3 lessons your business can learn from the World Cup: And no, it’s not just about teamwork…

Designer and apprentice, Connor Pink, explains how you can take lessons from the World Cup and turn them into business advantages…

Expectations vs Reality

One of the biggest talking points in the World Cup 2018 is the guild between expectations put on teams and the reality of their performances. Two of the most notable examples of this so far are Germany and Argentina. Both were, in many people books, favourites to win the tournament. After all, Germany were the holders and had a strong squad while Argentina have the attacking brilliance of Messi, Aguero, Dybala and many more. But both struggled in the group stage and Germany are out. Argentina had to pull it out of the bag in the final game, with rumours that their coach is bound to be sacked after the competition.

A Section of Argentina’s World Cup 2018 squad

Section of Argentina’s squad

Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels in Germany’s World Cup 2018 home kit

Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels in Germany’s home kit

Now you may be thinking, what does this have to do with my business? Good question! In any business — including our own —you can’t set your expectations too high without setting yourself up to fail like Germany this year or England’s so-called ‘golden generation’ in past World Cups.


On the other hand, you don’t want to set your too low or other people involved — especially clients — will think you don’t believe in yourself. Not only that but you may lose potential investors as they may think there isn’t a good enough chance of a return or prospects who may be hesitant signing a contract with you. Additionally, there isn’t much satisfaction in achieving goals that aren’t realistic.


At The Means, we have had this satisfaction of setting goals and beating them, one of which is securing clients we can be proud to work with. We set a goal for new clients that we wanted in a particular time frame and we managed to beat it. Personally, I have set goals for my apprenticeship, for example, wanting a particular score in an exam or learning a new skill. Yes, I haven’t always hit them but it’s been really satisfying when I have.

Making the most of teamwork

Another major lesson that can be taken from the World Cup 2018 is the use of teamwork to achieve or even over-achieve. Two of the biggest examples in this tournament alone have been the host nation Russia and the previous winners Germany, Russia for all the right reasons and Germany for all the wrong ones.


Russia have surprised many people around the world, coming into the tournament as one of the lowest ranked teams competing. They managed to beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 and continued in good form through the group only losing to Uruguay. They used their teamwork to overcome the skill of one man particular— Mo Salah— who Egypt had hoped would pull their team through. The problem was he wasn’t fit for the first game and went missing in the second. The rest of the team just weren’t working well enough together to overcome their opponents.


Russia’s line-up in a recent friendly before World Cup 2018

Russia’s line-up in a recent friendly

Mo Salah celebrating a goal

Mo Salah, the main man for Egypt

Germany’s match against Mexico highlighted two vastly different approaches. Germany thought they were in control, but were just a bunch of individuals trying to attack whenever they could. Mexico worked as a team, soaked up pressure, counterattacked and exploited the spaces Germany left.

Mexico’s line-up in a recent World Cup 2018 game

Mexico’s line-up in a recent World Cup game

Some Germany players gathering for a free kick

Germany didn’t play like a team during Russia 2018

Utilising teamwork to achieve more than you thought was possible applies to any successful business out there. For us, when someone is struggling to come up with a creative idea for a project, we work as a team to create a solution — through brainstorming — or simply provide support with a break or a cup of tea. We’ve also learned new strategies to cope with stress thanks to our clients at The Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing, which we’ll cover in an upcoming blog.


The final point is the benefit of training: Every footballer does it but even in business it’s important not to see training as something you do for the sake of it. You have to determine what kind of training will be most effective.


Like a football team, you need to organise a range of training exercises: Ones that reinforce your strengths, ones that improve your strengths and ones that reduce your weaknesses. A good football example is set pieces: If your opponent has a short team and you have some decent height then you should put extra training into this area, as it could be a really good method to scoring. But that can’t come at the expense of continuing to train around formation, your plans for attacking, defensive structure and other aspects like fitness.


The same can be said about business: Improve on what you’re good at but don’t neglect other people’s weaknesses. For example, we produce a lot of blogging content for clients but realise that our experience in journalism and video production can give us an advantage over agencies that just have content writers. We’ll also work with freelancers in area’s where our team can be strengthened.


Training is especially important to The Means when it comes to my apprenticeship. I am learning skills in areas that I would have previously considered weaknesses and improving every day.


And while The Means is more like Iceland or Nigeria than Brazil or Spain right now, we take this lesson from tournaments like the World Cup: A small team that works together, focuses on improving its skills and understands its opponents can score a surprising amount of goals.


If you’ve got a project that you want to get over the line or goals that remain unscored, contact us today for a free, no obligation chat about how we can help — hello@themeans.rocks