. The Transom .

Monday, June 19, 2006

How Ghana can change your business

This past weekend provided an example of why you can't always bet on the big name, highest paid, most popular or most expected-to-win team, whether that team is a business or a pee-wee football team.

In the World Cup, there are few surprises. The big soccer nations (Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, etc) always do well. It's almost a tradition. But then there is Ghana. The Czech Republic had the pleasure of playing Ghana, a team that no one picked to make it past the first round. The spread on the Ghana-Czech game was four goals. Ghana was supposed to lose. They were expected to lose. Everyone knew they would lose. But no one told Ghana...

Ghana dominated the game from the start, scoring in the first 2 minutes. They played with more tempo, more enthusiasm and more heart and won the game, easily.

Last night, South Korea was playing the 1998 World Cup champs, France. Again, France was supposed to rout the Koreans. What happened? Korea came out hungry and hot. France came out looking like they expected to win. The result was a tie. A huge accomplishment for the Koreans, and an embarrassing result for France.

In the US Open, after Tiger Woods spent the weekend at home, Phil Mickelson was the top ranked player in the field. He was at or near the top of the leaderboard all week. Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie were all in contention. So was Geoff Ogilvy. Who? This was Father's Day. This was Phil going for three majors in a row. This was New York. It was supposed to end with Phil holding the trophy. He was expected to be the best. But he didn't win. Ogilvy, who most fans have never heard of, played his heart out and won by a shot.

So what's the moral of the story in the business world? Just because you aren't the biggest, or the marquee company, or the one expected to win, you can. Hunger, heart and determination blow past reputation and ego every time. I'd rather go with a smaller, hungrier firm than a large one that expects my business. Why? Because the underdog isn't going to stop fighting. He won't rest on his laurels. He'll prove that he belongs.

Here's to Ghana, South Korea and Geoff Ogilvy for having the fire to show that it isn't the name that wins you the heart of the people, it's the heart of your people that wins you the name.


  • You are absolutely right Rob. People tend to go “All-In” on big names due to their history of successes. That is their safe bet. It is rarely even thought of to consider the little guy who worked tirelessly to outshine all the rest of the other teams. Experience can lead to success. However, that is not the only component that makes one the “top dog,” it is passion as well. Passion can be a better selling point than experience because it stirs up the desire to learn, improve and work hard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 6:50:00 AM  

  • I am a big sports fan, and this analogy really resonates with me. Despite being a fan of some stalwart teams, I'm a bigger fan of the underdog. Especially when the players or teams play with such passion and conviction that they win regardless of the final score.

    Love them or hate them, the Boston Red Sox improbable trip to the World Series, coming back from 3-0 down to the Yankees in the AL Championship... Well, that's the stuff of legends.

    Or Lance Armstrong's post-cancern performances in the Tour de France. Or the Pittsburgh Steelers winning the Super Bowl with a young, inexperienced quarterback in Big Ben. The list of great accomplishments, and the inspiration they can provide, goes on and on. That's one reason I'll always be a sports fan.

    By Blogger Jason Little, at Tuesday, June 20, 2006 9:02:00 AM  

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