In The Trenches

Team Take-Aways From The World Cup

Published on December 6, 2022 Back to blog

I’m not a big soccer (er, football) fan. But, when a British friend invites you to his house to watch the UK vs. US game, you go. And, while there were certainly some moments of excitement, the no-score game wasn’t quite my cup of tea. 

However, while watching the game, we discussed the many upsets that had already happened during the tournament, and it got me thinking about why that may be. In my opinion, it all comes down to TEAMS (acronym explained below).

  1. Togetherness makes a team. The World Cup Teams are made up of all-stars from their respective leagues. Unlike the league teams, these players are not used to playing together as a unit and lack that integral team dynamic.
  2. Egos can get in the way. With the world’s best players, playing on the biggest stage, egos will certainly play a role. Everyone wants to be a hero – and in doing so, the team can often suffer.
  3. Attitude is everything. I believe that underdogs often win simply because they try harder. Some teams enter this tournament as “expected winners” while others as “expected losers.” The latter will likely spend much more time preparing and giving it their all when game time comes.
  4. Mutual trust and respect are required. From my understanding, many of the World Cup “team-mates” are often adversaries during the regular season. This does not necessarily establish a strong foundation of trust and respect when they join forces. 
  5. Strong leadership will make the difference. The coach is perhaps the most influential person on the entire team. If the coach is unable to address the issues above, their chances of winning will be greatly impeded. And, in dealing with such big egos and personalities, this is not an easy job.

Business, like soccer, is a team sport. With some exceptions, one great player (or even many great players) doesn’t make a great team. The success of a team depends upon the dynamics between the players. The more cohesive the team, the stronger the team. I wonder how the leading league teams (that have that strong cohesion) would fare against their respective nation’s World Cup “All Star” team. I’d definitely watch those matches.

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners