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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Effective Bosses

'One of the defining, and most crucial, features of effective bosses is that they shield their followers -- whether from political manoeuvring or resource grabbing or just the innumerable distractions, indignities, time suckers, lame rules, and local idiots that go with organisational life -- and create the space for them to succeed.'

Robert I. Sutton, management professor at Stanford University


Athletes in Business

'It is interesting to me that so few athletes make a successful move into business. There are so many things about being an athlete that should prepare you for this world. Discipline, practice, outworking your opponent ... all of that is just as important to me today as it was in the NBA.'

Magic Johnson


The Dutch Soccer Team and Personal Development

Many people are holding back their personal development by ignoring an important step – accepting responsibility for their actions.

A great example of this has been the reaction of the Dutch to their loss in the World Cup final last Sunday. 

As a nation, they have a legacy of playing inspirational, total football. But someone took the decision that this would not work against Spain so they took a different approach. They were brutal, frequently on the wrong side of the line that separates aggressive from illegal. Because the referee stopped them, they have turned on him as the reason for their loss. The Dutch players, management team an press all blame the referee, Howard Webb, for their loss.  Yet an objective analysis showed that far from being at fault, Webb got well over 80% of his decisions right.

The only Dutchman to openly criticise his country’s approach is Johan Cruyff who in fact blamed Webb for being too lenient, pointing out that Holland could, and perhaps should, have been down to nine players by half time. As a side issue, if Webb had done that, people would have criticised him for ruining the final!

Instead of blaming others, the Dutch players and managers should take a long hard look at themselves and accept responsibility for their decision to play as they did, and for the consequences.

It is easy when we are under pressure to perform, to change winning tactics and to blame others if we fail. For the Dutch football team, there is no greater pressure than playing in a World Cup final. They could turn themselves into admirable role models if they were to take a deep breath, admit that they were wrong and accept responsibility for the consequences of losing.

Of course, equally dangerous are those people who accept responsibility for everything, not realising when it’s just not “their stuff”.

If you look at the word “responsibility”, you can break it down into” response” and “ability”: the ability to respond. If something isn’t working, someone involved has to have the ability to respond and to try something else. If instead, you do more of what isn’t working, you get more failure.

Shame nobody from the Dutch side realised that last Sunday!