Lessons From The World Cup: The Best Teams Have Learned These 4 Things

As you almost certainly know, the World Cup is currently taking place in Russia. It has attracted the largest audience of any sporting event in the world. These captivated spectators showcase their support in the most intense display of national pride. Entertainment factor aside, there are many valuable lessons to be learned as the most anticipated tournament is underway.

The World Cup Champion will not be the team with the most talent, but rather, the one that is the strongest cohesive unit.

This has already proven to be true as the defending champion, Germany, failed to make it out of the group stage. Arguably the most talent-rich team participating, they missed the mark anyway.

While you continue to enjoy the World Cup over the next few weeks, allow yourself to watch for and observe what the best team’s do to be successful. I guarantee you these four lessons directly contribute:

1. One player does not make a team.

During the first season of the Revisionist History podcast, Malcolm Gladwell highlighted the research of economists Chris Anderson and David Salley around their idea of weak-link vs strong-link networks. They asked: What matters more, how good your best player is or how good your worst player is?

In soccer, your worst player matters more than your best player. Mistakes are an important part of the game, and having a superstar doesn’t mean you have an outstanding team. While the TV and media coverage has been dominated with talk of the top players like Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Mohamed Salah, the depth of the teammates that surround them will determine who hoists the World Cup trophy on July 15th.

Most companies and teams are run like strong-link organizations. They focus primarily on satisfying top performers to keep them at the company. In my opinion, you need to at least think long and hard about moving to a weak-link organization for one key reason: social media. It only takes one employee hiccup or poor customer experience for an issue to go viral and massively impact your business.

2. Fundamentals are more important than flair.

Every fan in the world falls in love with the player who has the most flair. But, the only way these great athletes can complete these eye-catching tricks is because of their deep commitment to the fundamentals.

Each and every one of the World Cup players has spent an uncomfortable amount of time rehearsing the fundamentals of their game. In soccer, it is dribbling, passing, communicating, ball control, and alignment.

The team that raises the trophy will not forget these. They will take care of the ball, make the right pass at the right time, and communicate like it is the most important game of their lives (because it is).

It’s amazing how many professionals forget to work on the fundamentals as they progress in their career. The best leaders of teams don’t allow this to happen–they set standards of practice time and hold their team members accountable. That’s how you hone the foundational skills of those around you.

3. The managers matter.

Most fans only focus on the players on the field. The coaches behind the scenes are just as necessary for success.

Teams will only go as far as their leaders can take them.

In soccer, the best managers focus on culture, strategy, defining standards of performance, and creating an environment that helps their players be successful.

Same goes in business. As a leader, you can’t elevate a company all by yourselves, but you play enormous roles developing the ceiling of your organizations. That’s why having intentionally thought-out leadership development programs at every level of your organization is a must.

4. Positivity will always prevail.

Jon Gordon, author of the new book The Power of a Positive Team, has studied many of the best teams–and according to him, having a positive mindset is one of the most influential factors for success. However, the achievement will not come from just thinking positive. Gordon writes:

“Negativity exists and you can’t ignore it if you want to build a positive, powerful team,”

You must address the negativity and not allow it to breed and grow. Confront it, transform it, or remove it. Put simply, the team that wins the World Cup will have made a conscious effort to keep negativity out of the locker room. You’ve probably worked in an organization with a negative or toxic culture. If so, you know: It drains you. Put a huge focus on setting standards for positivity and not allowing anyone to bring negative energy into the office. If someone does, they’ll have to find another place to work.

A version of this article just appeared on Inc.com.

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author of FML: Standing Out and Being a Leader and the upcoming book “The Welder Leader.” You can follow him on instagram @johngeades.

5 Songs That Dramatically Improve Your Work (and Writing)

As I walked down the hall, cruising through pods, the only acknowledgment of my existence were simple hand gestures. A few people people gave me a wave, others threw up an air fist pump, and a few ignored me. What was interesting was each and every person I passed was doing the exact same thing. They were all wearing headphones and listening to music.

If your office is anything like mine, you are used to this environment. Now there’s a time and place for listening to music at work, and it’s when you are doing what author Cal Newport calls, “Deep Work.” Deep work is the ability to focus, without distraction, on a cognitively demanding task.

Lately, for me, writing my book, F.M.L. Standing Out and Being a Leader has required a substantial amount of “deep work.” So naturally, I used music as a way to help me stay in the zone and be more focused for longer periods of time. A recent Cornell study found, “happy, upbeat music can lead employees to be more productive, cooperative, and work harder for the good of the company or team.”

Here is a list of the best songs to listen to while doing “deep work”:

Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi – You can listen to the greatest work song of all time here. I like it so much I leave it on repeat. At one point, I am sure I listened to it 20 times in a row. Songs without words keep you in the mode of deep work better than those with words.

