Lessons Learned from The World Cup 2014

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s big. Bigger than the Super Bowl big. The it is The World Cup. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

I believe that football / futbol / soccer is much like life itself. You’re not always moving forward to reach the goal. Sometimes you’re on the defensive. Sometime things are slow, sometimes fast. Sometimes what looks like bad news suddenly turns good. It challenges both the body and the mind. In short, football is fluid. It’s like a chess match. A thinking man’s / woman’s sport. A creative man’s / woman’s sport.

As you probably already know, this year’s winner was Germany. And while it’s too early to declare a dynasty there are some well known “tricks” that went into Germany’s process for achieving this massively difficult milestone.

  1. You need a plan. Accidents rarely result in victory—on or off the pitch.
  2. You need a team. Be mindful of the fact that a collection of individual players does not necessarily mean you have a team. As Jim Collins said in the classic Good To Great: “Get the right people on the bus.”
  3. Don’t be star struck. Germany has some serious footballers but none draw the same level of media attention as some of the sport’s (individual) superstars. It’s worth mentioning that Spain—the winner of the 2010 World Cup—had a very similar approach in terms of team development.
  4. Good things come to those who wait. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. In order to be successful you have to be willing to grind it out. Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina for The World Cup 2014 was 14 years in the making. Yes, 14 years!
  5. Be humble. From the three articles listed below if nothing else please be sure to read: “Mesut Özil donates World Cup winnings to 23 children’s surgeries in Brazil.” You’ll be touched, impressed, and ideally also inspired.

Lessons Learned from The World Cup 2014

Revenue? Profits? No! It’s about the Guests – Part 2

This post is a quick follow up to a post from a couple weeks ago. Long story short, after submitting a question to Mr. Fuerstman via Montage Hotels and Resorts web site (www.MontageLagunaBeach.com) I received a phone call from the Director of Communication on behalf of Mr. Fuerstman. Yes that’s right, someone in management there picked up the phone and called! And I wasn’t even a current or former guest!! How sweet is that?

My original question was basically, what books and/or other sources of inspiration that embrace the ideal of “the guest” does Montage recommend? Per the phone call, “Speed of Trust” by Stephen Covey comes highly recommended. As does the Jim Collins’ classic “Good to Great.”

Kudos to Montage Hotels and Resorts for talking the talk and walking the walk.

You say “Blink.” I say, “Sway.” “Blink.” “Sway.” “Blink.” “Sway.”

Grab your morning coffee and lead yourself to Marci Alboher’s “The Tyranny Of First Impressions” in the Sunday Times.

Without actually reading “Sway” it’s premature to draw any conclusions but it certainly  seems that this book is a twist on Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”. Or maybe at least the other side of the coin such that gut first impressions can also lead to mistakes. No surprise there, eh?

That said, there is also a substantial number of studies that clarify the importance of team work, group dynamics, etc. as part of the success equation. In fact, Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” said, “Get the right people on the bus” not “Get the most qualified on the bus.” If fact, if “most qualified” was the only criteria then all entrepreneurs would be MBAs and even Bill Gates would be out of a job since he is a college drop out. Lucky for us Bill stuck it out and hired himself.

Yes, these two brother have a point and everyone agrees that more objectivity – tests and the like – in the hiring process would be a good thing. On the other hand the reality is that the best answer is probably somewhere between total objectivity with regards to experience/talent and the subjective can this person fit into our organization? Many a great ball player has suffered after a trade. Just as many great ball players have come to life after being traded to the “right” team. There is far more to success than pure talent – which can be very subjective anyway – since it is widely said, “Past performance is no indication of future returns.”

As difficult as it is being human, we should all probably increase our efforts to be more  objective, as well as to be more attentive to what is and can be, not so much what was. Unfortunately, we also tend to trust most people and thus “Actions speak louder than words” is too often forgotten until it’s too late.