Germany 7 - Brazil 1

I don’t follow soccer closely. However, it’s hard not to get sucked in to the global phenomenon called the World Cup. Nor is it possible to miss the significance of a margin of victory of 6 points in a game where ONE goal is like finding a four-leaf clover. And, it’s hard to escape the fact Brazil had not lost a competitive match on home soil in 39 years – unbelievable!
Even if you’re not a sports fan, there’s a lesson here for us. You and I must learn to deal with defeat. Leaders don’t always win. Every strategic bet we place won’t payoff like we would want. Sometimes we lose. What do you do when you face the inevitable defeat? Here are a few ideas to consider...
Assess – What happened? Why did it happen? What are the facts? No excuses. Try to move above the emotions of the moment. Assessment includes both a review of where you failed, and where you succeeded. Clarity at this stage is crucial. If you don’t assess well, you’ll have little chance of entertaining my next suggestion.
Learn – Based on your assessment, what can you learn? I’ve said before, if we don’t learn from pain, it is wasted. If we don’t learn from our defeats, they are wasted. Armed with the facts, what will you do differently in the future? Maybe nothing. But I’m guessing you can find a way to learn something from every defeat. If you do, you significantly increase the chances of winning in the future.
Lead – Everything rises and falls on leadership. I’m assuming you already know this. What you may not have considered is how much leadership matters post-defeat. People look to their leaders for direction and assurance; they look to us for hope and vision for a better tomorrow. We set the tone for our team. Our attitude is contagious. This is never more important than when we lose. Defeat, more than victory, showcases our leadership character. If we can lead well in the face of defeat, we’re well on our way to our next victory.
Well, now it’s off to the finals. Will Germany prevail once again? Who knows – games, like leadership, are not always predictable. What we do know, one of the teams in the finals will have a chance to deal with defeat. The choices they make after the game will determine the long-term affect of the loss. Your choices post-defeat will also mark your future.
My final encouragement to you… win or lose:

Learn from the past, just don’t live there.

Enjoy the game![GLS_Shield]

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Paul Sohn

9 years ago

Love the leadership perspective here Mark. Simple yet effective! Thanks again for your thought-leadership.
Paul // Leadership Blogger,

Michael Stewart

9 years ago

Your final comment; "Learn from the past, just don’t live there" is something that all leaders and want to be leaders should take to heart. Most leaders have failed and will probably fail again as well. Determination to see a vision to fruition takes courage and belief. Making your team BELIEVE after a loss is key to bringing the entire team back to the field to play again another day. Great post Mark.


9 years ago

Thanks, Michael! As leaders, we've got to be much more concerned about the future than the past - but the past should not be ignored. Thanks for joining the conversation! Mark

Five Blogs – 11 July 2014 | 5blogs

9 years ago

[…] Germany 7 – Brazil 1 Written by: Mark Miller […]

5 for Leadership (7/12/14) | Gary Runn5 for Leadership (7/12/14) - Gary Runn

9 years ago

[…] Germany 7-Brazil 1  This comes from Mark Miller on the Great Leaders Serve blog. Did anyone not know about this historic loss in the World Cup? See how Mark derives some solid leadership principles from this event. […]

Top 5 from the week July 6-13 | Faith Lived Out

9 years ago

[…] This is a leadership article, but really it is for any of us who have ever, or will ever, deal with defeat. It is usually easier to sort of curl up and quit after a crushing defeat (like the Brazil vs. Germany game). But, a true leader of character is able to set the tone through even crushing defeat. It’s normal in life to not always win and for things to not always goes right, or even go well. So, all of us will deal with defeat or failure many time in life. How we handle it sets the tone for our next victory and our next failure. […]


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