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Get REAL: Get TOGETHER (or: Why no one can whistle a symphony alone?)

4 min read
June 30, 2022

In the month from mid-June to mid-July, the ones who managed to survive the day without hearing, seeing or reading the word “football”, are either not a permanent residents of this planet or have long ago decided to leave the civilization and become a monk-hermit-trappist.

As much as we would like to be original (or, in this case, eccentric) – we can hardly escape from the “most important secondary thing in the world”.

So, football is the trigger for this text. Football as a joint effort, a teamwork, a common desire to achieve a goal and as a great joy when that goal is reached. People who work with heart and work together will win – whether it is the complicated defense of the opposing team in football or the traps of the modern business world.

In an interesting way, successful football teams are the epitome of REAL approach:

•    If you are losing 2:0 in the first half, and end the game with 3:2 – what better example of resilience one need? Ability to face the adversity, defeat, disappointment, pick up the pieces and try and try again, until the goal is reached.

•    We all witnessed the drama with the young Danish player Christian Eriksen who collapsed during the game and had to be resuscitated. His playmates, together with the members of the opposite team (Finland) formed a living wall to protect him from the crowd of onlookers while he received lifesaving treatment. While he was being taken to hospital, barely conscious, the Finnish supporters on the stadium chanted “Christian”, while the Danish replied in unison “Eriksen”. Empathy at its finest moment.

•    Agility is “the name of the game”. In football as it is in the business. If one strategy does not work, try another. Take the chance. Persevere. Make it happen. Regroup. Adapt. Adjust. Remember that without agility, resilience will slowly die down due to procrastination.

•    Arguably, football players are one of the best paid athletes on the planet. Most of us ordinary people cannot fathom the amounts of money they earn for being able to run for 90 minutes and, with a lot of skill and just a bit of luck, score a goal. They are paid by their clubs, sponsors, for endorsements etc. However, championships like EURO and Mundial are showing what love  for what you do really means for them. “Leaving their hearts on the field” is what most of them do and supporters and fans know how to reward the effort and dedication that comes from the pure love for the game.

At this EURO, we can see REAL concept in action (please note that we are not referring to the famous club of the same name! In fact, quite the opposite.) by observing the role of individuals in the team. The theory is that the strength of a team is in each individual member, and the strength of each individual is the team. Looking at the great individual stars of individual teams, we can’t help but remember the saying of US President Truman, who said that “it’s amazing what you can achieve if you don’t care who takes the credit for it.” Individuals in teams (in sports as well as in the business world) tend to fight for personal fame, personal prestige and position. The way they relate to frustration, defeat or the game itself says that it is easier to get quality players than to force them to play well. Talents may win games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.

With no intentions of discussing what kind of football is played, which school of football is better, whether the attitude towards the game has changed – because it is not the reason for this text – we witnessed another important thing: that all winning teams are oriented towards a common goal. It gives them the necessary courage, opens their eyes and nothing can deter them from realizing that intention. They are not afraid of world champions, spoiled big stars, hostile audiences … They don’t care if they are sworn enemies in club competitions. The winning team has a sense of belonging – we see them kissing the coat of arms on the jersey, hugging while singing the national anthem, we see them sharing the joy of the goal with teammates and fans. In these teams, it is quite obvious that the level of understanding and cooperation has been achieved where each individual is confident enough in himself and his contribution to be able to accept and encourage the skills of others. We still remember the previous EURO (2016) and the wonder of Icelandic national team: without big sounding names in its ranks, with its joint effort, understanding, enthusiasm, courage and heart, they showed how it is possible to cope with even the most difficult challenges.

By incorporating REAL way of thinking and behaving, we are strongly promoting individual contribution to team efforts. It is what makes a team thrive, a company thrive, a society thrive, and a civilization thrive.

And that is why no one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.


Author: Svetlana Mirković Borčić, People and Culture Manager

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