Thursday, September 24, 2009

War is good for us

In essence, war is good for our collective mental health.

Why do I think this? Well to explain further, let me start off with the classic analogy-builder of all business strategy: sport.

Whether or not you understand English football (the game where you use your feet to kick the ball), you'll be familiar with a wide variety of business analogies that take their inspiration from this most noble of sports.

On the sports field, you're not interested in some high falutin' CEO who needs to engage a company with 100,000 employees. You're watching a team of 11 men, inspired by one manager, who needs to engage and motivate them to kick a ball for 90 minutes and win every game, again and again and again.

Then you look at stories like this. You see, it's a news item that incorporates business and football and engagement all in one mix, to produce something that could be studied at business schools the world over for many years to come.

Imagine. You live in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and you either work for Puma or Adidas. There's a feud, between the two brothers who own each company. So you work for one, and you've picck your side on the corporate battlefield.

More importantly, there's a football match between teh two companies, and you're forced to side on the football field too. How perfect!

You see, if every organisation had such direct competitiveness, wouldn't it be easier to build that seige mentality, that unity, that sense of purpose and of winning?

Back onto the English football theme, if you play for Manchester United, you know everyone hates you (and for good reason - ahem), so you bond together better as a unit, and you build long-term success.

It's like the statistic (where?) that shows that warring regions, where there is a clearly defined enemy, contain people with far better mental health. Why? Because these people share a common sense of identity and community, agreeing about what is right and wrong. They build links with those around them against a common enemy.

Translate that into work - could you do build such a level of engagement?

Or would it just be easy if all companies were like Adidas or Puma in Herzogenaurach, Germany?


  1. Great analogy. Now if I could just find Sir Alex to coach me through life...

  2. Just don't annoy him Nath - he might throw a football boot at you. Ouch!


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