Germany stands atop the game of football (or futbol or even soccer, depending on your country of origin) as the 2014 World Cup Champions. This isn’t a shock as they’ve been here before – three times, in fact – making this their fourth World Cup. This makes them a powerhouse in their sport, but it was how they managed to get to World Cup Championship No. 4 that makes this impressive.
They already have three championships and are home to the Bundesliga, one of the top four leagues in the world, up there with the Premiership, Serie A, and La Liga. But still they changed their system. Exactly when this change started varies, with some reports saying it began in 2000 following a disappointing showing in the EUROS, while others point to the 2002 World Cup, but that doesn’t matter. What doesn’t vary is the report on what they did.
They made a plan.
They developed a national youth soccer program, they identified top youth talent, increased funding for high school programs, attached the best players to professional club teams, and then all that remained was to win the World Cup. Mind you, they were not doing these things prior when they won their previous three championships.
This is an example of the fact that setting a hard and specific goal is better than setting an easy one. For an arguable world power in the sport, doing what they did in a way that they had never done before, was extraordinary.
In fact, the best is yet to come for Germany, as many of their players on the championship team were only able to take part in the later stages of the emphasis on youth development and the investment in high school programs. The next generation of German players will have felt the full impact of the plan since they started playing the game.
As we now know, it paid off, but it’s something we can all learn from and practice in our own jobs and lives.
The most fascinating thing about this, to me, is that most scenarios where a goal is trying to be repeated are usually attempted with a I-made-it-there-once-doing-it-this-way-so-I-will-continue-to-do-it-this-way-until-I-get-there-again attitude.
I understand that that’s a very large generalization and that tweaks are made based on changes in environment, but Germany didn’t tweak anything. They didn’t take a look around and decide to change some of what they were doing. They changed EVERYTHING. They created a completely new plan, something vastly different from what they had been doing before, and went for it.
Whether it’s dieting, financial planning, building business or anything else, if it’s working well, good for you. If, however, you’re seeing results and they aren’t quite what you’re looking for, maybe it’s time for a change.
Maybe you’re not attempting to win the World Cup, but it may be just as important to you as the World Cup is to football-, futbol-, or soccer-playing nations.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for a change.