Wembley was a very emotional place to be last night at the England v France football game.  Watching two great teams, from two great nations, standing for one great reason.  The recent events in Paris came as such a huge shock to the world and underlines how fragile life is.  My thoughts go out to all the families and friends of anyone affected.

It does upset me to think about the behavioural change we need on a global basis, but I don’t think this is a place to air political views, so back to recognising some success for English football.   

The England football team have worked extremely hard to top their Euro 2016 qualifying group, winning all ten of its matches, becoming only the fifth national side to qualify for a European Championship with a 100% record.  A great leap in attempting to re-establish England as a football superpower once again, following one of the worst World Cup campaigns in history in Brazil 2014.

Roy Hodgson and more recently Martin Glenn, the new CEO of the FA, have had to change a number of behaviours to establish a winning culture in the mindset of the England players and backroom staff.  This “Team England” doctrine is also hard to establish given the players are attending England training camps often with a certain amount of “baggage”.  Inter-club rivalries from their Premier League teams, and the churn of England managers over the recent term must mean that players, to a certain extent, have “heard it all before”.

When you listen to Martin Glenn speak, as I recently had the opportunity to do at our Changing Behaviours event at The Ivy, he spoke, from his experience, of three enduring truths that will help anyone change behaviour whatever the situation. People having a willingness to listen, a company culture that embraces change and an understanding that things don’t always need to be done differently – they just need to be done better. 

Martin is lucky in one respect that when he joined the FA everyone admitted that there was a fundamental problem within English football and therefore would be more open to the changes he proposed.  Within business he admits it may be more complicated as the behaviour change required may not be as visible to everyone.

So, the Euro 2016 football results speak for themselves and behaviour change is easier when people understand and pull in the same direction at the same time.  Martin Glenn and Roy Hodgson have done an excellent job establishing a real shift post Brazil 2014.  OK, so there’s been mixed results in the last few days, against Spain and then France, but for behaviour change to work, and become embedded, it takes time and on-going commitment, so let’s hope with Martin Glenn at the helm, England become world-beaters again sometime soon.

To see Martin Glenn’s interview at The CI Group Changing Behaviours Event click here.