Anyone who knows the Bob Dylan song ‘Love minus zero, no limit’ will know that the following line is ‘and yet failure is no success at all’.
While the officials are handing out runner up medals to the German football team this evening, the Germans can take some solace in Dylan’s words. But what the words really mean to me is that in order to be successful you need to make mistakes and even fail along the way. In order to fail you have at least had to try, and it is mostly through failure that we learn and progress.
Last week I was coaching some company employees in the fine art of project management and people motivation, in the classroom things were going well but the real problem was that some of them were struggling with the fact that their managers were not giving them the space they needed to do their job. When talking to the managers in question I found a genuine desire not to expose the new PM’s to making mistakes in front of senior management.
Giving people just enough room to make mistakes but not so much that they hang themselves is tricky at the best of times. The tendency to step in too soon is difficult to resist, so much so that I found myself doing it on Monday when a colleague asked for my opinion and received the solution instead.
As the Spanish nation celebrates this evening, it is worthwhile for the Germans to contemplate upon the fact that the Spanish jubilation is born from the tears and disappointments they have suffered for the last decades, always coming so close but not achieving the expected result.
It’s a wise coach that can stay on the side line and watch their team fail, knowing all too well, that even if they could somehow step onto the pitch and win it for them, the team would not appreciate it.