Archive for June, 2010

A ray of light amongst the gloom

June 25, 2010

England played out a dire and utterly boring 0-0 draw last Friday night with Algeria in their second group game in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. As an England fan, the most disappointing aspect of the game was the lack of spirit and passion that the players seemed devoid of during the entire ninety or so minutes. Although I had issues with the formation (4-4-2) and the style of play (long balls thrust forward to Emile Heskey), it was the lack of ‘oomph’ from the players which vexed me (and many other England fans judging from the boos at the end of the match) most. It was something that worried me, too, as form can often be regained whereas a lack of passion maybe much harder to find once it is seemingly lost.

However, as much as I love football, I also like to follow many other sports and so on Saturday morning I watched the England rugby union team play Australia in the second match of their two game series in Sydney. Now, as frustrating as the England team may be to watch sometimes, the England rugby union team have been an even more frustrating prospect to endure since they won the World Cup in 2003.  The team have rarely won, and even when they have they have played in such a muddled way as to leave you tearing your hair out by the end of the the game!

But, despite another disappointing performance last week, last Saturday the England rugby team suddenly, finally, fired into life and what I witnessed was not just a much improved performance but a great result, too! In comparison to their footballing counterparts last Friday, the rugby team played with skill, guile and intelligence, as well as passion and spirit.

So perhaps this rubbed off on the football team because on Wednesday England played with much, MUCH more spirit and passion, and although it was only Slovenia, they dominated the match and went on to win the match 1-0 and through to the round of 16. But it seems as though England’s poor play in the run up to Wednesday’s game has cost them as they finished second in the group and will play one of their nemeses, Germany, on Sunday afternoon.

It will be a nervy, tense, yet strangely exciting encounter when England play Germany. After such a slow start to the tournament, there is a glimmer of hope for England if they can recapture the spirit and passion they showed on Wednesday. With such an experienced and talented side, England have a chance to go on and reach the quarter finals by fulfilling the potential we all know is there- and showing us the spirit and passion that should have been there from the start.

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Blood, sweat & tears- but not much inspiration!

June 18, 2010

It’s great to know that someone is putting in lots of effort. As a football fan, it’s great to see players, regardless of their position, running around like mad men, getting back and tackling, or bombing forward to create opportunities to score. However, unless a player is doing what he should do, whether it’s defending, making space in midfield, or up front scoring goals, then what’s the point point in putting in all that effort? Results matter, and effort alone won’t always get results.

The same is true for everybody else in the working world. It’s all very well putting in 15 hour days and being the first to arrive and last to leave the office every day, but there’s not much point unless you have something to show for it- whether it be closing a sale or executing a great marketing campaign. You could work for days on end, but unless you work smart, then it may all come to nothing.

Last week, Seth Godin talked about using your time effectively in a blog post entitled ‘Cheating the clock’. He asked whether we would alter our working behaviour with only a fraction of the time we usually have in a day. In other words, you need to be indispensable, regardless of the amount of time you have- working lots of hours (e.g. ‘hard work’) won’t necessarily make you effective.

But nevertheless, I’m a believer in Thomas Edison‘s quote that ‘genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration’. However this was meant, I like to believe anyone has a chance to become a genius as long as they work hard. You need to put in the practice, the preparation and the time so that you can realise the inspiration you have inside, because without the inspiration the genius can’t exist!

Dealing with dissapointment

June 11, 2010

Disappointment is something that everyone handles in very different ways. Some people become angry and begin to apportion blame, whereas others may become introverted or even depressed, depending on the level of disappointment they feel.

When I’ve been disappointed in the past I’ve often felt like either shouting and punching things or just shuffling away to sulk in a corner somewhere. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to realise that there’s never much point in doing either of the two things I’ve just mentioned as they’re never particularly productive! I now firmly believe that the best way of dealing with disappointment, wherever possible, is to begin looking at how any negative aspects can be turned into positives. I know this sounds clichéd, but I really do believe that the best way of overcoming the horrible feeling of dissatisfaction that disappointment brings is to immediately begin planning on how to get yourself back up and turn things around.

