Agility, precision, passion: Business lessons from UEFA champs FC Barcelona
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  business_analytics ibmsoftware
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Companies run on numbers. We need them every every day, every hour, sometimes every minute. Companies that master the numbers inside their walls routinely provide better numbers outside their walls, in the form of higher earnings, higher revneue and greater customer loyalty.
This is a positive trend.
There are some organizations, though, who perform so well that their numbers - however impressive - give way to something closer to art.
Consider some of the numbers from last Saturday's UEFA Champions' League Final, widely heralded as the "match of the decade" between FC Barcelona and Manchester United, two titans of the game (Barcelona carried the day 3-1):
As impressive as these numbers are, though, no one who watched the match would come away praising percentages. They'd be more likely to praise what made the game so pleasing to watch:
The first is agility: Barcelona's game is one of short, continuous "triangle" passes between players constantly in motion yet always in perfect position. Collectively they advance, assess, probe, retreat, reassess, then advance again, usually to to score. It's like watching a clock rearrange its gears every second and still keep perfect time.
The second is precision: Barcelona plays the ball close to the opposition. Midfielders Xavi, Messi, Busquets, Iniesta and Alves drive the ball directly into defenders where it would seem easy for an opposing player to snatch it away. Not so; collectively, their pass success rate is over 86 percent. Instead of losing the ball they find the seams and create space that no one else can see, let alone defend.
The third is passion: I won't post it here, but a quick YouTube search for "messi champions league 2011" will show you all you need to know about the passion that comes from winning.
Agility. Precision. Passion. They are the attributes of FC Barcelona, now undoubtedly one of the greatest sides in the history of The Beautiful Game. They are also attributes of the analytics-driven organization. They are both the drivers of performance and its result.
How fortunate we are to live in an age of such greatness.