Whether you’re glued to the World Cup action in Rio or hotly anticipating Wimbledon, there’s no escaping sporting fever right now.
After England’’s upset against Uruguay this week, as well as sore hearts for fans, there will no doubt be much soul-searching about what went wrong and what hope remains to stay in the World Cup.
When the sporting stakes are high, emotions also run high among players and fans. But as well as the drama of nail-biting finishes, sport offers down-to-earth lessons that apply equally well in a business environment - on teamwork, ethics, discipline, perseverance and focus.
As England manager Roy Hodgson is discovering, in tough times managers are under immmense pressure to show their mettle as leaders and different people rise to the challenges in different ways.
I was reminded of that by a documentary on the late Jock Stein, the first British football manager to lead a team to victory in the European Cup with Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ in 1967. What struck me about his philosophy as a manager was the simplicity of his approach and the calm way in which he spoke to his players.
Not for him the ranting ‘hairdryer’ rages of Brian Clough: Stein used to enter the dressing room before a match and tell players: 'You’re ready for it. Go and enjoy.' As a simple but empowering ‘pep talk’ it proved remarkably successful.
His success and that of the players he managed came from his strong emphasis on rigorous preparation and practise so that on the big day, the team were confident and well-prepared.
Today, sporting success or failure is analysed to the nth degreee and the philosophy, psychology and science of sporting achievement is increasingly complex. The same is true of business to a certain extent.
Sometimes we all yearn for a more simple age of strong leadership and a sense of certainty on how to do things properly and achieve success. We are very much bearing that in mind as we get ready for the launch of Global Standard© Version 6 next week in London.
Those planning to join us for the launch will be delighted to know that Version 6 is characterised by robust, practical and relevant guidance on running a successful multi-channel customer service operation - there is not even a hint of psychobabble.
What you can expect if you undergo Version 6 accreditation is a standards framework that has been planned, designed, implemented, tested and honed by the industry, for the industry. That is why it so effective in meeting the needs of a wide range of organisations and sectors that face similar every day challenges in communicating effectively with and serving the needs of a diverse customer base.
Like sports men and women, we all need to practise regularly in order to get better and we all need a means of measuring where we are at, analysing weakness and building on our strengths. One of the most valuable and innovative parts of Version 6 is the ‘strength-finder’ element which allows organisations to first of all understand their own strengths in a structured way and then to focus on moving to an even higher performance level.
As a means of staying focused on our goals and achieving top form, I am confident that Version 6 will prove a winning formula and look forward to welcoming some of our top-flight customer service players to the launch next week.