“Go out and enjoy” is the most famous phrase of Johan Cruyff and a good summary of his philosophy.
It was his wonderful harangue before starting the final of the 1992 European Cup. The first that Barça won after two painful previous failures.
They say that it was key to breaking the blockade and the “scenic fear” that the players had before the responsibility they had ahead of them. Facing them with naturalness, empathy and determination.
Possibly “terrified” as Rafael Santandreu would say (great psychologist and happiness expert): will we be able to win? What will they say about us if we don’t win? When will we have this opportunity again when it is so difficult to reach a final? Very human reactions that limit us and prevent us from growing and contributing to our level.
Cruyff summed up in three words the best people management style (possibly without knowing it): one that combines inspiration with demand, support with challenge and drags us to achieve our best version and performance without mental clippers.
Let’s analyze its deep meaning from a performance and talent management perspective:
- “Get out”: take a step forward, show self-confidence, show yourself to others, be visible, innovate, have impact and courage. Look at the present and the future. Do not remain anchored in the failures of the past.
- “Enjoy”: fluid, abandon your limiting beliefs, surface your intuition, value your innate individual talent in favor of the team, be happy within the tremendous effort that we will have to go to victory.
In addition to his talent, the foundations of that collective success were commitment, effort, teamwork, and individual self-responsibility within an exciting and well-defined style of play supported by touch and background and improved over low heat for years.
All this combined with the magic and creativity provided by Cruyff and a great diversity of profiles: the technique and art of Laudrup, Koeman or Guardiola, the aggressiveness and offensive character of Stoichkov or Julio Salinas and the good defensive work of Ferrer, Nando or Juan Carlos, with Zubizarreta as great goalkeeper.
They were not a group but a cohesive team: each one was very good in his own and made it available to the group to improve the overall result. All this in an environment of trust that did not prevent improvement feedbacks to colleagues when necessary.
Fear and illusion are the two main levers of motivation. Cruyff opted for the illusion and for sensitively facing the natural burden of the 5 minutes before starting a critical event that demands the best of us.
He changed the focus and triumphed: from fear to fire in his eyes, energy in his legs and agility in decisions.
And in addition that one triumphed was the germ so that the mentality of the club began to transform and really happened to believe that it could be a reference in European football, later achieving another 4 European Cups already in the 2000s.
Excellence often lies in simplicity, in putting intuition on our rational bases of experience and know-how to achieve extraordinary results.
Cruyff said: “Playing football is easy but playing easy football is the hardest thing ever.”
This article has also been published in RRHH Digital