Congratulations to France, Allez les bleus, they are now the World Cup champions, having beaten Croatia 4-2 in an excellent final last Sunday. Now that we know the winners, what have they taught us? There is a surprising amount a small venture could take from the beautiful game’s biggest stage of all.
So what can a small business learn from the new champions? Let's take a look:
What made this French team so formidable was their ability to adapt to different situations posed in each match. At times they played full throttle, as witnessed against Argentina. But in other instances, they were more conservative and defensive. They even received criticism for their occasional cynical style from their own national press!
But for a small business, the lesson is obvious: you need to be flexible in order to cope with different situations. Whether it’s dealing with cash flow; expanding your team or looking for a great supplier, part and parcel of being a small business is dealing with many different issues and approaching them all differently.
It's fair to say that France as a nation have had a difficult time over the last few years. Numerous terror attacks, and an increase in racial tension, have created a complex political and social climate. And the footballers themselves were a part of the tragedy. On that horrible night of the 13th November 2015, one of the blasts could be heard outside the Stade de France, which resulted in France’s game being stopped. How appropriate that the team would come back from this traumatic event and win the cup.
This World Cup win has created fantastic positivity in what has been a testing period. Adversity is one of those things which can give you two choices: you can either pull through it or be overwhelmed by it. The French team should act as inspiration for anyone who has suffered on hard times for any reason.
Having a great team ethic is fundamental to success and France had this in abundance. But they also had a talent pool which was unrivaled and their biggest players stepped up at this tournament. Paul Pogba was majestic in midfield, dictating the play, while Raphael Varane in defence was a ‘rock’. But it was upfront where France were blessed to have teenager Kylian Mbappe, a revelation who also scored in the final. Without having this level of talent, France would not be world champions, because it was their undoubted quality that shone through, especially in the final when Croatia were at times dictating the game.
Talent needs to be nurtured because this can be the difference maker in any business. Perhaps you have an employee who works on the till who's also a ‘whizz’ with social media? That metaphorical light bulb should be burning brightly. Why not ask this person to create a social media page for your business and allow them to manage it as well. This is just one scenario and there are countless others. But if someone has a special talent, that could help your business, you’d be ‘barmy’ not to utilise it. You might have your own Kylian Mbappe of marketing on your hands - who knows.
A similar theme has reemerged for France in this World Cup: diversity. 20 years ago, France’s first World Cup was won by a team mostly comprised of naturalised citizens like Zidane, Vieira and Henry. The class of 2018 has a similar diverse makeup, with many players hailing from former French colonies in North and Central Africa. Midfielder Blaise Matuidi suggested that this was a big factor in helping the team triumph, "The diversity of the squad is in the image of this beautiful country that is France".
Diversity is a normal part of life now. Many businesses of all sizes will likely have staff who are from overseas. But it’s a great opportunity to learn about other cultures and gain an appreciation of people with different experiences to you.
It was a superb World Cup which we thoroughly enjoyed. For more fun and interesting stories, take a look at all of our blogs.