Looking forward from the year gone by

08 January 2016

AS many of you know I like a good sporting analogy. Too many some might say; but scorpion, frog and all that . . .

Looking back it was evident that 2015 was quite a sporting year; the good, the bad and the ugly all in evidence, but what did we learn from those twin imposters triumph and disaster? How can we apply those lessons in the workplace in 2016?

Tyson Fury taught us that some things are really better left unsaid. You might have strongly held views, you might be absolutely convinced that they are correct, but sometimes you just gotta know when to keep these to yourself. The next time you feel like sharing some ‘controversial’ thoughts, count to 10 and think about your audience; a moment’s prudence can save opening your wallet at tribunal.

Mickey Harte taught us the value of staying true to your principles and surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals. If you believe in what you are doing then set your process in motion, add (and subtract) what you feel are the right elements and refine as you progress. Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi final didn’t try to adopt a vastly different style of football than they had been playing earlier in the year, but they were much more comfortable and slicker in execution and finally operating as a true collective. If everyone in your workplace knew their roles, their strengths and limitations; how effective could your business be?

Conversely Kieran McGeeney taught us that sometimes when things are just not working you need to bite the bullet and change. Donegal charged into a huge lead against Armagh in the Championship yet rather than change tactics Geezer’s men simply carried on defending in numbers rather than trying to attack and reduce the deficit. The result; a humiliation at home in the Athletic grounds. If the stewards at Croke Park can have a plan b, surely a county manager can have one too?

Jose Mourinho taught us the need to respect your colleagues. While not the sole reason behind his dismissal, Jose’s treatment of Eva Carneiro was widely perceived as unacceptable and many believe this cost him a lot of goodwill inside Chelsea, not to mention the outside world. Remember that everyone has a job to do in your organisation. Sometimes this might not fit with your agenda, but if you don’t like how or what they are doing then speak with them in private first, rather than publicly humiliating them.

Perhaps Jose could have taken a steer from Jurgen Klopp, who taught us that sometimes humour can be the best way to make your point. When he was asked about a debatable offside decision (that resulted in denying Liverpool an equalising goal against Newcastle) he said:

Because we weren’t good enough the linesman thought ‘you don’t make world-class goals if you play this s***'.

Did he make his point? Absolutely. Did he rant and rave? Nope. Did he get his point across about being on the end of a dodgy decision? Sure did. Ultimately did his stock rise because of how he got his message across? It went through the roof. So think about what you need to communicate and the best means of doing so. There is a time to shout, a time to whisper and a time to say things with a smile.

Conor McGregor taught us that preparation is everything. Cut through the hyperbole, the insults, the pantomime and you will find a fighter who left nothing to chance in his fight against Jose Aldo (one of the best pound for pound MMA fighters in the world let’s not forget). McGregor detailed in his post fight press conference how he had meticulously studied Aldo, physically and psychologically, and knew what buttons to press to get him sufficiently worked up to launch into the combination that McGregor was waiting for at the start of the fight. The result; a McGregor left hand that ended proceedings in less than a quarter of a minute. Job done. Making things look easy at work typically requires excellent preparation. Start early, be thorough and enjoy your success.

Across the bowl of bitter tears the Oakland Raiders taught us that sometimes success needs to be viewed as a long game. Another non-winning season, another year not in the play- offs, but conversely a year where fans are justifiably optimistic about 2016. Why? Because genuine foundations appear to have been built for the future. A potential franchise QB, their first 1000 yard receiver in 11 years, a running back in contention for being the 2015 AFC leading rusher and a genuine star on defence - all pieces put together in the last 3 drafts.

Sometimes when a work is in progress you need to analyse the constituent parts rather than the end product. Think of the bigger picture and extrapolate the graph out rather than simply taking the current position. Think about what the little extra is that that will translate individual success into team glory.

So hopefully some food for thought to digest before returning back to the grindstone. And remember; put into action what you have decided to do, don’t just think about it. As the legendary Marshawn Lynch said: "I ain’t never seen no talking winning nothing."

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