Why Europe Won The Ryder Cup
At least one television analyst had this one right from the start when he opined that the United States had the best individual players in the 2012 Ryder Cup, but that Europe had the best team.
So it was that in this most dramatic finishes of all, Europe’s commitment to team play and its ability to draw strength, focus and determination from one another was enough to edge out the more talented Americans, who faltered on the final day.
It’s amazing to see the parallels between sport and business, and this was a clear example.
After all, the bigger the perceptions about individual performance, the bigger the pressures to succeed on the playing field and the louder the thud when all that talent – when combined - fails to coalesce around victory.
And just the opposite is true. For the underdog, the ones who aren’t given a chance comes the internal fortitude to prove others wrong and to give the best accounting of oneself – even if doing that requires monumental or transformative performance.
One astute observer of the game says that behind the assessment of talent is a very important read on how the teammates get along, how they interact and learn from one another and whether they truly commit to one another – selflessly – in order to do right by the team. That is, the more personal and fun the experience is for them, the better they may be prepared to live up to whatever expectations may come.
There are indeed powerful organisations lessons to glean from the 2012 Ryder Cup. Just consider these:
1. If the right team of underestimated individuals commits to the team’s desired outcome, they gain some levelling of the competitive dynamics against a more talented team.
2. The right attitude and a feeling of esprit-de-corps can help take the pressure off each individual when faced with pressure, tension and tough competition.
3. The team can be more than the sum of its parts.
When golf historians look back on the 2012 Ryder Cup, they will remark on the individual European performances that bested the Americans. But it’s how they will remember the team play of the Europeans – and how their experience might inform your own as a leader – that could really multiply the good things that come from it.
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