Day 159: Leadership Lessons From FIFA 12

I have to tell you that I’m not a huge football fan. If you were to ask me about Manchester United’s latest signings or Tottenham’s playing style, I’d give you nothing. But I’m borderline addicted to FIFA 12, a football simulating video game.


I’m partial to Barcelona myself (purely and shamelessly for their high ratings on the game) and must admit that almost everything I know about football is derived from the ridiculous number of FIFA 12 matches that I’ve played. Apologies to die-hard football fans, I’m just more interested in the video game than the beautiful game itself. Here are a few observations I’ve made from playing this incredibly addictive game:

1. Timing is everything.

FIFA is quite a sophisticated game – and it should be too. They’ve been revising the game every year for as long as I can remember. Whether you want to pass, shoot or tackle, timing is more important than ever. Mistime a pass and the interception could cost you a goal. Press the ‘shoot’ button too late and the opposing goalie will be all over you before you know it. Slide tackle at the wrong time and you’re looking at a red card. Timing is everything. Small mistakes can cost you the whole game.

It should be needless to say, but timing is crucial in leadership. Whether you’re trying to pick the right moment to talk to that problematic member of the team or announce a big but crucial change, it’s usually vitally important that the time is right. Otherwise you could hurt, offend or damage your chances of having maximum impact and effectiveness in whatever field you’re in. Time it right and the reward could be huge!

2. You are only as good as your team allows you to be.

The reality is that playing as Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester City is a very different experience to playing as Reading FC. Just like real life, the abilities of the players in the former teams are much higher than those in the latter, therefore making it much easier to play with. Suddenly, playing well is much less of a challenge and you might even find yourself scoring some goals that you could only dream of with lower rated teams.

What is your team like? If your team is sorely lacking in ability, you will find it much more difficult to be at your best. However, having a strong team at your disposal ensures that you can work together to achieve great things. If you’re in a fantastic team, it’s your job to do your team justice and be at your best. If you are in a poor team, what can you do to raise the overall standard? How can you inspire your team to work better together?

3. Choose your shots carefully.

In FIFA 12, you can shoot from anywhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll score from anywhere. You also have a variety of different shot-types to choose from – do you want to chip the ball over the keeper, curve it into the top corners of the net or hit it with everything you have to ensure it goes in? You have a split second to decide and the wrong choice produces a simple result. NO GOAL. Get it right and you’ve won the game!

Every email, conversation and interaction is your shot on goal. I have the privilege of leading a youth worship team and every conversation is a potential opportunity to impact the members of that team in some way. If one of them misbehaves, do I scold them, encourage them or ask them why they chose to take the action that they did? Often, there’s only a split second to decide and that conversation could either help them to grow or hinder them. It’s all about picking the right shot. Think about a potentially prosperous situation that you’re in. How are you going to approach it? What approach, or shot will you take in order to score?

A few observations from FIFA 12 for you!


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