The world of start-ups is a busy and crowded place. To get people through the day, most companies still rely on stars. The argument is that employees, no matter how talented, cannot be expected to run a company all on their own. The problem with this logic is that stars are more often than not simply not the best employees—they are good employees. You don’t need to rely on stars, you need to build a team.
The idea of hiring a star player from a rival club may seem like a smart idea to some. But it’s no guarantee to success. In fact, it’s almost always more trouble than it’s worth. Today’s transfer market is so complex and competitive that players are often only suited for the roles they play. And there’s no guarantee they’ll play well in their new team.
You need a team, not a star, to succeed. A recent study shows that individuals who achieve goals on a team are more likely to accomplish their own personal goals because they have access to other people’s skills, knowledge and experience. This may seem obvious, but it’s usually not the case in business. This is because most businesses are run by leaders who are star players themselves. It is rare to find a leader who has the talent and ability to help their team to succeed without being the star of the show.Three players have been in the spotlight at the 2018 World Cup: Leo Messi of Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Neymar of Brazil. But even with these high expectations, none of the three superstars managed to win the trophy. In fact, none of them reached the semifinals. To succeed, you need a team, not a star. Who qualified for the semi-finals? Three of the four semi-finalists – France, Croatia and Belgium – were teams with very good players, but without a single star overshadowing the rest of the team. The fourth team, England, is a team with character but without global superstars. Is this surprising? Probably not. We constantly compare current and past players and wonder if Messi and Ronaldo are better than Diego Maradona and Pele. But in reality, such comparisons are impossible. The game played in the 60s, 70s and 80s was completely different and much slower than today. There are many reasons for this, the main one being the backward pass rule, introduced in 1992 after the awful 1990 World Cup. The rule that the goalkeeper may not touch the ball when it is passed to him by a team-mate means that the players, especially in defence, must become much more technical and physical. The ability to throw the ball back to the goalkeeper is no longer a way to waste time and take a well-deserved rest, but can instead create a dangerous opportunity for the other team. As far as players go, Messi is constantly expected to do what Maradona did in 1986 and lead the Argentine national team to the title. But with today’s game, it’s almost impossible. The same goes for Ronaldo and Portugal. The teams that are successful are those with very good players, not one player who is superior to the team. Take the French champion, for example: Who’s the main star? Will it be Antoine Griezmann or rising sensation Kylian Mbappé? Both scored four goals in the tournament. But maybe it is also due to the defenders Pavard, Umtiti and Varane, who did a great job defensively and each of them could also score a goal. It was goalkeeper and captain Hugo Llauris who made a terrible mistake in the final, but has made some excellent saves in previous relegation games. To succeed, you need a team, not a star. They are all stars and that is what made France such a strong team. Go back four years and you’ll find the same characteristics in the German championship team, and four years earlier the Spanish champions had exactly the same face. This also applies to Croatia and Belgium. The Belgians had Hazzard or Lucao, De Bruyne or Fellaini to take them forward. The Croats have had their own hero every time. Once it was Mandzukic, once it was Modric, and once it was Rakitic. A team, not a superstar. The example of England is even more striking. The Three Lions have had some very good teams over the past 20 years with world class players such as David Beckham, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard. None of these teams made it past the quarter-finals. This time, however, England took a break at half-time for the first time in 28 years. They did it with a team full of players hungry for success, heroes who grew up in places like Millwall, Darlington and Wigan – a far cry from the movie stars who have played for England in the last decade. To succeed, you need a team, not a star. The real star of this team was not on the field, but on the bench. Manager Gareth Southgate is a born leader, a man who has been captain of every team he has played for. When he had to select players for his team, he chose those who reminded him of himself as a player, not the biggest stars on the field, but full of character and dedication. It will be very interesting to see if Argentina and Portugal learn their lesson over the next four years when it comes to fielding teams for the 2022 World Cup. Yes, Ronaldo will be 37 and Messi 35, but we can expect them to still be among the best players in the world. Will they be called up for the national team? Maybe whoever is coaching these teams should consult Swedish manager Janne Anderson. He was under intense pressure to call up Zlatan Ibrahimovic (36) for the World Cup as he recovers from injury, but Anderson refused. In the end, the Swedes reached the quarter-finals with their best result since 1994, far better than any tournament they have participated in with Zlatan. The lesson is clear: Lone superstars don’t win titles anymore. If you want a chance to win, you need to build a strong and balanced team.Business is not a solo activity. It’s a team effort, and in more ways than one. A good leader can make a huge difference to a small organization. The difference between a group with a leader and one without, is the extra effort that it takes to get the same result. There’s nothing wrong with having a leader or a star who can get results—but you don’t need one. In fact, it’s better to have a team of people all working towards the same goal, than a star with a team of people.. 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