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New Book Could Offer Lessons to CT Pols: Treat Challenges Like Soccer, Not Football

August 2, 2018 By Andrew Lautz
New Book Could Offer Lessons to CT Pols: Treat Challenges Like Soccer, Not Football

At first glance, Peter Loge's "Soccer Thinking for Management Success" has nothing to do with Connecticut. But the book – with lessons on soccer, business, and politics – could teach politicians in the state a thing or two.

“In football the coach and his assistants plan a play and get it to the quarterback. … At the end of the play the game stops, the coaches evaluate the situtation and send in another play,” Peter Loge, soccer fan and 25-year political and policy consultant writes, in the early pages of his new book “Soccer Thinking for Management Success.” “Soccer is very different than football.”

Loge’s book clocks in at just over 170 pages, but the author packs a ton of life, work, and on-the-field lessons into those 170 pages, ones that managers and staffers alike could learn from. And, I would argue, Connecticut politicians can learn from the book as well.

See, in a charged political climate, Connecticut pols are tackling challenges like it’s a game of football: one play to the next; political attack here, closing one year’s budget gap there.

But Connecticut’s problems are more like an ongoing, 90-minute soccer match than a play-to-play football game. The state is facing down $11 billion in deficits over the next four years, long-term debt problems, structural issues with state pensions, and a tax and business climate that’s unfavorable to keeping businesses and people in the state.

The state would be well-served to establish a few, concrete goals (example: bring Connecticut’s debt to a more sustainable level of state GDP within a certain time period) and work towards scoring those goals against opponents (a few opponents in 2018: time, party politics, entrenched interests across the ideological spectrum).

Come for the mangement lessons in Loge’s book, though, and stay for an interesting and engaging read.

Loge peppers his lessons on soccer and management in the book with interesting anecdotes, thought experiments, and soccer-heavy metaphors that a fan or player of the game would appreciate.

The author certainly brings a variety of perspectives: in addition to his experience managing a congressional campaign and running a congressional office, Loge most recently served as an adviser to President Obama’s commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He’s now an associate professor at George Washington University.

But where Loge’s advice comes to life is through the world of soccer. He’s a long-time player (now in 45-plus leagues), a D.C. United season-ticket holder, and a “third-generation Arsenal Footbal Club fan.”

In attempting to bridge the worlds of sports – soccer, in particular, and all its particularities – with the worlds of business and politics, Loge establishes some connections that few have synthesized and explained well. His book leaves the reader thinking about how to a better manager and a better employee.

Maybe Connecticut’s leaders could think better about the long-term challenges the state is facing down with this book.

Loge’s book can be purchased on Amazon.