Many have commented on the skill and brilliance of the German football team, the 2014 World Cup Winners. Fewer have remarked on their similarity to a well-run Trustee Board, as we will attempt to here.
Here are 10 qualities that both the German team and good Trustee Boards share:
1- A good leader. In the case of Boards, the Chair. For the team, their Captain, Phillip Lahm. He led by example and was in most people’s team of the tournament, he is probably the most complete full back in the world, equally adept at attacking and defending.
2- A good relationship with the staff team. It was clear that the Germans had a healthy respect for their manager, the extremely cool customer Joachim Löw.
3- An emphasis on the team rather than individuals. While a number of German players gave star performances at the World Cup, they achieved their dominance by being a brilliant team rather than brilliant individuals. Argentina, the other finalists, were too dependent on their star player Messi.
4- A blend of youth and experience. The Germans not only chose a number of young players in their squad, but they have a policy that if you are good enough you are ready.
5- An unbending commitment to quality. The defining moment in the semi-final that showed the German team’s attitude was their furious reaction to the one goal scored against them when they were already seven goals up against the hosts.
6- A connection with the grassroots. German football is world-famous as having family friendly matches, being relatively cheap, (especially when compared with the British Premiership) and being fan owned.
7- The ability to keep going when the going gets tough. Symbolic of this was one of the most influential players in the German team, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who got hacked to bits in the final and kept going with blood streaming down his face.
8- Not trying to reinvent the wheel. The German team that came into the 2014 World Cup was quite a settled one, with a good record in recent tournaments. They had a style of playing that they knew worked, with flexibility built in that allowed them to adjust to circumstances like losing players to injury, including one of their best players, forward Marco Reus, before the tournament started.
9- Going back to basics. After some disappointing results at the turn of the millennium, the Germany football management tried a new approach from which a path can be traced to their current success.
10- A healthy respect (but no more) for the competition. In the final, Germany faced Argentina’s Messi, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time. Although the German players respect Messi, they didn’t focus on him so much that their either couldn’t see the threat from other sources or that they were stopped from playing the game the way they wanted to.
Finally of course the Germans have found a way to connect with the wider public by playing eye-catching, fast-paced attacking football.
Is your Board like the German Football Team, or more like the English one? We could all learn a few lessons from the German example.