Applying lessons learned from World Cup soccer

The world has turned its attention to Brazil the past few weeks. It is World Cup time again – a competition that returns every four years. I don’t know about you but my knowledge of futbol, or soccer as it is usually referred to in the US, is limited. Our younger son played as a boy, but that was over twenty-five years ago and I don’t really remember most of the rules.

One of the things I had to check with the first game I watched this year was how long a game is. I was surprised to find that they play for 45 minutes straight with no time outs, then a 15 minute halftime followed by an additional 45 minutes of play and usually a few additional minutes tacked on for various delays earlier in the game.

The team members in conjunction with their coach create a strategy for each game. They analyze their next opponent and plan the best approach. The US coach has repeatedly said that the team will approach one game at a time and not worry about the next opponent until the future becomes the present.

This is the approach we should take to our businesses and our writing. Work full out, take a brief break, then work full out again.

Be aware of future goals while focusing on the immediate goal and letting the future take care of itself.

The national soccer team members are prepared to work together fluidly while having the ability to ‘turn on a dime’ to change the direction of play when necessary.

  • Have you shared your plans and strategy with your team members?
  • Have you worked with your team members so they can respond to quick changes?
  • The more aware your team members are of your plans, the more responsive they can be.


The United States team played each game as it came up, playing fullout all the way. Even though they didn’t make it to the final game (lost their third game) they were fully engaged to the end. In fact, they lost that game in overtime with both teams scoring their first point in overtime. Soccer has no timeouts for catching your breath or bringing in a substitute. The officials actually add time to the end of the game called stoppage time if they think it is needed.

  • Do you play fullout? Do you pick yourself up when you stumble and continue to do the things you know you need to do to be successful.
  • Do you add extra time at the end of a project to make up for unanticipated interruptions along the way?


And soccer has a player who spends most of his time in the back of the field, out of most of the action – the goalie. In all of the World Cup games the US goalie was a key player when the other team was able to get the ball past the defense. His role was to keep ‘mistakes’ on the part of the other players from costing the team the game.

  • Do you have a ‘goalie’ on your team? Someone whose primary role is to keep things from slipping through the cracks? I can be your goalie on special projects. Just give me a call at 843-593-0045 or schedule an appointment thru this link.

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