In the wake of Euro 2016 and the surprise early exit of the Belgian football team, I am pondering on the question what it takes to be a successful team.
Never in the history of Belgian national football did we have such a large group of talented players. Most of them no longer play in Belgium and are now international stars in the Premier League (Uk), Primera Division (Spain) and Serie A (Italy). A fantastic achievement which I am personally very grateful for as it helps me when my foreign friends pop the joke “name a famous Belgian”. I now don’t have to revert to a cartoon character boy with a small dog or an old detective with a silly moustache!!
The journalists are scathing in their analysis of the so-called “Golden Generation”: they are a collective of big ego’s yet not a team; the coach doesn’t know what he is doing and his tactics are completely off-kilter; despite all their experience of dealing with the pressures of performing and delivering at the highest level, they crumbled on the European stage.
So lately the same question keeps ringing in my head: Surely running a football team cannot be that different from running a business team?! Ok, apart from the millionaire prima-donnas…maybe!!
Of course a successful team is made up of a powerful combination of many ingredients such as, but absolutely not limited to, talented people, strong leadership, support, reward & recognition, and I could, and probably will, at some point in this blog, write about my views on all of these.
Yet reflecting on my own experience of when I was part of a successful team or indeed led a team to success, I have to bring it back to 1 core element without which all else fails: BELIEF
I relate BELIEF back to a commitment, from deep within, to a common purpose that sets the direction of travel and that defines all the goals you need to achieve to reach the ultimate destination. It’s the ultimate compass to check in with. To check whether you and your team mates are still on course and it is the tool to understand and address any team mis-alignment.
I am convinced that this joint agreement, made with oneself as well as with one’s team, is the foundation to any team’s success – be it a sports team or a business team.
Gareth Bale said it beautifully when asked what keeps him motivated to play for Wales : “It’s the dragon on my shirt, that’s all I need”.
So ask yourself regularly: what’s the dragon on my shirt?