#41 by Dave Matthews – Contrary to what I just said, this is one of the few songs on the list that has words. This particular Dave Matthews song has long instrumentals, but maintains a calm and peaceful rhythm.

Ibiza Classics – Ibiza is a island in the Mediterranean off of the coast of Spain that has become famous for house music. This Ibiza Classics Mix on youtube will keep you upbeat, focused and happy about the work you are doing. When I am listening to it, an hour passes by in what feels like 10 minutes. That’s when you know you have the right song going.

Fur Elise by Beethoven – It would be a crime not to have Beethoven on this list because he is arguably the most influential figure in classical music. Most consider him the greatest composer of all time. Fur Elise is just a start with Beethoven.

Find My Way Back by Cody Fry – I am going a little off the reservation with this recommendation but Cody’s music is overflowing with positivity. When I first got up the courage to begin writing a few years ago, I am 100% sure it wouldn’t have happened without this guy’s music. He is far from a big name, but his music will lift you up and keep positive thoughts flowing.

This list just touches the surface of all the great songs and music that will help keep you in the mode of “deep work.” What are some new ones to put on my radar?

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Upcoming Leadership Book- F.M.L. Standing Out and Being a Leader is out February 24th.

John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft start your organizational free trial here. He is also the host of the Follow My Lead Podcast and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You can also find him on instagram @johngeades.

The Powerful Characteristic that Separates Professionals

It was the 2015 NBA Finals – game 3. Cleveland Cavaliers backup point guard Mathew Dellavedova would not quit. He played 90 feet of defense every possession, held NBA MVP Stephen Curry to 10-20 shooting with 6 turnovers, and dove on the floor for loose balls a minimum of 7 times. Dellavedova was undrafted out of college, is under-sized and under-skilled, but he had something other players on the court didn’t – tenacity.

But the truth is, tenacity isn’t just about the little guy, the underdog, or the overlooked. It’s not just about being carried off the field while everyone is cheering your name… “Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!”

Being persistent, passionate, and never giving up is a skill that everyone has the capability of developing, but it seems that few actually have. Maybe it’s because not everyone cares enough to be tenacious? Maybe it’s because apathy has set in and people are fooled into believing that “good enough” is in fact, good enough.

Either way, when tenacity is at play, miraculous things happen. People achieve things for themselves and their company that they never dreamed they could do. Need some motivation to trigger your tenacity? Here are the top 4 reasons you should be more tenacious:

  1. Higher Levels of Confidence. Every time you quit something or don’t do your best, whether the task is too difficult or you just lose interest, you lose confidence. Confidence is built when you practice, learn, and succeed. Stick things out, complete them well, and your confidence will rise.
  2. Increased Indispensability. Since tenacity is a difficult skill to train, when organizations find tenacious people, they value those employees. These employees move up quicker, are compensated better, and are rarely put on the chopping block (even during hard times). Be the person who learns new skills and does what it takes to win.
  3. Widely Earned Respect. Early on in my career, a mentor reminded me that respect is earned. Leaders are defined by their actions, not their title. Even if you aren’t a manager, you can be perceived as a leader. People immediately gravitate to and respect people who don’t give up and are relentless in their pursuit of success – even if they don’t “win” every time.
  4. Stronger Likelihood of Success. It’s a fact. If you keep at something long enough, hard enough and give it your all, your chances of succeeding increase. If there comes a time when changing paths becomes a requirement don’t look at yourself as a failure. Failure truly only occurs when you stop trying and caring regardless of the task.

Tenacity is a powerful human characteristic that will improve your life and change your professional trajectory. Tenacious people always find a way. Make the conscious decision every single day to be more tenacious.

Getting Leadership Ready. LearnLoft’s out of the box training approach to helping professionals understand what leadership is all about and to stand out as potential leaders. Find out more Here.


Top 5 Tuesday 1.26.16

Here is your weekly dose of Top 5 Tuesday: A list of things we are thinking, reading, watching, or doing to stay on top of our game and we think you should too:

Articles Worth Reading 

4 Ways to Be a More Resilient Leader

Meghan Biro the CEO of Talent Culture does an amazing job at communicating the importance of resiliency and providing simple way to make it a reality.

Quotes Engrained in Our Minds

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill

What Podcast We’re Listening To

Elevating Beyond

Mark Minard and Dayne Gingrich are 88 episodes deep providing valuable stories and content to inspire and motivate others.  Do yourself a favor and check them out.

What We’re Watching

Kid President – Pep Talk About Teamwork and Leadership

Tip of the Week 

Whats the most popular app we use every day? Sportsmanias is a great app to quickly check on your favorite sports teams, their tweets, articles, and videos.  We are all about using anything to improve productivity and save time and thats Sportsmanias.

