Lessons from a soccer match

I was a bit surprised, to be frank, to see how much World Cup soccer has really taken off in North America. For years, only a select group of people have been following this sport over on our side of the pond. Yet, did my eyes deceive me, or did I really see flags hanging out of car windows everywhere I drove in Toronto (and not Maple Leaf flags either, thank goodness)?

Neil, a good friend of mine, cheers for Chelsea – I thought “Chelsea” was a bun, but no, it is a team with its own cult following. You don’t want to be around
Neil if there’s a Match on. It is as if the world has stopped on its axis – the only thing that is still turning is the ball!

This week I was chatting with a client who used to work for a large global German car manufacturer. His manager’s philosophy was; “Kick the ball, not the player.” The phrase struck me as quite ironic in context with what Zinedine Zidane did, by head-butting Marc Materazzi in extra time and getting a red card (this in the 110th minute of his final game in front of over 1 billion people). The Italians had quite a challenge before the tournament, but Gattuso said; “It has given us more strength.” Italy went on to win the match, and France, sans Zidane, lost in the shootout.

When attempting to deal with a particular situation this coming week, or with any of the issues that come up in the world of work, why not kick the ball (i.e. the problem) instead of the people around you. Everyone will win – especially you.

À bientôt.

P.S. There were lots of entrants to our July contest. Congratulations to Nancy Khuen, our winner.

Along the road with you,

Alan Kearns