Can entrepreneurs learn anything from the World Cup final ?
Businesses also have to learn from the world's greatest sport event. They can't ignore that this is happening and affecting the minds and spirits of millions of clients and people around the world.
Never give up. The first inspirational thought comes from Croatia. They never gave up. Three games of 120 minutes. 2 times penalty kicks. They were survivors. Balkan warriors. They fought until the last minute against England and France. They deserved huge credit for that. They had such a mental strength. The fact that Russia made it to the quarter finals and beat Spain is also an inspiration to show that mind power, motivation and determination can be stronger than money or status to win over the competition.
Challengers have a true chance. Look at Croatia again. 4 million people. They made it through the finals. Very determined people. Smallest nation with Uruguay to pretend to the highest level. No complex. They believed in themselves. The whole country was behind. They will be back even after this defeat. This World Cup was full of hopes for challengers, Russia vs. Spain, Belgium vs. Brazil, South Korea vs. Germany, and, almost Japan vs. Belgium… So many surprises, an unexpected final 4, the best players Messi and Ronaldo out early in the tournament to let new faces emerge. Not sure that in our economy the GAFAM can be as challenged as Brazil, Germany, Spain, Italy or France in football but this is worth trying.
Adjust your game and use the right level of energy whenever necessary. France did the job with Australia and Peru, not more, not less, was boring with Denmark, both countries were fine with it. Exciting with Argentina, a thrilling game full of entertainement, that revealed Mbappe to the world. In control with Uruguay. Locking the game with Belgium. Opportunistic and result driven with Croatia. They didn't lose energy when it was useless, they reacted when needed, they raised their game when they had to. Not always the most flamboyant game, but very pragmatic and realistic. And still is was entertaining when it had to be. So don't overdo when it's not worth it, but put extra strength when it is. Understand when this is a priorty game, don't confuse a pool game and a finals.
Strategies are changing, then get your KPIs right. Many football fans complained that France's opponents were better teams because they won the possession of the ball. They did not do the famous tiki-taka that led Spain to victory in 2010. France did not look for possession. Is that the goal in football ? Deschamps wanted to use his very fast forward players to counter and score, not to do infinite triangle passes. It seems this was a new trend during this World Cup. Winning strategies can change overtime. New paradigms can overthrow old ones. Then, if that's the case, you need to target the right KPIs, or you'll miss your goal. You also need to be careful about people giving advice and comments, they might still be looking at past models and be wrong about the KPIs that really matter to your business.
Do what you are good at. Neymar might be the most expensive and one of the best players on the planet, he's a great footballer but just an average actor and an awful diver. He slightly overplays... He ridiculed himself. For the whole world, Neymar is now synonymous with simulation taken to the extreme. For our greatest pleasure and fun though: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/sports/world-cup/neymar-brazil-diving.html
AI is not the answer to everything... yet! Goldman Sachs ridiculed themselves during this competition. Before the cup, they ran a sophisticated model to tell us that Brazil would be in the finals against Germany. Which is what billions of people in the world would have said if you just had asked them, without running any model. On the paper, it was one of the likely finals. No need of AI and Machine Learning for that. Then they revised their model half-way through, once some very unpredictable results were already in (such as the elimination of Germany and Spain) to predict Croatia-England in semi-finals and Brazil-Croatia in the finals, which was the most conservative prediction you could have done at that stage, even without any algorithm: http://www.businessinsider.com/world-cup-predictions-goldman-sachs-ai-model-brazil-croatia-final-2018-7 They did not see how impressive was the Belgian team from the beginning and how determined was the French team. Something many fans were feeling. Thanks god AI is not ready yet to understand the World Cup... we might still have one or two World Cups to enjoy before AI gets it right... and make this boring. When are we going to have the first Robot Worldcup by the way? Well, it already happened, Mpabbe does not have to worry to much for the next few years: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=robot+worldcup&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3drobot%2bworldcup%26form%3dEDNTHN%26mkt%3dfr-fr%26httpsmsn%3d1%26refig%3d77d4296af7ca44f0d68d40c34c8760ff%26PC%3dLSJS%26sp%3d-1%26ghc%3d1%26pq%3drobot%2bworldcup%26sc%3d2-14%26qs%3dn%26sk%3d%26cvid%3d77d4296af7ca44f0d68d40c34c8760ff&view=detail&mid=821C33C2BEBD8C65E365821C33C2BEBD8C65E365&&mmscn=vwrc&FORM=VDRVRV
Select team players, mix experience levels and make a plan. Mbappe impressed the word with his speed (37 km/h), very close to Usain Bolt, but with a ball to manage: https://the18.com/soccer-entertainment/how-fast-is-kylian-mbappe-speed . However, nothing would have been done by the young French or English players without their very experienced coaches. They had a plan. Deschamps had a plan to neutralize Messi, Suarez or Lukaku. And it worked. The French team was full of individual talents but they believed in his plan and applied it. Deschamps had chosen people that he thought could get along well together and apply a common plan in spite of strong personnalities. He did not select people he thought would play their own plan to the detriment of the team. If you don't have a strong plan, people will make their own and it will go in all directions.
Why not recognize that luck has its part too? Luck matters. Luck comes to people who are looking for it. We cannot deny that Croatia was lucky in their games against Denmark and Russia and that France was lucky in the first half against Croatia in the finals. Some people attract luck. Moroccan people call this "baraka". You want them on your side. Dechamps is considered a very lucky man, to the point that everybody in France was talking about Deschamps' cat, a cat that is supposed to give him luck (sorry I did not find any article in English about this): https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/2018/07/10/coupe-du-monde-2018-tout-le-monde-compte-sur-la-chatte-a-deschamps-face-a-la-belgique_a_23477636/ . But luck alone does not work. It has to be combined with work, motivation and timing. This is work, training, experience that will make you be in the right position to seize an opportunity. This is work that makes Lukaku, Neymar or Hazard be the right man in the right spot to score. Which means that what most people name "luck" is actually work and an open mind for opportunities. Bravo les Bleus! Bravo les Croates ! Bravo la Belgique ! Well done England ! Liberté, égalité, Mbappé...