Please let us know if there are suggestions for articles, quotes, shows, or tools we should highlight. Tweet us at @johngeades or@learn_loft.

For more great insight:

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5 Resources to Close Your Leadership Gap

The feedback we received about the 7 Trends Shaping Corporate Learning was overwhelming.  The top two trends people wanted more information about was Content Creation and Closing the Skill Gap.

One of the most skill deficient areas in 2016, is Leadership Development. This is reinforced by a recent Deloitte Survey that found 71% of employees who plan to leave their jobs within the next 2 years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.

Here are 5 resources we’ve curated to help close your own or your teams leadership gap.


Resource Links:

Bonus Tip:

Need a way to distribute content to your team, to track and measure their progress? Sign up for our LearnLoft Platform.

Top 5 Tuesday 1.19.2015

Here is your weekly dose of Top 5 Tuesday: A list of things we are thinking, reading, watching, or doing to stay on top of our game and we think you should too:

Articles Worth Reading 

30 Days Is All You Have to Make and Initial Impact

Paul LaRue tells us the quicker a leader can get trust and knowledge established, the faster it will take for people to engage and support the mission that is laid before you. Our favorite point is “assess talent and address skill gaps.”

Quotes Engrained in Our Minds

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” Mother Teresa

What We’re Listening To

Episode 49 of the Bill Simmons Podcast

Simmons had Malcolm Gladwell on the show last week and we listen to anything that involves Gladwell.  There is one thing for sure you will never get dumber when you listen to Gladwell.

What We’re Watching

Leadership Training Gone Wrong by Studio C

Tip of the Week 

Whats the most popular app we use every day? iTunes Podcasts. We subscribe to many podcasts to help us grow in our personal development and we listen to them a lot.

Please let us know if there are suggestions for articles, quotes, shows, or tools we should highlight. Tweet us at @johngeades or @learn_loft.

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3 Ways to Get Millennials Leadership Ready Today

Becoming a leader has always been a sign of career advancement; but most importantly it’s a way to make a real impact.

Collectively, Millennials consist of a generation of people who demand to feel fulfilled by the work that they do. As a Millennial leader, I can speak from experience to say, we want to make a difference in our world and expect the organizations we work for, to provide these opportunities. At the same time, we’re also impatient, anxious to do things on our own, and always feel like we have something to prove. In these desires lies one of our biggest opportunities; to become driven, kind, confident, intelligent, ethical… leaders.

Unfortunately, for a Millennial to earn a leadership position, there are many obstacles we have to face. Studies show that organizations don’t think we are ready to lead.  As much as 60% of Millennials want to become leaders, yet only 6% of organizations believe their leadership pipeline is “Very Ready.” (Deloitte) In other words, we have a gap to close, a fairly large gap. But I believe Millennials have the potential to be great leaders specifically, because by our very nature, we have a desire to collaborate and elevate the people around us.

Why is it so important that an organization see Millennials as leaders? Because becoming a leader of people, provides the opportunity to make a real impact on the world, regardless of the organization you work for or the job you do. John Quincy Adams best sums it when he said,

“ If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more, you are a leader.”

That’s the definition of making an impact! Here are 3 ways Millennials can get their organization to view them as leadership ready?

Bring Your Character to Work

Character is both the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. It’s the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that you exemplify daily. It’s a combination or an accumulation of your thoughts and your actions. Ultimately, People Follow People, Not Titles.

So naturally, you have bring your character to work with you every day. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your character is showing at the office.

  • Lead by example
  • Exhibit confidence with humility
  • Own your character, not your reputation

Get Great at Reading Social Context

Non-verbal cues play a huge part in the way we communicate – in fact, nonverbal communication can have up to 93% more impact than actual words spoken.

How others perceive you through your non-verbal communication significantly impacts your effectiveness in business and as a leader. So it’s important that you are both able to read the nonverbal cues of others and send the right messages in order to better serve. Here are a few tips:

  • Have self awareness
  • Be aware of others
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Dress to the environment

Produce Results

One of the simplest, yet most important things Millennials forget is the importance of producing results. Can you directly tie your work performance to tangible business results?

Are you just completing tasks or are you producing results? The quickest and most efficient route to being considered for job promotion in any organization is the latter. The quickest and most efficient path for getting into a leadership role, is producing results particularly with others!

A parting thought: your base level leadership abilities are different than your coworkers, your boss’s or your CEO’s because your life and professional experiences are different. Take ownership of your leadership abilities; then focus on the things that will help get you to a leadership position. It is then and there that you will be able to make a real impact on this world regardless of where you work.


Top 5 Tuesday 1.12.15

Here is your weekly dose of Top 5 Tuesday: A list of things we are thinking, reading, watching, or doing to stay on top of our game and we think you should too:

Articles Worth Reading 

You Will be Punished

Anthony Iannarino writes The laws of success are equally strict in their demand for obedience.  We loved it.

