At time of writing, the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup is in full swing, with the first round group stage all but complete and topics of office conversation stubbornly refusing to budge from penalties, VAR and who has been sneaking a peak at the afternoon kick-offs.
In footballing terms, it feels like we have entered some kind of strange alternate reality. Not only are the mighty Germans, four-time winners and reigning champions, already out, but England are actually looking quite good, recording two wins so far which included a record 6-1 thrashing of poor Panama.
So as all those promises of “I’m not getting excited this time” get thrown out of the window and the nation prepares itself for the crushing disappointment of the inevitable penalty shoot-out defeat, we thought we might as well get in the spirit and ask the following:
If your law firm was a football team, what could you have learned from the World Cup so far?
(Polite note: We cannot take responsibility for the consequences of trying to use this article as justification for watching the football during office hours on the grounds of conducting research…)
Give youth a chance
One of the main explanations being bandied about for England’s refreshingly positive showing so far is manager Gareth Southgate’s decision to pick a team of young rising stars. By contrast, Germany’s misfortunes have been attributed to relying too heavily on the stalwarts of yesteryear, players who perhaps are resting on the laurels of past successes.
Applying that logic to your own team, you can conclude that having too much of a preference for experience over youth can sometimes backfire. Young talent brings energy, drive, new ideas and ambition into a team which, when harnessed correctly, are invaluable assets.
Don’t overburden your star players
There was a lot of consternation early in the tournament that one of the world’s greatest players, Argentina’s Lionel Messi, looked out of sorts and weighed down by the expectations of a football-crazy nation. Images of him rubbing his temples with his eyes closed ahead of one game didn’t help, and he also did the unthinkable and missed a penalty.
The consensus was that there was too much pressure on Messi to carry an underperforming team. Star turns are an asset to any organisation, but their talents can quickly become blunted if the team around them is not pulling its weight and expecting them to do too much. Working hard to support your top talents will ensure you get the best out of them.
Everyone loves an underdog
Apologies to any German readers for continuing to rub salt in the wound, but the result of the tournament so far in many people’s eyes was Mexico beating the mighty Germany 1-0 in their opening game. This result, as well as plucky if ultimately fruitless performances from the likes of Morocco, Iran, Costa Rica and South Korea, prove that on the biggest stage it isn’t just the big names that count.
The key is, for smaller law firms as well as less successful footballing nations, not to have an inferiority complex. Believe in what you do, stick to your strategies and work hard, and you too one day might just upset one of the big boys.