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Zeros to Heroes

Optimize Blog - November 24, 2011 - 0 comments

The worst soccer team in the world has won their first game…ever!   The US protectorate of American Samoa battled to a 2-1 victory over Tonga, after 30 straight defeats, to claim their first victory in their entire twenty year history.
Prior to this performance they were famous for being on the wrong end of the worst soccer defeat in International Football history, when they crashed to no less than perpetual football under-performers Australia, by the incredible score of 31-0 back in 2001.
So, on this Thanksgiving weekend here is one team that has a lot to be thankful for and observers at the match likened their celebrations to those of a team that had won a World Cup or Champions League title!  And, as an estimated 45 million Americans travel this weekend to celebrate with a turkey dinner, there will be a small community of Samoans perhaps enjoying the occasion that much more.
The story is an inspiring tale of relentlessly pursuing results despite continual set-backs.  At times we visit clients where many set-backs have been experienced and it appears (certainly to them) that they are never going to win.  How then do we coach them to maintain the focus and motivation to keep going?
The answer is as complex as it is simple in concept…  Vision.
Having a clear vision of the desired end state is key.  By focusing on the end game, the result or the future state (call it what you will), the leadership team will retain the faith that they are doing the right things and, like our American Samoan friends, eventually get the win.  We often mention the ability of leaders to see the future threats of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity as espoused by the futurologist Bob Johansen.  By doing so we can focus on the antidote – Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility.
The modern leader needs to be relentless in pursuit of the vision and the results… It is, after all, the results that count!
As for American Samoa it is yet to be determined if this run of form will continue beyond the one game winning streak but we will be watching the forthcoming results closely.

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