For those of us who enjoy the World Cup, it’s been a particularly interesting tournament, in which teams with the most celebrated ‘star players’ haven’t been winning many games. Indeed, at the weekend two of the favourites, Portugal (with Ronaldo) and Argentina (with Messi) were both knocked out, in results that will have surprised many, but perhaps not those who had watched their earlier matches.
Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate’s England team have made a good start, getting England through to the knock out stages for the first time since 2010. They have a tough job this evening against Colombia - a team that can be quick when it matters – but I’m hopeful they’ll do well and, if they win tonight, England will already have performed as well as in 2006. The 6-1 victory over Panama has already set a new record as England’s biggest World Cup win.
There was quite a lot of criticism of Gareth Southgate’s choices when the squad was first announced. He shunned some experienced players, in favour of a younger squad, saying, “If I am asking club managers to be brave and pick young players, then I think I have got to do the same.” He’s worked hard to encourage and develop new talent and, I think, build a spirit of collective responsibility.
What has struck me, watching this team in action, is a sense that they are really working together as a team, particularly in set pieces. Four of the goals against Panama came from these and I was impressed by the on-pitch huddles and discussions about how a free kick, for example, was going to be played. This is a team where, in those set-pieces at least, everyone knows their role and the contribution they will be making - and that teamwork has led to moments of quiet brilliance.
I’ve also enjoyed watching members of the team take responsibility for their mistakes – holding up a hand in apology for a poor pass, for example, and applauding inspired efforts, even if they didn’t quite come off.
So far, and I hope it’s a trend that continues, this year’s World Cup has proven a useful reminder that whilst it’s nice to have star players, real success comes from great teamwork. Look behind every ‘star player’ in your organisation and you’ll likely find a team of people who share the same goals – who know the part they play in achieving success, are engaged, supportive of each other and are highly motivated. I struggle to think of a single example where a star player has achieved outstanding success without being part of a star team. Can you?
Do you want to help managers in the organisations you work with build teams that win too? There are loads of activities in Trainers' Library that will help, including icebreakers, course modules and team building games.
P.S., Despite having customers in more than 40 countries, we don’t currently have anyone using our training materials in Portugal or Argentina. Coincidence? You decide. ;-)
About Rod Webb
Rod is co-founder and Commercial Director at Glasstap® (www.glasstap.com), the company behind Trainers' Library® and Managers' Library (www.managerslibrary.com).
Rod has overall responsibility for the Glasstap brand and the day to day operations of the business.
Through its innovative Trainers' Library® service, Glasstap® provides trainers with easy access to its unique range of innovative, experiential learning materials, including detailed trainer's notes, handouts, participant briefs etc. The service is used by professional trainers in over 50 countries.
The recently launched Managers' LIbrary aims to help line managers become better at fulfilling their part in the leraning and development cycle providing loads of short training activities that can be used in team meetings and lots of self-development tools for the managers themselves.
Rod is the author of an extensive catalogue of experiental training materials, available through Trainers' Library®, which includes teambuilding games like Murder at Glasstap Grange and Jack Fruggle's Treasure. He now works with a team of authors who continue to develop new material for Trainers' Library and Managers' Library.
In his spare time, Rod enjoys creative writing, reading, horse riding and photography.