Learn from Sport

Paying big money for talent does not guarantee success

"...success in sport, and just about any form of human cooperation, is about the interactions, the relationships, understandings and levels of trust..."

Ben Darwin as quoted by Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

Using a teamwork index (TWI) a measure that

"...reflects......cohesion of a set of players based on their shared experiences over various time periods..."

Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

It is based on 3 measures

i) long-term cohesion (time team members have spent playing together more than 2 years ago)

ii) mid-term cohesion (time spent together within last 2 years)

iii) in-season cohesion (recent time spent together)

The last has the highest weighting


"...money buys skills not success, and talent flourishes best in familiar environments and greatness is built carefully and methodically. Governance is the greatest driver of success, boards get seduced by skill ..."

Ben Darwin as quoted by Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

Just buying the best talent and filling the team with champions does not make a champion team, ie

"...the big-money signings failed to deliver, because cohesion is sundered, the coach is sacked, and a replacement comes who just spends more on new, outside, players..."

Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

A better approach is to develop youth academies that nurture young players who have potential, ie

"...juniors were mixing from an early age building their levels of cooperation and understanding..."

Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

The comparison between the approaches in football (soccer) of the English and the Germans highlights this. The English have traditionally favoured buying talent while the Germans nurture young players. The Germans are the champions of the world and regularly beat England. It is more than 50 years since England beat Germany to win their last Football World Cup.

Some people think that greatness is pre-ordained. However, there is much fundamental work required by individuals and the team plus an appropriate system needs to be in place to lay the foundation for success.

A similar story has resulted from research of Wall Street's star analysts, ie who chase big money payouts, ie

"...Star analysts who change firms suffer an immediate and lasting decline in their performance..."

Boris Groyberg as quoted by Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

There are no quick paths to building the foundations of long-term success. One of the keys is cohesion and it cannot be duplicated and takes time. One of the flow-ons is strong brand engagement, ie people love the brand with a passion

"... Brand engagement is really about relationships......the longer they are there, the more you have those cohesive relationships..."

Jonathan Shapiro, 2017

"...in good organisations, loyalty exists and in great organisations it is the foundation..."

Ben Darwin as quoted by Jonathan Shapiro, 2017


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