Last night FC Barcelona,  a “star-team” beat Manchester United, a “team of stars” 2-0 in the final of the European football championship.fc barcelona victory

It was a disappointment for many English and Man-U fans, but an outcome entirely predictable. Apart from the first 10 minutes of the match, Barca controlled the ball through crisp passing, ball control through mid-field and selfless 100% contribution from every player on the team.
 Man-U’s star strikers were held for most of the game and could not put penetrate the Barca defence; while Barca showed remarkable composure and scored 2 goals from a total of 7 on-target attempts, vs . no goals from 2 on-target attempts for Man-U.
At sport’s highest levels where teams are evenly matched, we see time and time again that “star-teams” almost always beat “teams of stars” in final matches.

Last year I wrote about FC Barcelona in “Training to Win”, after witnessing their summer training camp regime from my office window. Barca brings their whole team, trainers, doctors, coaches, even their own security and some of their grounds-men when they come for summer training; their preparation and training is second to none.

Barca’s 2008-9 performance was exceptional in winning the La Liga championship and EUFA Cup, scoring the most goals in any season, having the least goals scored against them. In just one year as coach, Pep Guardolinos' capacity for leadership, ability to develop and inspire individuals to believe in themselves, combined with disciplined and extreme work-rate and focus on technical excellence, have found him a place in football history.
In business we look at sporting hero's and great teams for lessons and inspiration.

If FC Barcelona was a technology company it would likely have all or some of the following characteristics...and a whole lot more;-
  • An inspirational leader with a strategy and plan for success, who could inspire the team to believe they could win in new markets
  • A technical team that builds quality products that people need, a support organization that is responsive to customer problems and a culture of innovation excellence
  • A sales team that is disciplined in executing modern sales 2.0 process on a daily basis, works as a team in sharing success and knowledge and growing the team's selling skills; is expert in diagnosis and qualification which promotes forecasting accuracy and efficient use of corporate resources
  • A lean and mean administration team that is totally in sync. with the corporate mission and funding growth appropriately.

  • Lightweight contracts that are easy to sign and business terms that are clear and transparent.

  • A commitment to excellence and developing the skills of the whole team on a systematic basis.

  • A customer community that is connected into the corporation through multiple opt-in outreach programs who provide valuable feedback on product direction and performance.
If you work with a company like the one described above, please share with us a little about it. 
For the rest of us, we can aspire to greatness, lead by example and begin our own journey to excellence.