The power of football as a metaphor for life was never clearer to me than on Saturday when judging the International Negotiation Competition whilst, in the background, two titans of the modern game were crashing out of the World Cup.
The most obvious connection was that in Cardiff we could indeed admire the fresh-faced sparkle of the next wave of talent. The 28 teams present were each national champions - young lawyers at the start of their careers - and they fought hard for the world championship, showing a remarkably high level of negotiation performance, clear evidence of good training and a commitment to developing important professional and life skills.
But perhaps even more significantly, the falls of Messi and Cristiano reminded me of one of the lessons from my colleague Phil Williams from his MasterClass before the start of the competition. In his former world of crisis negotiation, "negotiators don't command and commanders don't negotiate" so, unlike the movies where the negotiator is typically a maverick hot shot, in real life there is always a team of lead and secondary negotiators, logistics and records co-ordinator, and incident command liaison. Each team member is highly trained, and has a specialist role to fulfill, but just as in football it is their ability to "think on their feet" that is important, and it is the power of the team rather than the individual which leads to enduring success even if the individual is a GOAT.
These lessons apply equally well to commercial negotiation and, just like Father Time, they remain undefeated in every sport and facet of life.
(GOAT = Greatest of all-time)
This is about Father Time, who remains undefeated in every sport and every facet of life, a point never more obvious than on a night when fresh-faced sparkle eliminated grizzled, labouring veterans and shone a spotlight on the next wave of talent now standing centre-stage. After a night on which the two greatest players of a generation were both eliminated from the World Cup as part of teams that played to less than the sum of their parts, it was youth and cohesion that prevailed over an increasing obsession with the individual