I spent the weekend in close proximity to one screen or another, either watching the matches, reading their progress on the FIFA ticker, following them on Twitter or reading the recaps. And before we go much further, readers take note: for the next month I will be blogging profusely about the World Cup and the ever-present, ever-shifting parallels between business and sport. If, earlier this year you enjoyed my posts on the Vancouver Olympics, you will, I hope, enjoy the posts that follow. If you did not, feel free to check out of this blog for about a month. I won't take it personally.
Fabio Capello made the wrong decision in starting Robert Green. If weakness in goal was England's Achilles heel going into this tournament, the West Ham keeper's fumbling of a harmless shot from American Clint Dempsey was a major, first-class flare-up. Even if James isn't 100% healthy, he's a veteran with loads of international experience. England will still likely progress to the knock-out stage, but they will need to to get better - much better in nearly every aspect if they are to progress to the finals.
One bad decision can negate even the best preparation. This is somewhat related to my first observation (which serves as a perfect object lesson), but is broader in scope. Every business makes decisions about targets plans and tactics, but very rarely is every decision the right one. The ability to readjust, reassess and re-set targets in response to changing conditions is a condition of survival. In business, this is the kind of agility that's enabled by business analytics software and a strong analytical culture. In soccer, England's Italian coach is a meticulous planner who leaves very little
to chance, so I can't imagine he wouldn't have have anticipated having to make a keeper switch. The Telegraph's' Jeremy Wilson thinks James must start England's next game and so, too, must all of England. We'll have to wait and see.
Maybe scientific managers like [Arsenal's Arsene] Wenger have set the stage for a war of Lost-like
proportions within the game. Soccer is the island, a mysterious,
untamable, and beautiful beast. Wenger is (maybe a little unfairly) the
character Ben, leader of the “Others,” a master of manipulation, bent on
scientific methods of deconstruction. His tinkering has bred tensions
between future and past, brain and heart, fact and faith, design and
Soccer is more fluid, more free-flowing than baseball and there are fewer situations to do some number crunching. Apart from penalty kicks (will Ronaldo shoot left or right? top corner or low?), the game is an ideal candidate for real-time
decision-making, which sees coaches continually adjusting tactics and
players continually adjusting their decisions in in response
to continually changing conditions. Used wisely, teams could envision, anticipate and train for specific game situations so as to shift tactics quickly during the actual game. Or, as Slate amusingly suggests, broadcasters could just clutter their programming with meaningless numbers and explosions:
Do you see business lessons in the beautiful game? Drop me a line, I'd love to discuss.
A tag is a keyword you assign to make a blog or blog content easier to find. Click a tag to find content that has been assigned that keyword. Click another tag to refine the search further. Click Find a tag to search for a tag that is not displayed in the collection.