshtha.com.