Seeing how the World Cup goals are scored shows you different types of decision-making and implementation styles that can help you be more effective within your own team.
Watching the World Cup gives us a bird’s eye view into so many things: teamwork, leadership, sharing a common goal, sportsmanship, decision-making, and implementation styles. Watching the different goals that have been scored and attempted can provide us a lot to think about. While some people feel the goal in business is to win, as it is in sports, a more collaborative approach often results in better long-term business strategy. That said, if you consider scoring a goal a metaphor for business successes, you could extrapolate some interesting themes from the goals scored in this year’s World Cup.
First, let’s look at that goal scored by Clint Dempsey in the USA versus Ghana game. Not a minute had gone by, and the US was already winning 1-0. In similar fashion, the Argentinian goal by Gonzalo Higuain in the eighth minute won their quarterfinal game against Belgium. Contrast those with all six goals scored by Belgium in their World Cup games this year. Every one of them took place more than 70 minutes into those games.
Depending on your personality, you probably have a bias toward one of those scoring styles. In business, one style isn’t necessarily better than the other (though the World Cup has certainly favored the early scorers so far), but it’s helpful to understand your style and bias both for your own performance improvement and when dealing with others. While many great leaders favor quick decision-making and actions, a balanced team will also include those who are slower to act, people who thoroughly weigh their options and will patiently observe the situation before moving forward.
The difficulty is that these opposing styles can cause a great deal of friction when not managed properly. Those biased towards lengthy observation feel pressured by the speedy deciders. They don’t like being rushed, and frequently ask for more time, which makes the speedy deciders think the observers are wasting time, or that they’re less intelligent. The observers often complain that the speedy deciders are rash and possibly reckless. Without understanding these differences, conflicts and resentment can easily build.
Another aspect to consider is whether your goals are obvious and expected, take the other team by surprise, or are stopped before they start. In the early games, I saw several possible goals that weren’t even attempted. This happens more in business than it does this late it in World Cup, but a missed opportunity can rarely be regained.
So why wouldn’t you take your chance to score?
Self-doubt is often the culprit, but missed chances can also be due to lack of preparation or not recognizing an opportunity in time. When Higuain scored for Argentina against Belgium on Saturday, it took nearly everyone by surprise. He wasn’t set up to score; he just saw an opportunity and took it. Recognizing and capitalizing on the opportunities in front of you is a critical element of success. You can’t win if you don’t try, right?
And what about the penalty kick by James Rodriguez for Columbia against Brazil? He scored by taking an extra step that mislead the goalkeeper. Was that a strategic misdirect or a hesitation? If it was a hesitation, it was a lucky one, but as a strategy it was very effective.
Making decisions and implementing them strategically is a solid success plan regardless of whether you tend to be a fast or deliberate thinker. Imagine if the players in the World Cup were speedy decision-makers but slow implementers. They couldn’t win that way. If you want to score, you have to attempt the goal.
So how would you do it? If you were gifted with all the talent and ability of a top World Cup player, how would you score?
Your answer to this question can help you further understand your decision-making and implementation style. Self-awareness makes you a better player within your team and often inspires others to do the same.