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Top 10 management lessons from Euro 2016
After one crazy month of highs and lows, Euro 2016 is over and Portugal have been crowned champions. We look back at the past month and see what the world of business can learn from the winning and losing teams.
Champions Portugal started with three straight draws in the group stages, before sparking to life in the knock-out rounds with wins over Croatia (in extra-time), Poland (on penalties) and Wales. Vastly experienced coach Fernando Santos not only made Portugal — unbeaten in competitive games since 2014 — extremely hard to beat but he's also mastered the art of the “slow burn”.
Management lesson: Winning in business is a long, hard and winding road and the best leaders know how to pace their team to peak at the right time.
No Karim Benzema? No problem. France coach Didier Deschamps axed the highly controversial star striker from his squad before Euro 2016 to avoid splitting the dressing room. Playing as one united team and with the entire nation behind them, France stormed all the way to the final.
Management lesson: It takes one bad move to sow disharmony within a talented team. Hire and recruit wisely.
Germany coach Joachim Leow quickly addressed his strange “trouser antics”, apologised for it to the media and said he would behave better. What could easily have ended up distracting him and his team was quickly defused as Germany regained its focus as they made the semi-finals.
Management lesson: No one gets it right all the time. If a mistake's been made, address it, apologise and learn from it so the team can move on.
Wales' magical run to the semi-finals was no fluke. Wales mastered technology and data to gain that 1% advantage that so often defines success and failure in elite sport. Training sessions were optimised based on data taken from daily saliva and urine tests, while each opponent's formations and movements are digitally dissected, analysed and studied.
Management lesson: Knowing how to use data analytics and technology to gain that edge over your competition is key to winning.
How did a country with no professional football league, and a population of just 330,000 become one of the surprise teams of Euro 2016? When ex-Sweden coach Lars Lagerback arrived in 2011, he demanded full professionalism not just from his players but in every aspect of training, from the treatment room, to the canteen, to the airports. His message was clear: Wanna be a champ? Start acting like one.
Management lesson: By hiring the right people to fit into your team and having a clearly defined objective, a winning culture can be instilled.
Striker Graziano Pelle isn't exactly a household name but he and his Italy colleagues still managed to send reigning Euro champs Spain out in the knock-out stages. Devoid of any real star quality, Italy still managed to reach the quarter-finals by relying on work rate, organisation and team spirit.
Management lesson: A united team that's more than the sum of their individual parts can upset the competition.
Coach Roy Hodgson came into the knockout clash against Iceland not knowing who his best XI were. To top it off, he failed to do his homework, spending the eve of their round-of-16 clash with Iceland sight-seeing around Paris. The result? A disjointed performance where England's star-studded side were repeatedly cut open, outmuscled and outplayed.
Management lesson: Never underestimate your competitor.
Belgium entered Euro 2016 as top seeds and were backed to go all the way. Despite boasting star quality in every position, the Belgians flattered to deceive — again. Tactically naive, coach Marc Wilmots was unable to turn a collection of star names into a cohesive unit capable of living up to their “favourites” tag.
Management lesson: A talented team is only as good as its leader. Talent without proper guidance or direction is wasted.
With a record of three games, three losses and zero goals scored, Ukraine's performance at Euro 2016 was too predictable, one-dimensional and short of ideas. Coach Mykhaylo Fomenko has never played or coached outside of the Ukraine or the former Soviet Union and his side never looked like they could impose their game on their opponents.
Management lesson: Sometimes, fresh ideas or a fresh pair of eyes are needed when something in your team isn't working.
With Russian sport already reeling from a series of doping scandals, the last thing the country needed was images of its unruly “ultras” rioting with rival fans beamed live around the world. At one point, their behaviour threatened to get Russia expelled from Euro 2016. With one draw and two defeats, Russia crashed out in the group stages but by then, the damage had been done.
Management lesson: Consider your brand's image and reputation — are external factors tarnishing your team's achievements?