Last Saturday, F.C. Barcelona won their match in Spanish Primera Division at UD Almeria by no less than 8 goals to 0. That made them take the first place in the league table, but just for two hours. Then their eternal rivals from Real Madrid won their match against Bilbao by 5-1 and jumped to the top of the league again.
Like is nearly every year, these two teams are dominating the league this year: Both have won 10 of their 12 leagues matches so far.
Three days later, Real won their Champions League match at Amsterdam by 4-0, even though they were resting some players with light injuries. The next day, Barcelona won easily 3-0 at Athens.
For ages, these two teams have been among the strongest in Europe. At this moment they may even be the best two teams on their continent or even in the world.
It’s the perfect timing for the upcoming clash of these two on the upcoming match days in the Spanish league. If only the timing was better!
What my sound like a contradiction actually isn’t one: This highlight of the season, the match of two great teams in perfect shape, can not be played on Sunday night, which would have been the first choice, as on Sunday the regional elections in Catalonia will take place. For security reasons it will not be possible to play the match on the same day. It has also been denied to play the game on Saturday, the natural second choice. That’s why the “Clasico”, one of the biggest league games in the world of soccer, will be played on Monday.
Right after the date was communicated two weeks ago, the complaints came in:
Real Madrid’s general director Jorge Valdano: “It’s the best way to help football lose its prestige”. Madrid’s sporting Director Miguel Pardeza: “Monday night is not a fitting time for a game of this magnitude”. Barca player Xavi: “The Clasico will lose its soul”.
No, it won’t.
It will lose some viewers in Asia and the Americas due to the inconvenient timing during the night between Monday and Tuesday or right in the middle of the work day. But in Spain, everybody will watch the match and the Camp Nou stadium will be as packed as usual. Also the players won’t have lost any of their capabilities on Monday, and if the game will not live up to the high expectations, it wouldn’t have done so on Sunday either.
But: Monday is different from usual.
In soccer and in business, whenever things are going different from usual, many people automatically react in a negative way. They feel bad when they can’t stick to the plan. The bad news for them: More and more often there is no plan. The environment is more flexible, changing faster and fuzzier than ever.
Doing things different from how they were done before is not a problem, in many cases it’s the only chance to remain successful.
When the NFL introduced Monday Night Football in 1970, there were probably also many who didn’t like the idea. Today, Monday Night Football stands for the top match of the weekend and high TV ratings, it is established as practically the only successful sports event on TV on Monday, unlike Saturday or Sunday when many events are fighting for viewers.
Officials in Madrid or Barcelona might as well have reacted by appreciating the opportunity to play on a day on which no other match is on and that the Clasico will not have to share the stage with others.
So what would your reaction have been like? And what is it like when things don’t go as usual in your company?
If you now say “I like it and appreciate the opportunities” – and as a reader of this blog that should be the, well, usual reaction – why not go one step further: Why not force “unusual” situations?
Creativity is based on the ability to break usual ways of thinking, so forcing yourself to leave the typical paths is what can establish a competitive edge.
All you have to do is find your Monday.