Going Deutsche: 4 Business Lessons from The World Cup

Germany-Business-LessonsThe well known old adage of ‘German Efficiency’ was beautifully demonstrated during a recent ‘low key’ football competition we were witness to (whether we liked it or not!).  However, as we know, more often than not, these kinds of stereotypes are borne out of truth. From football, to motor vehicles, to train travel, the Germans lead the way.

Below we examine 4 lessons from Germany’s World Cup campaign which aptly apply to running a business, efficiently and effectively.

#1 – Teamwork

The poster boys of the World Cup – Argentina’s Messi, Portugal’s Ronaldo and Brazil’s Neymar were truly humbled by Germany’s TEAM. Never has a football tournament better demonstrated that a team is greater than the sum of its parts.

Business leaders should take a long hard look at their organisations and ask themselves whether it really is a team effort. They should look at how they communicate from the top of the business. And ask themselves if the entire organisation is engaged with their vision.

As Michael Jordon once said “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”

#2 – Take Training Seriously

Germany occupied a purpose build training camp whilst in Brazil, nearly 700 miles from Rio. Why? Because while the other teams checked themselves into hotels closer to Rio, they had to battle their way through dense traffic to get to training every day.

The German training camp allowed them to train hard, with no distractions or time wasted travelling. It’s widely acknowledged that this approach to their training gave Germany an edge over their rivals.

Businesses should follow Germany’s lead and invest sufficient thought and resource in their training programmes. A good management training programme should educate and motivate staff to perform their roles. But in addition to this, it should ensure there’s a consistent supply of rising stars, equipped with the skills for their next level of management. Businesses should build for the future, not the next game.

#3 – Play The Right Formation

Joachim Löw, Germany’s Head Coach, made absolutely sure that each footballer was playing in their optimum position. Every player was in a position where their strengths were maximised and their weaknesses unexposed.

Businesses need to follow this example by making absolutely sure they have the right people doing the right jobs.

It sounds simple, but to do this consistently a business must have a robust set of systems in place. These systems need to constantly measure performance, identify needs and monitor progress. Only then can you be sure that you’re playing the best people in their best positions.

#4 – Perseverance

In the 2000 European Cup, Germany failed miserably, being knocked out in the group stages and finishing the tournament in a dismal 14th place. Rather than wallow in their self pity, they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and reorganised into a world beating team.

The young team that emerged from the reorganisation was largely untested at an international level. The coach made a calculated risk with his team, and had the perseverance to see this risk through, and claim the greatest prize in football.

Some of the most innovative business ideas would not have seen the light of day without a healthy dose of perseverance.

Thomas Edison said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”.