The Mannschaft

I am probably getting too comfortable. There was an FBI security briefing for US companies yesterday, hosted by the US Ambassador at Skype’s premises – on economic espionage and cyber threats, and I was the only one in denim. In my defense – it was +25C outside, it was Skype office and it was premium denim. Just saying. For the record, presenters called each other “agents”, as if “agent Smith” or “agent Jones”. They were excellent presenters, well spoken, perfectly managing the audience, quite entertaining, actually. I could now check it off my list of experiences – talked to a high ranking FBI agent.
Football is over and our whole family is euphoric about Germany. Prior to 2006 I did not care much about football, but then there was a World Cap 2006. We just came to Germany in August 2005 and it all happened in front of our eyes – revival of the Mannschaft. It was new to us, but it was also new to Germans. The German national team was supposed to be a team as opposed to a pool of random stars, they were expected to have a vision, a mission, a style, a united voice, they were expected to understand each other and stand for each other and not compete with each other. Plus, a good half of them were foreigners. The whole concept was foreign. And they had a semi-American coach.
It was the time when Germany just opened itself to professional immigration, several industries were privatized, business consultants advised their corporate clients to adapt more team-oriented and less hierarchical style of management and be more transparent with their decision-making. And yes, a lot of Germans thought at the time that Angela Merkel was easy-going, indecisive and lacked charisma.
This whole idea of the Mannschaft was symptomatic of what German workplaces were expected to do. Like a Zeitgeist (sorry, in its original meaning, nothing to do with FBI).
The future for Germany was supposed to be international and collaborative and less hierarchical, but nobody actually believed it would work. Observers called Jürgen Klinsmann’s approach utopic, idealistic and not consistent with German national values. The coach was expected to use more experienced players and take orders from senior colleagues or Bundesliga officials. He didn’t and stuck to his guns. All of them, Klinsmann, Löw, the team, kept saying that it was never about one victory or one season or one goal, it has always been about building the skills, the alignment and mindset – exactly as they describe corporate culture and sustainable development in management books. 8 years later it’s become obvious to anyone that the Mannschaft is the most united, most sustainable and most aligned. I can be just very happy for the country I lived in for 3 years, but it makes me even happier to be intellectually satisfied when I see how long-term strategies bring great results.

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2 Responses to The Mannschaft

  1. Pingback: Fleurf. Life is about enjoying yoursef while looking fabulous

  2. Pingback: 2014 | Fleurf. Life is about enjoying yourself while looking fabulous

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