The Power Of Momentum

So, what did you think of the England Belgium match last night? I am no football aficionado but it all seemed like a bit of a wet lettuce to me.

I’m not going to comment on the game but what I was interested in was the huge debate, before and afterwards, about whether one draw was easier than the other and whether we would be better off losing to get that draw or winning to maintain momentum?

Momentum is an interesting psychological construct and one that I have often felt England have struggled with. In “recent” history it would seem that an early goal does England no favours.

You know the play…

England go one up and then retire to their own half to defend. They stop attacking because this puts them at risk of a counter attack and instead go from playing to win to playing to not lose. The momentum changes and for the next half of the game, England defend valiantly as hell breaks loose on their goal.

Eventually, of course, the inevitable happens and the other team equalise. England rally but it is to no avail because momentum is going in the other direction.

The emotional phenomenon referred to as momentum has been observed in many areas of life including political campaigns, investment in stock markets, in sports, and in business. Indeed, momentum can occur in any situation in life where there are tests of performance which follow in sequence.

Personally, I think that the discussion about one route being easier than the other is laughable. Any team can perform in any game, particularly in the knock out stages of a world cup, and thinking about cherry-picking your competition is not the mindset of a winner. Nonetheless, many have gone on record both before and after the match saying that a loss might not be a bad thing including some top pundits and even Matthew Syed in the Times.

This is in conflict with the research of some scientists who argue that momentum cannot be ignored. They would argue that success is more likely to be followed by further success and deliberately losing, even for an easier draw, might well break that success and lead to more losses.

And momentum is important in business too. We all know that. We talk about being “on a roll” or “in the zone” and we have periods when our sales teams cannot stop winning clients or our businesses seem to be in the news winning award after award. Momentum is real and it is impacting your business.

Here are my top 7 tips for creating and maintaining momentum in your business…

  1. Have a clear vision and set clear goals for your teams.
    Great teams have visions bigger than themselves. They stand for something. They believe in something.
  2. Focus on the positive.
    Focus on past successes. Focus on skills and strengths you have.
  3. Define world-class behaviours.
    Far too many teams are focused on results. Focus on behaviours. Focus on actions. As Batman says, “It is not who I am, it is what I do that defines me.”
  4. Celebrate success.
    Reinforce wins. Celebrate the successes of individuals and your teams. If you’re not having many, come up with smaller ones. Create a success culture.
  5. Be a 10.
    Spend time thinking about what a 10 looks like and replicate those beliefs and behaviours. If you do not identify you at your best, what chance do you have of delivering on it?
  6. Learn.
    Reframe negative situations as learning. Digest and implement those learnings and then let them go and move on. See them as stepping stones on your journey not blocks in the road.
  7. Involve everyone.
    Mass creates momentum. One person can drive a train whilst others sit on it but to run a rail network you need everyone involved not just one great train driver.

And what about England?

I don’t have the answers. Clearly, some momentum has been lost. Negative press and questions about Southgate’s choices will do that. Losing will do that. And they did lose. No matter how much easier the route may prove (or not) to be, winners do not like losing. Making Harry Kane et al sit and watch their side lose will hurt. Not winning the group will hurt.

And yes, they may be able to isolate themselves, saying that the real team did not play. I hope so. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, have a think about how you can create and sustain the momentum in your teams and your business (or even for yourself personally). And if you want “World Cup winners”, give me a call to discuss your next conference or bringing my ‘I am 10′ programmes into your organisation.

Call 0845 838 5958.

Until next time, have a great weekend, GO ENGLAND, and be a ’10’.

About the author: Gavin Ingham
Gavin Ingham is a speaker and author on mental toughness and will help you to Be More, Do More & Have More in your business and in your life. For all of the latest news, podcasts, videos, tips and strategies join his newsletter. Sign up to the newsletter