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Acrasio what business can learn from football

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We love football, but do we really need to link it to business? …

We love football, but do we really need to link it to business?
In our leisure time we enjoy the game of football. Like few other sports soccer unleashes our energy and our emotions. This fact is bringing in big money into the game. The recruiting, the training and tactics have become highly professional, while still keeping the passion up during the 90min of the games.

The short time frame spent on the field, the rather simple setting and number of participants (stakeholders if you want) make it a rather simple guinea pig. For me the analogy to business is obvious: it is getting people to work together to achieve a positive objective – winning.

Sure not all aspects can be linked one-to-one to business situations, but looking out for lessons to be learned is a lot of fun, and also brings new points of view that can be helpful in our daily business life.

I hope you find my insights interesting but also enjoyable!

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  • 1. Acrasio logo area Client logo areaTitle area What BUSINESS can learn from FOOTBALL Sub-title area Dr. Karin Stumpf, Partner Sub-title area
  • 2. Left stamp Backup Right stampWe love football, but do we really need to link it to business?Title areaSub-title areaIn our leisure time we enjoy the game of football. Like few other sports soccer unleashes ourenergy and our emotions. This fact is bringing in big money into the game. The recruiting, thetraining and tactics have become highly professional, while still keeping the passion up duringthe 90min of the games.The short time frame spent on the field, the rather simple setting and number of participants(stakeholders if you want) make it a rather simple guinea pig. For me the analogy to businessis obvious: it is getting people to work together to achieve a positive objective – winning.Sure not all aspects can be linked one-to-one to business situations, but looking out for lessonsto be learned is a lot of fun, and also brings new points of view that can be helpful in our dailybusiness life. Point of originI hope you find my insights interesting but also enjoyable!Drawing areaFootnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote levelAcrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -2-
  • 3. Left stamp Backup Right stampTHE SIX LESSONSTitle areaSub-title area1 The Formula for Success2 Adapt but Remain True to Yourself3 Promoting a Better Practice of Standards4 Stars Don„t Matter – The Team Mattersof origin Point5 We Are Just Human Beings6Drawing area Invest Now – Earn LaterFootnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote levelAcrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -3-
  • 4. 1 Left stamp Backup Right stamp The Formula for Success Title area Sub-title area The key question in football is: who is going to win? Statistics and different figures are being shuffled around to guess who is going to make it to the final. As in business, we are all looking for the magic formula that is going to make us successful. A newspaper stated that championship winners in the past had two factors in common: the total financial worth of the champion was the highest AND the monetary value of each individual player in the winning team was distributed most homogeneous. For companies this holds many truths: you want to be successful? you need to invest in hiring employees that can deliver high quality work, and this obviously will cost you. But it is not enough to hire stars, e.g. former McKinsey employees, you need to form a homogeneous team where everybody can perform at a similar level: one person can not become your company‟s savior. You will need adequate support in each key responsibility to become and Point of origin remain successful. Drawing area Footnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote level Acrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -4-
  • 5. 2 Left stamp Backup Right stamp Adapt but Remain True to Yourself Title area Sub-title area In the last 20 years football has evolved as its roles and structures have become more permeable. Teams switch between 4-2-3-1 and 3-2-3-2 trying to find the ideal structure for their team and against their competitors. Matrix or flat organization reflect the same approach: companies want to become more flexible and adapt better to their environment. After decades of total quality and kaizen, there is a tendency to encourage innovation and adaptation. But as we could see on the field, flexibility isn‟t the solution to all problems. Well managed restructurings, where new and old employees clearly understand their roles and responsibilities will go through the transition and will be efficient in a very short time frame. But a mistake is to try to create an all-in-one employee suitable for all purposes. Small companies have little choice, but large corporation should try to place people based on their competences and skills. Point of origin Oliver Kahn, Germany‟s former top Goalkeeper, said in one of his analysis: “You need to know what you stand for. You have strengths and you should remain true to yourself.” This is what good managers should always keep in mind when supporting their organization to evolve! Drawing area Footnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote level Acrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -5-
  • 6. 3 Left stamp Backup Right stamp Promoting a Better Practice of Standards Title area Sub-title area One third of all football goals are scored after standard situations. Some teams have even shown that it is possible to score one out of seven corners. But most trainers, as Germany‟s coach Joachim Löw, don‟t put much effort in practicing these. This reflects a certain attitude found in business: practicing and improving standard practices is not a top priority in most companies. Instead of clarifying roles and responsibilities, setting up clear processes and training these, they continuously identify new and more promising projects. Not that innovation or the entry into new markets is not important, but optimizing your basis, your standard processes, is one of the simplest way to increase your efficiency, to free up resources, and so to reduce your costs. And still many companies don‟t use business process management tools and spend only little time in defining roles or responsibilities while offering little process and tool training. Point of origin 2004 Greece became European Football Champion. The team had not superstars, wasn‟t gifted with a great offensive, but showed how an average team after some focused training could use well practiced standards to score. I think this is the best promotion for a better recognition of standards! Drawing area Footnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote level Acrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -6-
