Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup finals in 60 years, Germany was knocked out at the group stages – the curse of immediate World Cup winners if you are partial to football superstition, Croatia topped their group. By now, nothing should surprise us in the ongoing 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Speaking of which, our last African brothers standing, Senegal, was bundled out at the group stages despite tying with Japan which qualified to advance to the next stage of the tournament.
Essentially, the end of the group qualifiers is a sort of a halfway mark – with a day’s break in between as we move to the round of 16. Perhaps, the most poignant lesson to be had as we reflect on the qualifiers and the next stage is this: fair play. The Senegalese team, staff and coaches did everything right. Almost. The team gave their all, we had memes of ‘Rastaman never dies’ or its variations courtesy of their coach, their fans cleaned after themselves and not just as a PR gimmick, still, in the end, the team had more fouls than Japan and they were thus knocked out on a technicality.
Where I am going with this? That do you, as an individual or as an organisation, do fair play in your interactions with others? In the end, it may all boil down to this; that life-changing opportunity or contract. That, oftentimes, you need to catch a breather amidst the chaos and pressure that is your varied projects, including life, work and relationships, to just make sense of it all. This provides you with an opportune time to reflect, develop a contingency plan, cut loose or just accept that things are beyond your control and you only need to ride out whatever is stressing you.
For instance, ever got stuck in a rut concerning a publication you were doing? Perhaps writer’s block on your end, an uncooperative client, broken down machinery at the printers and meanwhile, the deadline for the book looms large, and should you miss it, a huge loss. Do you keep plodding on in the muck, and with each stop forward, sinking deeper or do you change course?
Thinking out loud, changing course might be the better prospect. This might entail having a sit down with the client to commit them to come through on their end as pertains content, sourcing for other printers, hiring a professional photographer to develop the imagery for the publication, and so on. The end result? The cogs start moving and the publication is out on time. Or as my mama once told me, ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away.
And so it is with life. Sometimes things are not working out for you – real or perceived. Dreams remain that, just dreams, goals are unmet and you are blurred in confusion. Then, it is time to ‘call yourself to a small meeting with yourself’ – a Kenyan way to state that you need to stop and take stock of everything. Maybe, talk to a few trusted people, a life coach, that kind of thing.
Back to the World Cup, I am sure that some of the teams that struggled through to the round of 16 will be much stronger moving forward. Reason? Their coaches have had time to reflect and change a thing or two about their tactics mid-course. An apt lesson to leaders that a crisis may call for quick adaptation to enable the organisations they lead survive and emerge stronger.