Kostrzewa Executive Advisory, Kilchberg ZH

Lessons Learned #EURO2016 – Change Management applied to …

…football? Yes and no. Yes, I simply use football as a metaphor to get a point across I think is relevant for dealing with change in organisations. No, please do not take this thought experiment too serious. This is just a blog to spark your creativity how you want to think about change for yourselves.


15th June: France 2 – 0 Albania

I simply love to watch how committed teams deal with critical situations. Albania so calm and composed. France so passionate and determined. At the very end the relentless effort of France pays off, a crack in the Albania defense scores a goal. Then the crack widens and goal number two happens. Game over. Well done Albania, well done France.

Lessons Learned: The underlying principle I spotted was BESIEGE.

Strategist Carl states: „das Umstellen des Gegners, um ihm den Rückzug unmöglich oder so schwer zu machen, daß er es vorzieht, das Gefecht anzunehmen…“

This reminds me of silos in organisations resisting to change. Sometimes there is no clever way to win them over. However, persistent and consistent ‚focus on the „what“ and let go of the „how“‚ may win critical mass over. Not very elegant, I admit, but it works more often than not.

14th June: Portugal 1 – 1 Iceland

Everybody loves the underdog achieving something significant against all odds. That night it was a team of 330.000 endeavouring people called Iceland. Just after 30 Minutes put 1 goal behind from a football giant dishing out harsh football lessons. Was there any hope? Then it showed that the Iceland team consisted not only of the 11 players on the field. Have a look at this mesmerizing video in Youtube. Iceland’s fans pulled their team along to the equalizer in the second half and then through till the end. A draw that felt more like a victory to Iceland and defeat to Portugal.

Lessons Learned: The underlying principle I spotted was BATTLE CRY.

Strategist Yamamoto states: „In solch einem Fall ist es wichtig, sich wie ein Samurai zu verhalten. Es ist ratsam, ein solches Problem durch einfaches Herumschreien zu lösen.“

I recall moments in my projects when we all felt exhausted looking in disbelief at a further budget cut or another bad news that might terminate the initiative. Then and there we need somebody to create hope. How? How can we kindle the enthusiasm we felt at the beginning? Somebody has to take charge of the future. Simply state and voice hope. And be bold about it. Anyone doing this can be called a leader.