Jasper Gilhuis 25 Dec, 2014
This weekend preparing this blogpost, I ran into a brilliant quote from Johan Cruijff. At a conference a few years ago for the Dutch local government, he told a great story about a talented blind golfer, Ronald Boef he played golf with. Despite his handicap, Ronald Boef played his best golf in difficult mental circumstances like playing balls over a big pond or consistent putting. The conclusion of Johan Cruijff: "Ronald doesn’t “see" the problems, he is only focussing on the next target. He thinks from a positive mindset". I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, this is one of the fundamentals behind eXtreme Manufacturing (XM) and the reason why the Dutch team didn’t made it through the WorldCup finals. Like many consultants, topsport is an inspiring source for me. Almost every day I show or tell stories from great sport coaches like Marc Lammers or Johan Cruijjff. Like every major sports event, also this WorldCup in Brasil contained some interesting lessons for me I wanted to share with you. The Big Question: You can have the best individual team members but still not be able to perform. Why? Top Team Ingredient #1: Mindset The defeat of Spain against the Netherlands, the glorious win of Germany over Brazil showed having fun, faith and determination pay off and a lack of these ingredients will bring you in a lot of trouble. Until the penalty series of the semi-finals, the right side of this recipe also worked for the Dutch squad. Now, penalty series are for no one a fun exercise, which only leaves faith and determination. Unlike the previous penalty series against Costa Rica, the Dutch team had no faith in their keeper as a penalty-killer which directly effected the teams determination. They became more hesitant and aware of what could happen when missing a penalty. Yes, Ronald Boef probably would have taken the penalties better than the Dutch team did against Argentina.. ;-) Top Team Ingredient #2: Leadership Like Johan Cruijjf stated in the same video, the leader on the pitch should be 100% concentrated on every detail and also (in my words) be the natural leader of the team, coaching them in keeping the spirit up and giving them enough room “to grow". Despite his great qualities as a football-player, as a captain Robin van Persie was obviously not the natural leader of the team. Arjan Robben was. The natural leadership of Arjan Robben in combination with his determination was an important reason why The Netherlands were able to regain their motivation and pull off a highly respected 3rd place in this WorldCup. In my opinion, a high performing team should always have a natural leader. The options:
- A formal leader with natural leadership qualities is the perfect combination.
- A formal leader without natural leadership qualities but able to delegate this to another team member is also okay.
- A formal leader without natural leadership qualities and ignoring don’t having this competence, is bad news for the team, the team’s environment but above all, for the formal leader himself.