The Perfect Boss: Dr. Axel Zein at TEDxStuttgart (Transcript)

This is Puyol, from Football Club Barcelona. He’s not the best player there. There are shinier stars like Lionel Messi and Iniesta and you name them. But he is the best leader.

Now in business, what happens is we take the best consulter and we make him head of the consulting team, instead of picking the best leader. Often in business, the promotion goes to the boss’ friend, or to the one kissing his rear, causing frustration and stagnation to the rest of the company.

Now this is a concept we have to take to business. If we make individual performance highly visible, this wouldn’t happen.

See in sports, if the team manager name somebody captain, and that person doesn’t deliver, mass media will kill them both. Why? Because performance is highly visible. And all of a sudden, things fall in place.


A cool thing they do in sports, is when they win. Boy, they celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. And this is something we should do in business. You know, there should be room for joy.

When a team delivers top performance, you have to reward them with money, hug their soul, celebrate with a team not only because they deserve it, celebrate because it makes them stronger.


So what I’m saying, is take these five concepts from sports and put them to business: The high performance culture; the extremely visible individual performance; the obsession with training; the way they pick their true leaders and not the fake ones. And the way they celebrate.

Now somebody might say, “Hm, the perfect boss, come on, that doesn’t exist, because after all nobody is perfect.”


And you’re right. Nobody is perfect.

But when it comes to goal setting, I’d rather try and be a perfect boss, than to strive to be a mediocre one. And speaking of excellent managers, this, ladies and gentlemen, is Pep Guardiola. He’s former team manager of the Football Club Barcelona.


During the four years he was there as a team manager, his club entered sixteen competitions out of which they won fourteen. They won the competition not the game. A stellar performance.


Now what I’ve found very fascinating, is what Mr. Guardiola told his team, the first time he met them. He said:

“I don’t expect you to win titles. I expect you to give it all. And when you’ve given it all you’ve got and we lose, I will defend you. But if you don’t give it all you’ve got, then you’re in the wrong team.”

What a beautiful thing to say. Because ladies and gentlemen, for imperfect human beings like us, giving it all we’ve got, is the highest level of perfection we can achieve.


When we’ve given it all we’ve got, we are as perfect as we can be. So being a perfect manager, at home, at work, at whatever you do, at whatever we do, lies only within ourselves.

The perfect manager, the perfect boss, lies within you.


Thank you.

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By Pangambam S

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