One Game Changes Everything


With only a couple of days before the beginning of the World Cup, a new campaign from ESPN [hat tip Fubitz] has murals with the slogan "one game changes everything". Leaving out Brazil was a big faux-pas, apparently, as was the atrocious design — this is what I could pick up from the comments in the post.

I was fortunate enough to be in Italy during the best part of the last Wold Cup in 2006. In case you forgot, Italy won, playing Germany in the semi-finals, and France in the finals. My home town as every town and city was filled with Italian flags.

The only time Italian flags come out that I can recall is during the World Cup.

I still remember the victory opposite Germany in 1982. I was working at the shore, and some of my favorite players were part of the National Team. There were plenty of German tourists in peril around fountains and the sea after Italy won. What a game! What pranks!

As a long time soccer player (we call it futbol), to me the game is just one of the best around — where footwork is the art of improvisation, and constant movement and team work are key. Bill Lyon had me almost in tears from laughing as I was reading his column on soccer's subtleties Sunday. Did you get to the part where he writes about men with thighs like locomotive pistons, yet?

In sports, one game changes everything. It has been proven that it's better to come in third, win a bronze medal, than come in second — second means you were almost first. Does one game change everything in business, in marketing? Let's broaden the view a bit more — what about life?

Sure, we were taught that competition in business is everything, that in one CEO's exact words, "ripping the kidneys off your competitors" was a worthy goal. I cannot help but think that's a very old school view of the world — one influenced by the scarcity mindset.

One that doesn't take into account the love of the craft for a really good product or service that becomes something worth talking about. One that forgets the knowledge economy, the very one that engages the mavens in social networks to spread the word for and with you.

Because it's too focused on ripping kidneys out.

Action and its enemy

My friend Peter in the comment to a recent post on getting ideas done, said that the enemy of action is not inaction — it's poor judgment. I agree. Lisa Barone reminds us that on the Web there are real competitors we may not consider, and imaginary ones we let go by unchallenged.

If you look at those people you admire in business — and in social media — they tend to move fast to you, because they've observed the situation and landscape, aligned the necessary resources behind their efforts, and planned ahead. They succeed through good judgment, which becomes experience over time.

Critical thought and mindfulness are part of that — and so are preparation, team work, and testing. Who likes to test things? The results are not guaranteed, as they aren't when playing a high stakes game. The opportunities to get better are right in the game, playing, practicing, trying new things.

We're in love with speed, sometimes at the detriment of good judgment.

To keep with the soccer analogy I started with, speed is not my focus, although I'm a pretty good and creative sprinter in the field. Resilience and consistency are. As a long distance runner, I know that pace is my friend and it allows me to take a broader and longer view of things, and to finish.

Know your competitors. Learn to know yourself even better, and to exercise good judgment. To me this is the one game that changes everything.

What about you? What's your thing? What's your game that changes everything?

© 2010 Valeria
. All rights reserved.

0 responses to “One Game Changes Everything”

  1. Simon had a fantastic presentation at TED. I wrote about his talk. I have also written some of the things he talks about in the past, before seeing his talk. Maybe the product of a classic education?

  2. Re: Know your competitors.
    “Lippi is tactically quite a chameleon, adjusting his formation to stiletto opponents’ weakest areas.”
    Best of luck out there!

  3. How exciting 2006 was for Italy sure. Only after cheating against Australia! Lucky I am over it and don’t need any more therapy. Know your competitors will use every advantage against your naivety the higher you go up the scale.

  4. Hmmm .. the drama of football. Guess like business, have to keep moving forward .. no matter what has occurred before! Persistence and resilience are key! 🙂

  5. @Stephen – I’ve seen my fair share of cheating in all sorts of situations. And I’m not talking soccer games. I think we’re on the same page there.
    @Anne – such a hard game. If you ever played in a regular field, you know the physical conditioning you need to have just to stay in the game.

  6. Olá Valeria, como está hoje? 😉
    I’ve been following your work for a long time now, and it had never occurred to me that you could possibly have even the slightest interest in Calcio – even though I’m well aware that you’re Italian. How could I not see that?
    My best wishes to you and the azzurri on this Copa do Mundo. As a brazilian myself, I know how much it means for fans like us.

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