Quotes Engrained in Our Minds

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog

What We’re Listening To

Write with Impact with Glen Leibowitz

Caleb Wojcik helps writers connect with readers through video.  Great podcast for anyone or organization wanting to dip their toe into the video waters.

What We’re Watching 


Youtube sensation Casey Neistat does what he does best in making this short video about being a “closer.”  We loved it.

Bonus Article

Editing Basics for Business

A guide to some basic editing theories that you can apply in any software.  Wistia puts out all kinds of great educational content and this piece is no different.

Tip of the Week 

Whats the most popular business application we use every day? Paper and Pen.  We write to do lists and come up with ideas on the good old fashion stuff.

Please let us know if there are suggestions for articles, quotes, shows, or tools we should highlight. Tweet us at @johngeades or @learn_loft.

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Top 5 Tuesday 1.5.16

Here is your weekly dose of Top 5 Tuesday: A list of things we are thinking, reading, watching, or doing to stay on top of our game and we think you should too:

Articles Worth Reading 

4 Ways to Become a Better Learner

Monique Valcour @moniquevalcour,  says to sustain success, you must develop learning agility. Learning agility is the capacity for rapid, continuous learning from experience. Interesting read to get detailed “hot to” to developing this learning agility.

Quotes Engrained in Our Minds

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”          – Jim Ryun  

Crush 2016.

What We’re Listening To

Write with Impact – Podcast 36

Justin Bariso joined Glenn Leibowitz to discuss writing on LinkedIn. He shares tips and strategies he uses to pick topics, plan and write posts, and engage with readers.  If you are interested in writing o LinkedIn or published a few posts this is a must listen too.

What We’re Watching 

Face to Face with Dabo Sweeney

In case you needed a team to root for in the NCAA National Championship  Football game, you probably should root for Clemson.  Hannah Storm sat down with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney to discuss the Tigers’ undefeated season, the attitude and intensity Swinney brings to the game and how his upbringing molded him.

Bonus Article

6 Things the Happiest Families  All Have in Common

Building great families is critical and family life is hectic. Most of us play it by ear and hope it works out well. Or maybe you haven’t started a family yet, but when you do you want to do it right.

Tip of the Week 

Whats the most popular business application we use every day? Final Cut Pro.  Our team of video editors never miss a day using final cut pro and wouldn’t use anything else.

Please let us know if there are suggestions for articles, quotes, shows, or tools we should highlight. Tweet us at @johngeades or @learn_loft.

For more great insight:

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The Best Compliment a Great Leader Can Give

I will never forget this moment. I was an enterprise sales rep selling complex B2B sales performance improvement solutions. A prospective customer requested a face-to-face meeting with their executive leadership in the room. Doing what most reps do, I pulled my VP of Sales (a man I respected a great deal) into the loop and requested he make the trip west with me.

Together we strategized, prepared, and practiced our pitch for hours and hours (that was his style). No more than 10 minutes into the meeting, I knew we were in trouble. Not only had our content missed the mark, but also my performance was poor. Needless to say, the hour and a half meeting only continued to roll down hill and we retreated with our tail between our legs.

Even though I had called my manager in for support and guidance, it was my meeting. I had put together the deck. I had kicked off the discussion. I owned the presentation, and I felt terrible. Rationally, I knew it wasn’t from a lack of preparation. Irrationally, I felt like a failure — someone not meant to sell deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In that dark moment, where I was questioning all the decisions I made in my career, my manager showed me why he was a true leader. He turned to me as we sat down in the rental car and gave the best compliment a leader can give,

“John, it’s okay”.

He knew I was hurting, upset, fuming, and embarrassed. That moment in time captured the true essence of leadership.

Although I think most professionals in management positions are working to understand what it means to be a great leader, truth is, it’s a constant battle. A manager’s first reaction, almost without fail, would have been to immediately go into coaching mode.

  • What I did wrong
  • How to fix it
  • Showing disappointment
  • Thinking about how this will affect the numbers

Hearing a man I deeply respect say, “John, it’s okay,” showed he trusted me. There is something so powerful about leaders openly exhibiting trust.

Rob LeBow, author of “Lasting Change” summarized the important of trust well:

“When people feel trusted, they’ll do almost anything under the sun not to disappoint the person who gave them the gift of trust.”

From that point forward, the compliment my mentor and leader gave me, made me not only want to work harder for him, but also made me never want to disappoint him (again). To top things off, we overcame the horrible meeting and won the prospect’s business. I know not all sales blunders turn out this way, so it makes me think my manager was even wiser than I could have imagined.

Today I use the compliment “It’s ok” and use it with my team in an effort to communicate my trust for the work they do. “It’s ok” for you to learn from this and I hope your able to use it in your organization.

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