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From World Cup Soccer to World Class Leadership—Part One


Thu Jun 25 2015

From World Cup Soccer to World Class Leadership—Part One

In my book, The Collaborator—Discover Soccer as a Metaphor for Global Business Leadership, I describe the global business model using two key words: interdependent and collaboration. For me, these two words are embedded in the model and represent two sides of the teamwork coin.

I view interdependent more as a state of awareness or mindset, based on your underlying assumptions about what it takes to succeed in the global game of business (or soccer). It may translate into your commitment to being a team player, where mutual dependence upon your teammates is required to play the game.


Collaboration, on the other hand, relates to your actions, including behaviors. It’s about having the skills or competence to participate—and succeed—on a self-directed team, operating in real time, charged with performing work under changing conditions.

To be successful in the global game of business (and soccer), you have to be highly committed and highly competent. There are no trade-offs because commitment is the key factor in driving competence.

The game of soccer goes a long way in helping people understand the interdependent nature of the team experience, with collaboration being the key operating behavior. In my book, I describe it as the best example in sports. Why? Anybody can play soccer, and thus can gain the experience that can be transferred from the soccer field to the global business field.

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