It's Coming Home...
Let me make it clear from the start of this blog I know nothing about football, have no interest in it and haven't been following the World Cup. However it has been impossible to avoid hearing about it everywhere you go: on the radio, the TV, on the street, in the coffee shop, as is the case every 4 years. I have been laughing about it with Fit with Frank (a BIG football fan!) who trains me and during our sessions over the last few weeks we've been having some banter about it and my thoughts. What has struck me this year is that I don't know any of the players' names, no Beckham or Rooney for example (I have learnt, by osmosis that Harry Kane is the Captain and Gareth Southgate is the coach) and obviously the team have done much better than in previous World Cups. 

When Frank asked me my view on why I thought the team was doing so well,  I explained that for me, looking in from the outside, because I didn't know any names it meant the players were actually playing as a cohesive team rather than a lot of talented individuals - no big egos, no one player doing their best to stand out from their colleagues, no one player trying to prove something to the world and admittedly no one or two players having huge expectations put on them to perform. The team are young and their independent egos haven't become bigger than them (yet) fuelled by the hype that surrounds them. Gareth Southgate has created a cohesive team who understand that to win you cannot rely on 1 or 2 players but that everyone is equal on the pitch or on the benches and the strength of the team lies in that collective goal (excuse the pun!). 

When the same approach is created within a team in the workplace everyone benefits and reaps the rewards. The manager (coach) is only as good as their direct reports (players) and when one employee (which can be the manager!) acts as if, or believes, they are better than the other members of their team then problems start to arise, communication suffers,  the team start to complain or moan, blame starts to feature and the 'why should I help them?' culture grows, pulling a team apart rather than getting 'the task in hand' completed successfully. 

When a group of people act as a team and succeed then everyone is a winner, everyone shares in the glory because the team have won. Think Ryder Cup in golf: the best players from Europe and the USA come together as 2 teams. Who wins? Look at the strength of the 'team mindset' created by the Captains at the start of the tournament and you'll find the answer.  

The whole of this England team are winners because they will be remembered for getting us to the 2018 semi-finals, long after the big names who didn't get us this far in previous years have been forgotten. Already the talk of how good this 'young team' can be in 2 years and win the European Cup and then the 2022 World Cup and "It's Coming Home' then has started. Although not a football fan, I would love to see them win a World Cup, I do remember watching the 1966 final and another win in my lifetime would be fantastic. My concern is that in the next 2 to 4 years this young, fresh team will grow older, their careers will take off and their egos grow in size, as will their salaries and hype surrounding them, so that they forget what it is like to play as a team that shines rather than as a group of individuals who only want themselves to shine on the world stage. The big question is: Who will ensure that they keep the 'team' rather than 'individual' mindset alive? (Well, OK I guess I could find the time...) :-) 
"Come on England!" 
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