Aime Jacquet was a tough coach with his players. He used two differ
ent tools to consolidate and motivate his team:
First, he used pride. Pride is always a good engine to move people,
and you can use it without restriction. You can repeat to the team members that, if they are part of this team, it is because they have been selected for their high value and they are the only people able to reach the established goal. You can say that a lot of times before they find it boring. As a counterpart to pride, you may demand that team members be fully dedicated to the team success, and it is necessary, from time to time, to repeat that they must be at their highest level of commitment and of professionalism
Secondly, he pushed the members to be better and better. He did not hesitate to heavily criticize things that were close to perfect but not perfect. I have seen videos recorded during debriefing after games or training. Aime Jacquet was sometimes very rude with the players he considered not to have done their duty. When you see this from outside the team, you are astonished that the players have accepted such heavy criticism. But they were motivated to be world champions and they worked hard and accepted criticism to hit their target.
The best example was Lilian Thuram. After a game, Aime told him that he played his role at the back well, but was unable to score any goal. The game after against Croatia, Lilian scored twice. He said later that the appreciation of Aime motivated him.
In short, the message was:
•You are the best of the teams and you are the only persons able to
become world champions.
•But I will never allow you to play less than 100 percent of your value as long as you are part of the team.
Being tough with team members is not easy inside a company for many reasons. Usually, the team members are older than soccer players, and are less accepting of rough criticism. Don't forget also that, after the end of the team, most of the members will still be your colleagues and you will have to work with them again.
Another thing to consider is that, if a player had left the team, he would not have been world champion. You do not always have such strong motivations to keep persons inside the team and in the company. Also, you must be careful. Losing a team member who does not feel well inside the team is always the obvious sign of a failure in the team life and in the relationship inside the team.
A third tool was also at work but is not the panacea. The players were entitled to get a bonus in cash for each game they won after qualifying for the quarter-finals.
There is a lot to say about cash bonuses and the way they can help operate a team. It is not a panacea, but it could be effective. I experienced it in a large English company in which a project team was not working well and fast enough to meet the scheduled due date. The project manager decided to give a £5,000 ($8,000) bonus upon completion of the project to each team member without any consideration of the actual salary of each team member. Everyone would receive exactly the same amount of cash. This amount was very high, and for some team members, was up to three months of net salary. The bonus was set on a "no success, no cash" basis.
Success meant that five country managers and the European manager signed an acceptance document, which was presented to the team at the end of the project. And it worked.
Cash bonus could be a good motivation but you must strictly follow three basic rules.
•It must be decided at the beginning of the team life. Introducing a bonus as an attempt to transform a nonworking team in a successful team is often a failure. In some cases, the bonus can be given at the end of the team as a special reward for a very successful team.
•It must be tentative and worth it to work hard to get it. Nobody in your company needs charity, but a really good bonus is always ap preciated.
•It must be set on a "no success, no cash" basis and the success must be easy to formalize.
To Be Continued
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