  • 7. 4 Left stamp Backup Right stamp Stars Don„t Matter – The Team Matters Title area Sub-title area Last year some of the Bavarian stars Schweinsteiger, Robben or Ribbery were injured and could not play. Some of their replacements or second row players could not fit in the big hole left by their peers. Or remember the Euro2012 when Top scorers Huntelaar and van Persie had to go home prematurely. Stars are important and can turn a game around, but a team is only successful when the whole group can deliver. And it shows again that the skills and capabilities of an individual player can only develop in the right environment. Companies should never only rely on a few star managers by hiring executives with famous names or exceptional CVs and arguing that they don‟t have the right human resources within their own ranks. Newly recruited high flyers often fail because they don‟t get the company culture and lack empathy and team skills. And what is true for star footballer is also true for our employees. Some people will thrive in an open and flexible organization; some will need more structure and processes. Leadership based on the individual situation and competency, helps Point of origin managers to support their team. But an employee needs more than assisting leaders. People need jobs that are meaningful to them, a team where they feel supported and responsibilities that challenge them adequately. A team really becomes effective when each individual can add value, not when some personalities can outshine their colleagues. Drawing area Footnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote level Acrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -7-
  • 8. 5 Left stamp Backup Right stamp Adapt Your Game to the Team‟s Capabilities Title area Sub-title area The Spanish team has brought this strategy to perfection. Their team‟s tactics and strategy are modeled around the individual capabilities. During the World Championship in South Africa we saw what happens when a team has to adapt to a forced tactic: The approach of the Brazilian team did not match their capabilities and they were out. One day up, one day down. Some players can, with the correct mixture of endurance, team cohesiveness and luck (yes luck!) amaze us with their skills and game intelligence. But far from being robots, on other occasions they fail to impress us. Last year Schweini (nickname of Schweinsteiger) was the star in the game against Real, but came out as the loser in the Champions league finale. The same holds true for employees. Under certain circumstances they perform and deliver outstanding work. But then sometime the results they deliver are poor and below expectations. Consistent achievements are difficult to get, of origin the employees up to the executives. And Point from one time failure should not be the reason for downgrading or out placing employees. And most employees do not play along with new strategies not based on the internal capabilities, their capabilities. Often, they just sit out such new ideas. Managers and directors will be more successful if they take small tactical steps bringing their employees slowly towards the new strategy. Drawing area Footnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote level Acrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -8-
  • 9. 6 Left stamp Backup Right stamp Invest Now – Earn Later Title area Sub-title area The spotlight in football usually is on star players of great soccer clubs. Ajax Amsterdam, FC Barcelona or Bayern Munich – all three teams are traditionally investing a lot into young players and spend considerable amounts of time and money on discovering and training fresh talent (remember the young defender David Alaba from Bayern Munich against Real?). These investments might not have paid off in the last game, but they certainly will under other circumstances, in the next season – their time will come! They might have lost some - crucial - battles, but they havent lost the war. What about European companies? Professional training, continuing education and High Potential programs are rarely high on the agenda. Rather, they find themselves relying on the „mercenary principle‟ by hiring expensive outside help instead of putting more faith in their own people. Research has shown that companies investing most in training are financially also the most stable company. This key argument origin Point of should help prioritize budgets. Drawing area Footnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote level Acrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -9-
  • 10. Left stamp Backup Right stampAbout AcrasioTitle areaSub-title areaAcrasio is a Berlin based boutique consulting company with an international focus thatsupports large blue chip corporations in implementing their strategy. The team of Acrasiooffers expertise, insight and energy to help its clients unlock, implement and sustainthe very best competitive strategies for their business success.In our consulting approach we support our client in bringing these two different aspectstogether:1. the understanding of the market environment with the identification of the competitive advantage required to support the company‟s strategy2. the awareness of the internal structure and actual employee base to move towards a better alignment to the company‟s objectives Point of originDrawing areaFootnote area. Drawing area base to shift according to footnote levelAcrasio Mini Manual-PF-101016-14h34-mhs.pptx -10-
  • 11. Acrasio logo area Client logo area Karin Stumpf Managing Director Acrasio GmbHTitle area Tel.: +49 30 32 536 536 Mobile: +49 171 1222 886 Sub-title area Karin.stumpf@acrasio.com Bissingzeile 11 Potsdamer Platz Berlin, Germany Sub-title area www.acrasio.com