Is there a lesson for business networks in Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup?


Not too long ago I wrote a blog series on the transformation of Brazil’s soccer playing model from an individualistic style to a network-oriented style. In the early 90s, more than two decades since the last World Cup championship title and Brazil faced an interesting juxtaposition – continue with what led to past triumphs of Pelé and his peers, or move on with the new rules of the game.

The new rules were clear – minimise the individual wizardry of foot play, dribbling and nimble dexterous touches, and replace these with the power-play of networks of players moving in formations to conquer the opponents by outwitting them, by outsmarting them, and by outnetworking them using a better method. In the in the same series,

I contrasted Brazilian successful transformation with the failure of Indian hockey to transform itself. Under somewhat similar conditions, the Indian selectors, the coaches, the trainers and the players – all struggled to re-produce their stellar success of decades past. Therefore, the blame game has started and now all parties are blaming one another for the failure.

There were a number of useful lessons to be drawn from this successful transformation of the Brazilian soccer which I wrote about in that article series. However, the World Cup 2014 semi-final match between Germany and Brazil proved that their transformation was not as complete as I had thought. No matter how much the world wanted them to win, their traumatic 7-1 loss was a harsh reality still mourned over by many.

This loss, to a formidable networked style play of German team, has at least three important lessons:

A network is only as strong as its weakest link:

Brazil’s defence was always suspect, but without Thiago Silva, there was really no defence left. Everyone at the back, from the goalkeeper to the rest of the defence team was left wringing their hands in futile gestures as the German scoring machine outnetworked them on every front.

Risk-management and security of network is paramount:

If your network relies on one or two stars – watch out. Analysts have been asking a lot of questions about post-Steve Jobs Apple for exactly the same reason. Protect your best network assets – but also try to make them redundant by making rest of your network assets of somewhat equal capability. What would have happened if Neymar and Thiago were playing in the match? More importantly, why was the rest of the team so heavily dependent on them?

When two networks compete – stronger one wins:

No secrets here – except for the fact that the competition in business is also now between two business networks, and not between two individual companies. Those companies that manage to formulate and utilise stronger business networks will always outclass their less well-networked competitors.

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  • Andrew says:

    I read about this case related to the business network. I didn’t have too much knowledge of this case but as I experienced in my business it’s really the fight between the Business network. Always win stronger business network in competition.

  • Matthew says:

    Absolutely right your network is your worth but I have a query which I observed by this link:

    “Why Businesses and Governments Need to Stop Trying to Secure Their Networks?”
    Moving to a zero-trust network, where all the services an organization needs — including file sharing and email — are hosted in the cloud, is the best way to contain the damage of any single hack.

    Fifty years of computer network design have enabled big companies to share information and applications with employees around the world, keeping them in sync, growing businesses, and generating wealth. Networks are the fabric of globalization, and access to them is based on trust: If you have the right credentials, you are allowed in.

    But the time for trust is over. All new employees — and every new digital device that they carry — increase the risk of bad actors on the outside (and inside) of an organization getting into its network and then moving from machine to machine to do mischief.

    Do you have any suggestion?

  • Laurie Dawn says:

    Paramount’s Security Incident Management and Risk Management solutions ensure that you stay ahead of tomorrow’s threats…always! Managing security incidents is not just a fundamental need for security itself, but is driven by both internal and external compliance requirements as well. Organizations can quickly exhaust their security resources hunting down false positives or tracking issues that, in the end, are just not business critical.

  • Jennifier says:

    Risk is the main cause of uncertainty in any organisation. Thus, companies increasingly focus more on identifying risks and managing them before they even affect the business. The ability to manage risk will help companies act more confidently on future business decisions. Their knowledge of the risks they are facing will give them various options on how to deal with potential problems.

  • Miranda says:

    The winner takes all the appreciation and reward. Competition is an inevitable part of the business world, for businesses of any size. It is not a necessary evil, but rather an important part of the business ecosystem. In fact, competition can be an effective tool for growing and improving your business. Competition is the rivalry between businesses to increase sales and acquire more customers by regularly adjusting to market needs and demands.

  • Lucricia Mrohon says:

    Good article Vivek. I agree with you that the competition between individuals, companies and sports teams is important. Competition makes people innovative. Innovation is crucial to the progress of any business. It brings about new ideas and sees them getting effectively tested in a relatively short amount of time. If things were going well for any business, it probably would take the businesses longer to brainstorm and implement new ideas.

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