Jamal Niaz business
England’s World Cup campaign was a massive surprise to the nation as they made it to the semi- finals for the first time since 1990. Much of the team consisted of players who are far from the era of superstars of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, with stand outs this time being the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire. We look at how diversity, unity and the confidence to challenge convention can lead to success on the pitch and in business.
Experiencing successes and failures is a key way to develop an agile and resilient team. Most of England’s squad have been willing to adapt from a young age while moving up the pyramid system where they have made mistakes that have been integral to their growth. A key example in the England national side is Jordan Pickford, who played regular football at the likes of Carlisle United and Bradford City before returning to his loan club, Sunderland and earning a move to Everton. This steady progress made the transition through the league systems seamless due to the experience and freedom to learn being available. Having an environment where young players/employees are free to find their feet and thrive rather than be in a restricted atmosphere will allow them to be more assertive and confident in their decision making through hands on experience.
On the other hand, the side also contained young talent that have been nurtured by some of Europe’s top sides from the youth developmental system such as Marcus Rashford and Trent Alexander Arnold. Both have only experienced football at its highest level at each stage of their career, meaning that they will most likely have been taught to deal with high pressure situations from a young age. This diversity of people from different backgrounds is essential for success in the work place also, as a team of individuals from the same background in terms of their professional experiences wouldn’t see as much innovation as a group of individuals who bring different life experiences to the table.
The decision in terms of who made the final squad for the World Cup is also a great example of how challenging conventions and taking risks are necessary to succeed in any career. Gareth Southgate threw away the idea of big name players making the list purely for their past success, instead rewarding players the opportunity for their stellar seasons alone. The inclusion of the likes of Ashley Young, Kieran Trippier and Ruben Loftus Cheek initially raised eyebrows for their inclusions due to their lack of high level international experience. All three men have performed brilliantly and have proven that it is wise to find comfort in the uncomfortable and to make decisions that may not please everybody but you feel are correct in the long run.
The closeness of the England squad throughout the World Cup has been abundantly clear. Their commitment to each other and working for the good of the team has been obvious both on and off the pitch and has paid dividends. It’s a stark contrast to previous years - Rio Ferdinand has previously stated that he found it difficult to be friends with England players in rival teams. This can also be directly linked to success for businesses as according to research from Gallup, employees that feel a great connection with members of their team are more likely to take positive actions that will benefit the business.
Even though England didn’t go all the way, there are many positives that we can take and build upon both on the pitch and in the board room.