From the locker room to the board room, there is growing awareness about the importance of resiliency, or grit, to top performance. While reality TV shows perpetuate the myth of an overnight success, leaders recognize that greatness only happens when talent intersects practice work ethic. But we’re not talking about antiquated notions of mental toughness. This is about mental skills and the willingness to accept vulnerability. Performance is not predicated upon the absence of anxiety, it is ownership and vulnerability that builds strength and resiliency.
Football is a sport where individual creativity supports collective success. A game which closely resembles life - continuously changing, constant decision making, unpredictable outcomes and no timeouts. Football is about communication, both verbal and non verbal, and tactics are just tools to improve communication among players. While the passing technique of Modric or the finishing ability of Messi is lauded, their execution, their technique is a function of communication and decision making. They are not trick shot artists or circus performers, their talent is performing in service to the team. Where football teams use a formation as a heuristic to make teammates more predictable, corporate leaders use strategy and planning to help employees and partners contribute more effectively. The best coaches are servant leaders, putting the growth and well being of their players first. They get to know them as people, for whom one part of their identity is as a football player. By understanding them as a whole person, coaches help create an environment where players motivate themselves.