Posted by: Suresh Sundarababu | July 15, 2014

Gooooooooaaaaalllll……!! 4 steps to world domination!


One of the world’s biggest sporting events, if not the biggest, that drives billions of fans into a frenzy just ended. There is not another event that connects fans like fútbol and if you are not a fan you won’t get it. You can say one phrase like “The Hand of God” and every fan will know that refers to the infamous 1986 semifinal game between Argentina and England and can talk for hours about it (

And on Sunday Germany stood at the top and was crowned the world champions (the real world champs, not the pseudo “world” championships we have here in the US!). And a well-deserved one at that. Over three decades they have been a pillar of consistency and sustained dominance. During that period they have been champions twice, placed second thrice and third place twice. Only in two out of nine world cups during that period did they not make it to the top 4! And by any measure that is an incredible achievement!

Here are 4 things that we can learn from Germany to be as dominant in our fields as they have been in fútbol

  1. Team: Only the excellent made the cut and to be on the field you had to be better than just excellent! Consider this, the guy who scored the winning goal in the finals was a substitute!! Your past performance did not matter and everyone had a specific role to play. You earned it and you sweated it to be on the team. While the other countries had cool nicknames like “Super Eagles” or “The Dragons” or “The three lions”, Germany’s nickname simply is “NationalMannschaft” meaning “The National Team” Learning: Surround yourself with uncompromising excellence that can play together as a team.
  2. Culture: The team was a machine. Everyone, from the coach to the trainers to the players, all had a role to play and a value system to follow. And it has resulted in style of execution has been perfected over decades and has consistently demonstrated winning results. It is not for everyone, but if you don’t subscribe to it you were not part of it! Learning: Setup a winning culture and stay true to it.
  3. Leadership: Well this is the most obvious of course. Coach Joachim Loew and Captain Phillip Lahm led this team. If you saw Yogi Loew in the sideline during the game, you saw a pillar of calmness that his players drew from. And you saw Captain Lahm lead from the front as he was outstanding in defense and made repeated well-judged offensive runs from his fullback position. When you have selected a team of excellence, you better have good leaders like Loew and Lahm to lead. Otherwise they will fall apart. Learning: Visible and calm leadership is even more critical when you have surrounded yourself with excellence.
  4. Preparation: Germans of course are known for their meticulousness. They had a game plan. They practiced it, perfected it and executed it. You rarely saw a German player out of position or playing a role they are not supposed to. They did not leave anything to chance. They even custom built their own training facility, Campo Bahia, in a remote village in Brasil and that proved to be an advantage! ( Learning: Vision and talent alone are not enough. Strategy and being well prepared to execute the vision is equally important.

Nothing stated above is rocket science or anything that one has not heard repeated again and again. It is just another example of how certain cliché’s are important and produce sustained excellence over multiple decades. And it is time that as leaders we stop rolling our eyes over these cliché’s and start putting some serious soul into them for our organizations to become dominant!

I bet the Germans today don’t mind that they are associated with these cliché’s!!


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