Like a lot of the world, we’ve got World Cup fever here at LiquidPlanner. And while we’re rooting for a variety of teams, after yesterday’s game between Team USA and Portugal we’re wrestling with a mix of feelings from devastation to thrill. Still, whomever you might be shouting your lungs out for, there’s one thing we can all get behind: These games teach us a lot about great teamwork skills.
Here are a few lessons we’re taking in as we shout GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL with all our might.
1. Good teams make a ruckus. The teams that laugh together and suffer together create the best stories. And stories build fans and fans keep teams together. Fans and teams united are like spider webs, they could tie up a lion. In the game between USA and Portugal, there was enough to laugh and cry about that people will be talking about this game for a good long while.
2. Shoot for the goal and if you miss, you’ll land among your team. It is a great strategy to understand that the strength of a whole replaces the weakness of an individual. It also makes for a softer fall when your knees buckle.
3. Some goals are made from the bench. And that manages to affect the folks on the field. Take the winning header by John Brooks goal for Team USA in the game against Ghana. Brooks might not have been a star player, but he proved indispensable. He was prepared to play on the front lines and incited a finely calibrated execution at just the right moment. You never know when your chance to shine might come, but when it does, be ready for that shot on goal.
4. Make the most out of lousy calls, underserved cards and unwanted injuries. Embrace constraints as advantages in disguise. Flexibility in the face of change and resilience in the face of confusion are non-negotiable. Push through the discomfort and prepare yourself for anything. Those who say that it can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it.
5. Call the ball. It’s an advantage to be extraordinarily well-connected. You want to communicate up, down, sideways and backwards. Note USA’s second goal in the game against Portugal.
6. Don’t be intimidated by first impressions. When we see a giant, why do we automatically assume the battle is his for the winning? While it’s smart to be prepared and anticipate risk, don’t make assumptions about what is possible (or impossible). When the defending champ Spain lost to Chile, this upset put momentum behind the underdog and challenged the status quo. Be a team united in possibility. The courage of one pales in comparison to the united courage of many because that courage just multiplied vastly.
7. Know your vulnerabilities—and protect them. Just as 11 goalies do not win a soccer game, an individual does not beat a team. But without one appointed goal keeper, the team is left with a vulnerable gap. Fill that gap, anticipate problems and you’ll leave an impression so great that the competition will dread your next move.
8. Play your position to perfection. If each individual focuses on excelling at his or her specific expertise and completes all of the key appointed tasks (while optimizing the team’s support), success will be inevitable for the whole team—and project.
9. You didn’t lose the game, you just ran out of time. Cliché or not, every second always counts. It only took Clint Dempsey 30 seconds to change the game for Team USA. On average, one player trains for 480 minutes a week to prepare for a 90-minute match.
But if you take an average roster of 23 players who train for 480 minutes, that’s a total of 11,040 minutes a week. By sheer number, “the odds are ever in your favor.” And if you take Dempsey’s stat of 30 seconds to score, that leaves a team with 180 opportunities to make a goal per game. It’s a matter of lighting the match at just the right moment–and if you light it over a built fire, you’re sure to leave everyone thinking that you used gasoline. (PS. Stats matter.)
10. Teams are like tribes. A community of people, connected to one another wield a fierce faith in a common idea. Teams reflect the mindset of their players. And players reflect the mindset of their coach. A shared commitment to the advancement of an idea or project galvanizes a movement. And when that movement strikes terror with reality, well it’s evident that it all boils down to this: Teamwork makes the dream work.
11. And in the end: The World Cup reminds us of the importance of winning and losing with grace.
What kind of lessons are you gleaning from the World Cup?