By Damián Goldvarg
On December 16, the Argentine soccer team won the World Cup, 36 years after having obtained it the last time. But it was not easy. And the team offered us a good lesson on teamwork effectiveness. The key to how the Argentine team obtained the World Cup can be found in the phrase from Messi after the unexpected defeat in its first game against the apparently weak Saudi Arabia team: “We have to return to our bases.” The team arrived in Qatar after having been unbeaten in their last 36 games and won the America Cup. They presented themselves with a certain attitude of superiority, believing that the first match would be easy and they were surprisingly defeated.That apparently catastrophic outcome for the Argentine team was just what it needed to be able to win in the end: a blow that would bring them back to reality and make them aware of the mistaken belief that they would achieve easily and without great effort.
The team, which in this first match seemed like an agglomeration of individual players, became a unit again after that unthinkable defeat, and in that way, they were able to reverse their situation and reach the highest glory in the world competition. They needed a failure to get the players to leave their individualities and start playing as a team.
Prominent team members were playing alone and they had to stop doing that and start collaborating and working a as “whole” to recover after the defeat. The fundamental values of the team had vanished in the euphoria of their previous achievements. The blow cleared the way and solidified the union since, given the attitude of the team, the firmness of their values and commitment allowed them to reconnect with their original sense of success. Losing sight of our values can lead to defeat.
The Argentine government decided to make the return day of the Argentine team a holiday. Its decree assures the following: “Obtaining the title in the 2022 World Cup is a well-deserved prize for all the members of the Argentine National Team and its coaching staff for their fighting spirit, effort, union, perseverance, teamwork, and commitment, who had the necessary mettle to overcome the difficulties without ever giving up, And they constituted themselves as an unquestionable example for all the Argentine people, demonstrating that with solid ideals, always together and united, the proposed objectives can be achieved.”
This decree reminds us of some of the key elements for the success of teams. I invite you to consider how these elements are present in the teams you are a part of and if you need to work on any of them.