Lionel Messi is now the leading goalscorer in La Liga, having surpassed a record that has stood since 1955. Messi is an outstanding talent, however he is the first to acknowledge that his achievements could not be gained on his own; he is part of a team. With the 2014 CIOB conference focusing on “Inspiring The Future of Construction“, there are many aspects of Messi’s career that the UK construction industry could learn from.
Messi’s achievements are certainly worthy of reporting, however is his success just down to his prodigious talent, being part of a great team or both? Whilst this can be debated, what can’t is that … success rarely happens overnight.
Success generally occurs because there has been a clear vision for the future supported by a plan that has been implemented. In the case of Messi, his success can be traced back to when his talent was recognised and developed by Barcelona, the club he has played for since the age of 11.
Barcelona has enjoyed several sustained periods of success, the first in the early 1990’s under the leadership of Johan Cruyff. Cruyff, a legend in his own right, had a vision and plan routed in developing young talent and creating a style of play very different from other teams. The approach was successful and was replicated again in the Messi era. The nucleus of the team Messi has played in included many who have come through the Barcelona youth system; they understand each other and the style of play that is expected of them. It is a style that others have now imitated and indeed improved.
But what does this have to with construction?
I would suggest that Barcelona has influenced world football, not the other way around. Whilst it is laudable that the UK construction industry creates persuasive reports like Construction 2025, the real influencers of change are the leaders of the industry’s companies. And I would ask these leaders:
- What is your vision for the future?
- Is your plan in place and being implemented?
- How are you recognising the talent you need for the changing future?
- How are you nurturing, developing and retaining this talent?
- Do all your team know the way you will be operating in the future?
Success does not happen overnight, and whilst 2025 may seem like a long way off, it’s just ten short years away! Just remember, it’s ten years since Messi made his debut.