Courage, culture and a winning mentality – well done Gareth Southgate

Paragon Interiors Group Plc

Imagine this…you’re trying to motivate a team of multi-millionaires and instil a winning mentality.

Cue the stirring music, the training montage from Rocky IV, you missing a penalty at Euro ‘96…

What!? Sorry, please explain that again gaffer.

It does sound odd but Gareth Southgate is not afraid of trying something different and he’s right to. He needs to break the mould. Gareth was always an intelligent footballer, relying on tactical acumen more than sheer physicality and as a manager, he’s not afraid to ask intelligent questions to try to solve complex problems.

In business, many entrepreneurs, myself included, live by the mantra ‘Success Leaves Clues’. Essentially, we’re modelling what works and tailoring it to our own situation. Gareth and indeed the FA, have been very bold in doing what for many fans would seem unthinkable…

…they’ve asked the Germans for advice.

To a fan, it seems like madness. To an entrepreneur or a forward-thinking manager, in any field, it is absolutely sound.

Of all the teams in recent times, Germany have always been a true sum of their parts, a real team. Sure, they’ve had exceptional stars but they always seem to somehow take the collective effort to the next level.

How do they do it? How do they grind out results? Why don’t they EVER seem to miss penalties?

Well, let’s ask them. The connection is a result of the memorandum of understanding the Football Association signed with their German counterparts, the DFB, in March. I am hugely impressed by the courage and open minded approach shown here.

On the subject of courage, Gareth has also been working with a senior All Blacks coach on creating a winning mentality and Sir Clive Woodward has been consulted on “teamship” rules for correct dress, positive behavior and good time-keeping. Crucially, it is the players who take the lead on these rules. They are developed from within.

This is something I have tried to instil into every team I have ever worked in or with. From Notts County FC to Paragon Interiors, The Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club any many more….very simply Culture is KING.

I’m not talking about reading a book on your summer holidays and then shoehorning buzzwords and values into an organisation. This is about identifying where you ALL want to be and then working out what it will take to get there, from what you eat to what you say, how you dress to how you behave in public or with colleagues.

Crucially, it is how you THINK.

Creating a winning mentality is a fantastic challenge for any entrepreneur or leader and I’m delighted that Gareth and the FA are not afraid to be out there trying something different.

Opening a presentation with your greatest ever public failure takes huge courage. It takes the courage of a lion…here’s hoping we’ll be seeing more lions than Gareth and the three on the shirt very soon.