Form Is Temporary, Class Is Permanent. Really?

rooneyForm is temporary class is permanent is a phrase I have often heard in a sporting context, and it’s usually used in the context of explaining why a perceived great has given a poor performance, or why we should over look other players in the future, in preference to the perceived great.

To say I hate this phrase would be a huge understatement. To me, it’s just an excuse, and it’s one that undermines a teams ability to reach its full potential.

The pretext is that great players will always be worth having in the team, no matter how badly they are performing because at some point, because of their class they will perform well again.

I am a much stronger believer in form, the adage you’re only as good as your last game is one that to me rings much truer.

This really came home to me this weekend as I was reading the reviews of an unlikely England sporting victory. England were 2-0 down to the Football World Champions in Germany, and yet they came back to win the game 2-3.

It was an epic performance, by a young, inexperienced England teams which included players as young as 19. Much of the press coverage was about how great this was and how much better things can be when some of the more experienced, class laden footballers, like Wayne Rooney, come back into the starting line up.

But this forgets how abject England were in the last World Cup, with Rooney and some of the others on the team. They get this benefit of the doubt because class is permanent but form is temporary. Yet Rooney’s run of poor form has been going for so long it now feels like it is permanent.

It’s true to say that he was truly a great player, but the weekends performance should be proof that his time has come to an end.

When we stick with what we believe to be the class players it restricts the opportunity of others, it acts to demotivate them and robs them of the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

This is just as true in the corporate world as it is in the-the sporting world, and we should look to at least be honest about what we are doing. We have favourites and we prefer to use them, to give them the opportunity.
This discussion about class or potential while interesting should not prejudice us and make us ignore either current poor performance in the hope that it will improve by itself or let good performers become demotivated just because with think their good form is temporary.

Good leaders make brave decisions and dropping poor performers and replacing them with good performers is one of those brave decisions.

Has your performance ever been overlooked because someone thought it was just good luck or temporary? If so I would love to hear from you.

If you want to improve your leadership, or your results, call us on +1 561 501 0888 to arrange a 30 minute strategy call to see how we can help.