It’s important to have a time of reflection and to think about what went wrong. During this phase of analysis, you can begin assessing what you need to do to make things right but also what went right in the first place. It’s never a good idea to throw the baby out with the bathwater- just because something didn’t go to plan doesn’t mean everything you did was wrong. Focus on the good points, look at how the bad points can be improved and move on. Shouting and sulking won’t get you anywhere- and you probably won’t get any sympathy from anyone else, either! You’re the one in control, so you’re the one to make things right again.

As Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope’. Although things may seem tremendously bad at the moment of disappointment, there is always time and a thousand ways to overcome the pain. It’s just a case of making sure you’re as focused as possible to hit the target next time and do whatever you can to avoid disappointment again.

What’s the point? The benefits of blogging

June 7, 2010

As part of my ongoing social media crusade at work, I have been trying to persuade a number of the directors of my company to consider contributing to the corporate blog I set up about 3 weeks ago. The blog is still relatively new, but one of my aims is to get the directors using the blog so that they become regular contributors, even if that means only a few posts a month from each of them at a time.

It was whilst speaking with my finance director that I was hit with the question ‘what’s the point’? Now, I don’t believe he asked this question in a cynical or negative manner. I believe he asked this in an understandably pragmatic fashion because, as the finance director, he wants to know how the company will benefit from blogging.

This was a brilliant question because it really made me think. At last I was dealing with someone who really wanted to know why I was investing my time and energy into something the majority of the organisation know very little about. Nevertheless, I mentioned that blogs can be a brilliant addition to a company’s online presence for the following reasons:

  • Blogs are a great way of providing commentary on burning issues related to your company. For example, the recent UK election has had a major impact on many companies for a variety of reasons and therefore an opinion piece on how this will affect your company and the industry as a whole shows a good understanding of how political issues will affect not only the company but its various stakeholders as well
  • Blog readers often consider CEOs and directors, as well as regular employees, as credible sources of company information. Company blogs shouldn’t be overly promotional or too one-sided, and over time people will see your blog posts as a more accurate representation your company’s stance on key issues
  • Blogs can be used to build a trustworthy dialogue with customers. By allowing customers to respond to blog posts through the comments facility, and responding accordingly, customers may feel they have a ‘voice’ and a way of communicating directly with key directors and staff members
  • Blogs can be used to create ‘opinion leaders’ of directors and staff members. This may encourage the media or other people to come to your company for comment or opinion on key topics and issues
  • Blogs are a great way of improving search engine optimisation (SEO) for your website. For example, blogs not only ensure the web page is being updated regularly with fresh content (which brings the search engine web crawlers to the site), but blogs also bring key word-rich comments as well as inbound links from visitors to the website

There are of course many other good reasons for including a blog but I think most of all the proof will be in the pudding! Results matter, and I’m hoping our corporate blog will prove its worth over time. I also hope that the blog will convince my finance director that I haven’t been wasting my time and that it will have real merit for the company!

The 23 Englishman to win the World Cup?

June 1, 2010

So, Fabio Capello has decided on the final 23 to make up England’s World Cup squad, due to fly out to South Africa tomorrow. But has he chosen a squad with the strength and depth, let alone quality and desire, to go on and win the coveted trophy?

For me, there weren’t that many surprises in the final 23. Carrick made it through despite showing the vulnerabilities that characterised the final part of his season at Manchester United; Barry got the nod even though he is still recovering from injury and probably won’t be ready for start of the tournament; and Heskey’s in despite only scoring 7 goals in 58 appearances for England (and hasn’t scored for neither club nor country since 21st February this year!).

I suppose the biggest surprise was the omission of Theo Walcott. Although he’s been affected by injury again this season and often fails to deliver the ‘final ball’ required to create real scoring opportunities, I think England have missed a trick. I’m sure any opposition would be more frightened of Walcott coming on as an impact substitute rather than Shaun Wright-Phillipps, for example. Walcott still possesses devastating pace  and could add something extra in the final part of a big game.

Nevertheless, the decisions have been made and we are where we are. Now that the waiting is over, I hope the England team can now focus on the job in hand and begin to gel together, ready for the opening game against the USA on 12th June.