Winning or playing great : what is best ?

The football world cup tournament ended yesterday and led me to think about a dilemma that I’ve often observed in business and education as well as in sport tactics.

The FIFA World Cup winner is France. No discussion about the legitimacy of their victory. But discussions happen about the style. Didier Deschamps (the French coach) has chosen « realism » over the beauty of the game. Over the tournament, France scored less than brilliant teams like Belgium and Croatia for example. But at the end, they performed better and won the competitive game. For football lovers, as I am, it’s a pity and it’s kind of unfair, but for those who preach victory above all, it’s good game and great coaching. At the end, only victory is remembered, right ?

Well, in business we can draw the parallel. Some CEO’s will favor innovation, creativity and risk taking while some others will manage conservatively and may be performing better along traditional standards. The former may show less stable financial results while the latter will please the stock market thanks to their regularity.

What is best ? Like in football, I favor brilliant game in business too. We have great game players and also game changers. But besides the asthetic view, I also believe that competition today requires new paradigms, new strategies and new skills. I don’t like boring businesses. They make the world boring too. I prefer entrepreneurs who fail to bureaucrats who manage systems.

In education, I could also see analogies. Some brilliant minds are not performing as well as « good scholars » who study well according to traditional academic standards. They run the risk to be disappointed and they are right to be so when they are graded less than traditional colleagues. We, as professors, must be attentive to rewarding students who disobey the rules as much (and probably more) as we praise  those who are just delivering what (they think) profs are expecting.  That’s how we will find and stimulate exceptional talents.

All in all, life is about praising progress more than conservatism. Rewarding talent more than obedience. Having fun more than winning for the sake of winning.

Be inspired and Spice Up your game !

 

 

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