Friday, July 04, 2014

Respect Everyone, Fear No One.

Lessons learned from U.S. soccer and our founding fathers  

My high school wrestling coach had a favorite saying: “Fear no one, but respect everyone.” What he meant by that is you don’t take any opponent for granted, no matter how poor their record or how timid they look strolling out to the mat. By the same token, he said you don’t back down from any foe, even if he’s an undefeated state champion who looks like he’s in a bad mood and hasn’t eaten in days. It seemed to work pretty well Coach Neil (Buckley). He never had a losing season in 50 years and was believed to be one of the winningest high school wrestling coaches ever when he passed 20 years ago. Not bad for a guy who never wrestled himself.

Fear no one, but respect everyone is a mantra that tennis great, Roger Federer, is fond of reciting, too.  He’s having one heck of a run at Wimbledon this week. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the philosophy our founding fathers had two and a half centuries ago. Like a scrappy startup, what they lacked in resources and training, they made up for in agility and fearlessness. They certainly didn’t expect to take over the 13 original colonies without a fight, but they weren’t intimidated by the Brits and other 800 pound gorillas in their Colonial land grab “space.”
U.S.A soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann, continues to take flak for comments he made at the outset of the World Cup Soccer tournament when said the U.S. was NOT going to win it all. He wasn’t being pessimistic, he was being realistic.

Big difference.

Many journalists and patriotic soccer buffs missed the point. Klinsmann said the U.S. wasn’t going to win it all, but certainly deserved to be on the same field as the planet’s best national soccer teams. That would be a first for U.S. soccer. Klinsmann also said we not only belonged on the same field as the world’s best, but we didn’t need to wait for the favorites to dictate the pace of the game. We were now good enough to set the tone ourselves. After defeating Ghana, the U.S. tied highly ranked Portugal and gave Euro titans Germany and Belgium all they could handle in close one-goal games.

Same goes for your firm. If you’re bidding on a game-changing contract against a much larger rival, don’t be intimidated. Take a good honest look at your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own. Make sure the client understands the special talents and services you can deliver….and how hungry you are for their business. You’re good enough to set the terms and dictate the pace of the negotiations. Don’t let the client or the Big Boys do it for you.


The U.S. may be out of the World Cup, but the patriotic fervor the team stirred up—and TV ratings that far surpassed the World Series and NBA finals—is something you should take note of if you have Millennials at your firm or are trying to recruit them. They have a global view of the world, and increasingly soccer is their No.1 favorite sport.

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day. Enjoy the fireworks. You earned it.
Best, HB

blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.


TAGS: wrestling, Neil Buckley, U.S.A soccer, Jurgen Klinsmann, tennis Roger Federer, Wimbledon

No comments: