That’s Intriguing #114: What Can the World Cup Teach Us About Leadership?

World Cup Image.jpg

“Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” – General Bernard Montgomery

Are you one of the 3 .2 billion people (as estimated by PEW Research  in a June 16th article) watching the World Cup?

Isn’t it intriguing to see how countries from around the globe, many of whom are  normally in conflict with each other, come together and compete in harmony?

The same thing happens every two years for the Summer and Winter Olympics. Athletes from opposing nations temporarily put their differences aside to determine who is the best in their sport.

What does this mean for us as leaders?

Are you  part of an organization, industry or community where:

– departments are battling each other for budget dollars?

– committees have conflicting goals that create hostility?

– businesses are competing for customers?

What price is everyone involved paying as a result of these conflicting goals?  What are the penalties of this hostile competition?

As a leader, could you introduce a global goal that gives everyone cause to work with each other instead of against each other?

Want an example? Right out of college, I worked as a waitress on Hilton Head Island, SC.  Restaurant managers normally saw each other as competitors, but our owner reached out to other leaders in the industry to propose they join forces to raise money for the community with a Taste of the Island event.

I’ll always remember that sunny day as F & B employees, who normally didn’t talk to each other, laughed and bonded over bar-b-que. The relationships created that day turned a divisive industry into a connected community.

Mattie Stepanek, who wrote the inspiring Heart Songs when he was ten years old,  said,  “Unity is strength. When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

Mattie’s right.  Wonderful things can be achieved when we choose  to put aside our differences and focus on a shared goal that turns conflict into collaboration.

So, how about you?  As you watch the World Cup, could you and your employees, team leaders and committee chairs brainstorm/strategize:

– how people in your organization who see themselves as competitors can create a common goal so they become collaborators ?

- a worthy mission or global goal that would bring “warring factions”  in your industry together to serve a greater good they could all agree upon?

- a unifying event or activity that would focus leaders in your community to focus on what they have in common instead of in conflict?

Doing any of the above could result in a RAH –  rising tide Raising All Humans – experience where everyone rallies to a common purpose so all involved win.

Wouldn’t you agree, that’s a worthy G-O-O-A-A-L!!!!

Picture by Filipe Castilhos- Beira Rio

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