Today I will talk about a very sad story. And the link from sports to business is quite controversial this time, so please do not understand this as a one-on-one comparison, but as an abstract link instead.
This time we go to France:
The issue of hooliganism is not a new one in soccer, however what happened on February 28 at the Parc Des Princes stadum in Paris is somewhat different. Yann Lorence, 37 year old supporter of home team Paris St. Germain (PSG), was hit and kicked so heavily that he fell into a coma and died three weeks later at a hospital.
Even though the groups in questions still deny their participation it seems pretty well proven that Lorence was killed by supporters of his own team.
PSG has two huge groups of hooligans. On the one side (literally, the groups are also located on opposing ends of the stadium) the “Boulogne” section, on the other side the “Auteuil” section.
The Boulogne section is the older of the two groups. In the early 80s, heavily influenced by the European cup matches of teams like Bayern Munich (1975) and Liverpool FC (1981) in Paris, the very inhomogeneous supporter group introduced more and more aggressive behavior to the stadium and started to move into a political direction. The stand became “white”, a nationalist and right-wing group.
The Auteuil section in contrast developed as an opposition to the chaotic, right wing Boulogne group. Launched in 1993, it used to be a very open-minded, pacifist bunch of people with different ethnical backgrounds. However, over the years the provocations by the Boulogne group led to a higher degree of radicalization among the Auteuil group.
When in 2003 the Auteuil stand showed a banner stating “the future is ours”, it became clear that the two groups were poised to fight for the leadership role. The murder of Boulogne supporter Yann Lorence was just the latest and saddest development in this fight.
What’s you initial feeling when you hear this story of the two opposing supporters groups of the same soccer team? Probably something like “Those crazy hooligan freaks!”
It is obvious that physical violence and hooliganism are not acceptable and is clear that I will not compare hooligans to managers. Still, let’s not run over this story too quickly.
How often have you seen people in your company fight each other (obviously in a higher class way than by punching and kicking) to define who is in the leadership role instead of trying to support their common case (or team)?
It’s so pointless. In a stadium and in an office.
Internal conflicts take away the power that is required to support the mission. In a soccer stadium the only thing that counts is which team will win. On a market the only thing that counts is which company will win. It’s not about which individual or which groups has more power within an organization. Still in many companies a lot of the energy is sacrificed in those internal fights.
When you realize that someone tries to involve you in an internal fight, stop him. Remind him on the common mission you have. Don’t waste your time and power fighting each other, start supporting the team instead.