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Lessons to be Learnt from the Soccer World Cup
A natural tendency would be to analyze the performance and non-performance of the world’s top teams, but it is not here where the greatest lessons lie.
The successful hosting of an event of this magnitude by any country would be a commendable achievement – For South Africa, a country who 16 years ago managed to emerge from its checkered past, this is a feat that smacks of extraordinary effort and contribution.
A few remarkable lessons can be learnt from this global success.
At the forefront stands the commitment of the Local Organizing Committee. To achieve the level of motivation that not only set the ball rolling to make the bid, but also pull it off, the backing of an icon was required. This spot was filled by Nelson Mandela. To truly understand the power of a Madiba, one must reflect on the bigger picture.
The reality is that the largest proportion of economically viable South Africans did not belief that this would go off well. A lack of local service delivery, negative intervention by unions and a high crime rate did not support the achievement of a successful World Cup.
Lesson No 1 for anybody aiming to achieve something extraordinary would be to get the backing of an icon.
With the bid awarded to South Africa the cost debate dominated. As with many other events of this magnitude the reality was that it would not be a profitable event. But what would the benefits be?
As in life we try to justify our actions in terms that is sellable. Owing to the fact that the final bill would be for the tax payer’s account, efforts were made to fabricate an acceptable Return on Investment.
The Local Organizing Committee kept their eyes on the ball and focused on delivering in line with their bid commitments. In the majority of instances they did, which speaks of not being distracted from their deliverables.
Whilst there is a lesson to be learnt from the real return of investment for international sports events, in this instance the lesson is from the actions of the Local Organizing Committee. In the process of achieving goals we get distracted by peripheral side shows that do not support the achievement of the aim. The Local Organizing Committee did not get distracted by irrelevant debates, but rather focused solely on the achievement of their goals and only gave attention to those factors that directly influenced this.
Lesson No 2 would be to keep your eye on the ball.
Now would be a good time to go back to the return on investment. Any country submitting a bid for a World Cup event should know that the return on investment will not be financially. Undoubtedly this was never a consideration as the South African Minister of Finance had managed to steer the country into financially calm waters. Whilst the Global economy went into melt down owing to the poor judgment of financial icons, South Africa’s worst challenge was dealing with the resultant fallout from abroad. What then is the perceived return on investment for an event such as this?
Local enterprises budgeted for a bumper season. Hotels and Guest lodges increased their tariffs up to 300% in some instances in their anticipation of the World Cup ride. In the end, for these businesses, rightfully there was no ride. Even the airlines had this one blow up in their faces!
The enterprises that did benefit were the local entrepreneurs, the guys that have learnt to think out of the box and who targeted the local market. These guys knew that they needed the local market to make their product or service viable and that support from the World Cup supporters would be an additional bonus.
Great examples are the now internationally famous Vuvuzelas, Makarapas and mirror socks. These are the success stories, but the real success and Return on Investment will be found on a totally different level.
The South African credibility experienced an exponential curve. This relatively small nation at the southern end of Africa proved their ability to deliver. They justified their status as economical and thought leader of Africa. They always knew this, now the rest of the World do as well.
Potential business spin-offs from this far outstrip the sunken costs, but the realization thereof demands responsible political and business leadership from the countries leaders.
Herein lies the final lesson. Whilst South Africa has proven its caliber and will benefit from this in the short term, the long term benefit is that the international spotlight is on the countries leaders and its entire people to keep on living up to the standard it has set for itself.
It is only when one sets your own standards that you can truly live up to it, but it is in achieving these standards that you no longer have an excuse for falling short of the mark.
In the final lesson lies the future of a succesfull South Africa as well as any individual intending to be succesfull. As a Motivational Speaker I share that it is through the standards that we set and the actions that we take that our successes and failures are created. Visit http://www.zirkbotha.com for more details
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