Execution Mindset Team effectiveness

It was written in the tea leaves

It’s one of those situations where you can try to motivate everyone as much as you can, but in the end, it’s that last piece of effort, determination, and focus that makes the difference.

It’s Easter Monday and a travel day for me. In the morning, a four-hour drive from my in-law’s home and a two-leg flight to Ljubljana in the evening.

A lot of time to reflect on some past events. One of them was the cup final my team lost yesterday evening.

Good game, good fight, bad outcome.

But not unexpected, and that’s what I’d like to discuss in this insight.

Sometimes you can see things coming. And this loss was one of them. It was written in the tea leaves (or in the stars. I’m not sure about this, but I like tea leaves more).

Too many things have happened, and the team has lost focus.

It’s one of those situations where you can try to motivate everyone as much as you can, but in the end, it’s that last piece of effort, determination, and focus that makes the difference.

Plus, the other team wanted it more.

They didn’t play better; they just wanted to beat my team because they had lost the last few matches.

Most people who don’t cheer for my team hate them for many reasons. Unfortunately, they play the best offensive football and entertain the audience.

That’s why I like them because football is supposed to be entertaining and played for the audience.

So the team was not ready to perform at 100%:
  • They had issues of misconduct in the organization which had to be addressed.
  • They had a goalkeeper who was penalized for abuse of medication.
  • The coach is leaving for a better team after the season.
  • Some of the older players are not performing anymore at the level they once did.
  • Some of the younger talented players are likely to leave after the season.
  • They made mistakes with the administration of players.
  • They had many years of success and got a little overconfident (or arrogant). Humility left the building a long time ago.

Imagine all or some of these things would similarly happen to your team.

What would you do? Would you let this happen? How would you intervene?

The problem with these types of situations is because of the gradual negative progression.

These events don’t happen all at the same time. Individually, they’re not considered devastating, but it is a big problem when you add them all up over time.

Remember Ernest Hemingway:

“Gradually, then suddenly.”

The solution to these gradual declines is to address each individual event head-on.

Each case is a possibility of a culture in decline and an opportunity to address the issue and build something more robust.

That never happened, and that’s because the organization’s leaders are seasoned former football players but have no clue how to manage culture.

Lucky for them, they’re not alone.

I like my team because they will forever advocate attractive football, which matters to me.

But I don’t like the culture of the organization.

I believe a little humility is in order and the awareness that after seven years of prosperity, seven years of darkness may be around the corner.

The season lasts for a few more weeks. There’s one more title to play for, and my team is in the lead to win it.

But if you follow my story, you understand that I’m not optimistic.

It’s the little things that will make the difference, and I don’t think those little things are anywhere in sight.

Your turn: what signals are you not seeing or even ignoring?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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