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Strategy : what can the defeat of the brazilian football team teach any strategic Intelligence pro

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I waited a little bit before writing about the humiliation the national German football team over their brazilian opponents on the World Cup. For this, one reason : taking the time to think about it.

In fact, there are several lessons any Strategic Intelligence pro could learn from this. Some of them remain to be studied, such as the management of the crisis that will shake brazilian football.

But one of them emerged already : never forget the Pareto Principle. According to Vilfredo Pareto, the father of neoclassical optimality, 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. In a football team, 20% of the (field) players are actors of 80% of the team’s game. Which makes 2 field players out of 10 (let’s forget the goalkeeper).

In the brazilian team, the 2 field players were Thiago Silva, as a defender, and Neymar as a striker. With these two player away from the playground, and no substitute for game animation, especially in the midfield, Brazil was in a tricky situation. And neither David Luiz nor Fred were able to replace their influence on Brazil game during this semifinal.

If you are a HR manager, remember that 80% of the job done in your company comes from 20% of your staff. If you are commercial, 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers. Which does not mean that you have to get rid of the extra 80%. Just be aware that they represent 20% of your business.

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