Mario: Beyond a doubt, teamwork. Ryunsuke Satora states this beautifully by saying that “Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” Winning the rights to host the World Cup was only the beginning. For us to be able to succeed we had to work together. The people of South Africa were the “true stars” of the World Cup, after they united to prove that South Africa was capable of hosting a world-class event. Soccer is a team sport. A star individual can be a great benefit, but without a team…his/ her efforts will have little effect. Superstars or not, we all have a role to play. Team spirit beats individualism. "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships," said Michael Jordan. It is fascinating to see how people can sit around and expect others to take action.
People get stuck in the bystander effect.
Heideli: The bystander effect?
Mario: Yes, the bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help in an emergency situation when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely proportional to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. Do nothing, and nothing gets done; do something, and many things get set into motion. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. We can't sit around expecting others to do the rescuing. We have to break out of our inertia and take action. I am truly passionate about people and their energy potential and want to encourage people to truly live a successful and even significant life. With this World Cup we saw how people from all over opened their hearts and welcomed the world in a great spirit.
We all have a role to play. Inside all of us is the potential for greatness.
Heideli: It is clear that you are excited about the potential in individuals. Do you think we often look past this crucial point of developing ourselves and our country?
Mario: Indeed, It is crucial that we know our team members' design, to align a “player's position to his talent”. In line with their physical strengths and talents, top soccer players sooner or later specialise their game to become a goalie, a defender, a defensive or offensive midfielder, or a striker. World Cup-winning sport coaches have a skill for selecting a team line-up that brings out the best in each player and the team. In an innovation project, you need to put the right man on the right job, too. A balanced innovation team comprises a mix of good theorists, explorers, visionaries, experimenters, collaborators, promoters and organisers - and of course a good director that guides and coaches the team.
Ask yourself and your team the following questions: What do you know about the personality type, the strengths and weaknesses, the knowledge, skills and experience repertoire of each person in your team? How can you reposition some “players” to boost the performance of both the individual and the team?
And who is the best man to coach your innovation effort?
Heideli: Wonderful. That reminds me of one of your favorite sayings Mario, that one stops learning only on the day you die. What about you Desmond? Being a storywriter, what will you remember best about this World Cup?
Desmond: The value of failure.
Heideli: What do you mean?
Desmond: Indeed, most cultures are all about winning, whether it is for an election, rugby or even in films. It seems that the one thing that is drilled into us daily is the value of winning. Yet somehow, we look at “losing” on the other hand as a source of shame and bitterness. I recall sitting in anticipation on July the 6th, 2000, awaiting the decision on the hosting of the 2006 Soccer World cup. One vote abstained changed the balance in favor of Germany. This was a big “failure” served to South Africa who had worked hard on the bid. The hope of the African continent was shattered in this moment. Yet, as in all good stories, this was only the beginning. As all heroes in stories, South Africa had to find the strength and courage to stand up again. Little did we all know that by persevering in this goal we would soon experience a miracle, and a story to be told for generations to come. Another great example of this perseverance can be found in the example of our own leader and icon, Nelson Mandela. He spent a great deal of his life in prison for a dream, a dream to unite a country. He said: “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” For 27 years all he could dream of was freedom, but little did he know what his dream would entail. Mandela was driven in a small golf cart alongside his wife Graca. He was welcomed by the loud noise of the roaring crowd and vuvuzelas. "It's time for Africa!”
The lyrics of the soccer theme song WAKA WAKA resonates this truth in its lyrics:
You're a good soldier
Choosing your battles
Pick yourself up
And dust yourself off
And back in the saddle
You're on the frontline
You know it's serious
We're getting closer
This isn't over
The pressure is on
You feel it
But you've got it all
When you fall get up
Heideli: Mario, now that the final whistle has blown, where do we go from here?
Mario: Tackling the “character gap” must be our common goal. Many see Africa as a dark continent, but it is actually a place of opportunity, a place filled with incredible potential leaders standing strong in character to make a significant difference.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” - Henry ford.
Let's make the difference. Each and every one of us will need to play our part in ensuring that change for the better does indeed come about. Moaning, whining and apportioning blame will not solve the problem and must be replaced with courage and action! As people care about integrity and relationships, organizations will improve customer service, retain good people, strengthen teamwork, and build goodwill in the community. But the greatest benefits of a character emphasis come when a person forgives instead of sabotages others, takes responsibility instead of neglecting family members, or tells the truth instead of betraying a customer's trust.
We need men and women of honour, of character from all ages and backgrounds to take advantage of the opportunities that exist to make a difference. We all have incredible potential and capacity to greatness, but only those who cultivate it will become truly effective. Heideli: In a recent interview in the McKinsey Quarterly, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe illustrated the need for character training when he said the following: “We are struggling ourselves, as a new democracy in South Africa, to restore values … Values are never a given. They have got to be developed, worked upon, and consolidated on an ongoing basis. Because if at any given time we as a society or as sections of society become complacent about them, we run the risk of losing them…. We are therefore duty bound to try at all times to bring to the fore the values that bring us together as fellow South Africans, as human beings, united in our diversity.”
What does this statement mean to you? Mario Denton: The challenge raised by Our Deputy Minister is not a new one. As a diverse country we have had a record of being very religious yet treating each other in the most appalling ways. We have used our differences as an excuse for checking our morals at the door when dealing with those different from us. Our ability for doing this so well over the centuries and decades that shaped our history has made us experts in believing one thing and doing another. But the real process of bringing this country back to its moral center has to take place at different levels: First and foremost, each and every one of us needs to go on a personal journey of aligning our character with our actions.
Let me illustrate this by using the iceberg analogy: It is said that an iceberg has over 90% of its weight below the waterline and only 10% of it shows above the surface. The 90% that is below the surface is like the values in our lives that shape our behavior. I am sure that many South African leaders, when asked about character principles, claim to believe in them. But upon closer inspection one finds that there is [a] big gap between this belief in character principles and the reality of our actions. Personal transformation is necessary on an individual level.
It is my strong belief that we can create a moral society that is diverse and a true example for the whole world….