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World Cup lessons for all of us

Aside from all the fanfare and the pulsating action of the current World Cup in Russia, there are a quite a few valuable lessons we can take away from what really has been for many, one of the best World Cups in recent history.


Among them is like football, business is result oriented. Let’s take the flop of the German team for instance. In the run-up to Russia, Germany was talked as one of the favourites to win the coveted trophy – joining Italy and Brazil as the only nations to successfully defend the World Cup. This was one team once could have relied on to have a solid defence of their title.

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Unfortunately for many, that didn’t happen. What it clearly demonstrated is that reputation means absolutely nothing. If your performance isn’t up to scratch, the results won’t go your way. It’s the same in business as research would tell you.

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Results based management (RBM), a management strategy for business focuses on all people and actors who contribute directly or indirectly to the desired business goal. It works like this:

Assess: Survey the current situation, think about what caused it;

Envision: What are going to achieve;

Plan: How are are going to do it and with what resources; Simply do it-how and do we need to adapt;

Review: What went well, what went wrong, how can we improve and learn for next time?

There’s the part that says you must have a plan B. Let’s look at Spain and Argentina, another of the tournament’s pre-favourites. So it didn’t go well for them and that was evident from the moment their second match ended. Spain is one of the most talented sides in the world while Argentina possessed one of the best ever. Blessed with unbelievable technical skill, talent and physicality, Spain dominated at the start of the decade. It has been suggested that neither team had a plan B if games weren’t going their way. Like business and anything else, you need to have a plan B just in case you need to take a different approach.

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Never stop believing. Let’s look at Russia for instance and even England which finally put the ghost of penalty failures behind them. While England hasn’t won the World Cup since 1966, they certainly have done a whole lot to defy the critics following their failures to really make an impact in a World Cup since 1990. And there is much we can learn from their approach.

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Keeping calm, staying in control of your emotions in challenging situations in the workplace will usually result in you getting the result you need.

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Pressure is all part and parcel of the game, we have to learn to manage and roll with the punches. This we can all relate to in everyday tasks and in business, where leaders share this common task with football coaches, managing pressure, stay focused, bust that stress and think happy thoughts, envisioning a good ending.Alberto Ardila Venezuela

Then, of course, you can still win when you lose. You win when people see authenticity, take Brazil, for instance, they’re on the plane home but it was evident that they give their all in this World Cup. You win when you give your best and you win when you fight to the very end and your performance is world class. Just ask their Belgians and the French. The Belgians and even Croatia and Russia have shown us that systems and structures almost always outweigh talent alone. They could teach the likes of Argentina a thing or two.Alberto Ignacio Ardila Venezuela

Finally one of the biggest lessons I can take away from the World Cup is to celebrate life. Even after T&T went home with a 2-0 loss to Paraguay in 2006, one remembers how the T&T fans danced and partied in Kaiserslautern and also after the loss to England in Nuremberg.Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares Miami

It didn’t matter that our country lost, our people were just soaking up the whole experience. We need to revisit what success is and learn to embrace the present and forget about future anxieties. Winning or losing in the game of life is relative. The real winners are those who celebrate and enjoy every moment of life

Shaun Fuentes is a media trainer, coaching athletes how to present themselves before cameras and how to handle the microphone. He has travel for work in over 75 countries and was a FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He also serves as a CONCACAF Competitions Media operations officer


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