High performance teaming, a group of Executive MBA students was ready for the master class. What is needed to get a team to rise above themselves? I had promised to explain how the Netherlands could have outperformed this immensely.
‘It’s that price winning coach, Louis van Gaal, right?’ ‘No, no. He certainly wasn’t bad, but he was not the determining factor.’ ‘Oh, then it must have been the star players, Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie?’ ‘No, it’s not Robben, nor is it Sneijder and it most centainly was not Van Persie! No, it’s Dirk Kurt!’ They looked at me with disbelief. Dirk Kuyt, is an old soccer player, who is above average at best. I laughed, and together we checked how theory came to life in this example.
More than a team
We agreed unanimously that the Netherlands had good to great soccer players. But also, that they often did not collaborate that well. A good example of the known problem that a team with top players often performs surprisingly poorly. What was especially noticeable, was this: whether Dirk Kuyt was sitting on the couch or walking around the field (it’s hard to catch him just standing), he was always encouraging, appeasing and complimenting fellow players.
On or of the field Dirk is energetic, enthusiastic and engaged. He drags, runs and goes the extra mile. You can be sure he, if necessary, will be crawling on his knees to chip in his best. Dirk is a, no quitting, all-in soccer player.
Dirk wants to win. It is remarkable how he celebrates every little victory. And he celebrates with everyone involved. Even at loss he was the one who led his colleagues in thanking the audience.
More from yourself, and others
Others have better developed soccer technique. Quite some are more athletic. Dirk is not just being modest. He is very self-conscious: he knows both his limitations and his strength. His strength being that he plays with his heart. In the game for the third place he was the one who suffered a head injury. He had it stapled shut and shook hands with the causator: ‘Such things happen.’ And when off the field, you will still see him doing his utmost to get the best out of his team.
More from the heart
The heart and soul with which Dirk does everything in his life is exceptional. Where you might suspect that charity is a PR thing for many others, you know this is not the case for him. And when he left Feyenoord, he promised to ‘one day’ come back. Intuitively everybody knew those were no empty words. How he announced to redeem the promise was exemplary. You’ll see it in this video:
The students were convinced. Also they noticed how the Dutch team collapsed after what looked like Van Gaal’s departure. But not by accident, Dirk also left. Too old, so logical, right?
But who is surprised that Feyenoord wins the championship with Dirk’s hattrick? No one who will compare him to Johan Cruyff, who, in genius revenge to his former employer Ajax, lead Feyenoord to a championship. But for anyone who wants to create a High Performance Team that wins championships: search, find and cherish a Dirk Kuyt!
Leave A Comment