How can a technical author learn lessons from the German football revolution?

We tried to resist a World Cup themed article, but with three days to go, we’ve finally succumbed. Rod Sloane pointed us to an article on the BBC Web site on how Jürgen Klinsmann and Joachim Löw have transformed the German football team into a successful and stylish unit.

Flickr photo by moochida

Flickr photo by moochida

So what did they do? They:

1. Gave the team an identity. This needed to be consistent with its own culture and specific environment.

No matter what your job is, you need to identify yourself with the work that you are doing and be happy.

2. Established shared objectives. They asked the coaches and players three things:

  • How they wanted to play,
  • How they wanted to be seen to be playing by the rest of the world, and
  • How the German public wanted to see them playing.

If we could define all of that, we thought we could lay out how we wanted to work and then, from there, sort out the training and paperwork behind the scenes. What we ended up with amounted to 10 or 12 bullet points laying out our proposals. We then announced that it was our intention to play a fast-paced game, an attacking game and a proactive game.

It’s a simple concept: Identify the work you and everyone else wants to you to do, and then initiate the steps to achieve this.

They then communicated these objectives in detail to all the coaches and teams throughout the Deutscher Fußball-Bund. They wrote a manual, in other words.

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