The parallels between sport and business have been written and spoken about for many years and Joost Mees, Managing Director – Head of Luxembourg, knows more than most.
Here he shares his reflections on strong year on and off the pitch in Luxembourg:
The importance of shared goals, strong leadership and developing a winning mindset could equally be used in either sphere but for me, the most significant aspect between the two is collective resilience, when things are not going your way.
As the saying from Mike Tyson goes, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” While I have never been a boxer, I’ve certainly been on the end of some difficult moments, in sport and in business.
That is when you find out about your own true character, and also those of the teammates and colleagues around you.
This year, I have had the privilege and honour of leading the Luxembourg Men’s National Cricket Team into a series of T20 World Cup qualifying games. Considering that the International Cricket Council (ICC) only reinstated full status to our country in 2018 after a hiatus of seven years, this was a huge opportunity for our team to develop and gain valuable experience again more established cricketing nations such as Guernsey.
Looking at it in perspective, Guernsey played its first international game in 1922, whereas Luxembourg played its first in 1990, nearly 70 years later and arguably even later as we consider our 2003 tournament as the true beginning of our cricketing journey.
It is incredible to see the progression of the team and the increased awareness and interest in cricket in Luxembourg in that time.
While it has been great to get wins against international opposition, including in our first ever T20 game, arguably we have learnt the most from the losses. For example, we lost twice to Austria in the Central Europe Cup earlier in the year, and then faced them first in the ICC Qualifiers
It presented us with the opportunity to discuss which tactics worked and what could we have done differently, ultimately leading to a much closer game in that tournament opener.
Similarly, we played Switzerland twice earlier in the season, with both teams managing one win, but in the ICC Qualifiers, we managed to beat them for the 5th place as we played better as a team, which was something we developed and focused on especially this season.
It was a brilliant climax to the tournament in Helsinki and reinforced the belief of our leadership team that as a team, we were much stronger as a team than as a collection of individuals.
The same principles work in my role at JTC Luxembourg. I joined JTC as part of the acquisition of Exequtive Partners in 2019, the same year that we played our first official T20I cricket match as a nation. Our office acts as a European centre for funds and corporate services offering fund administration, corporate and real estate services for clients right across the continent.
Since 2019, the company has gone from strength to strength, but not without challenges on the way. Becoming part of a group which now has over 1300 colleagues in 20 jurisdictions was never going to be a smooth path, despite an amazing team and support from offices around the globe.
It just means that we have learned and become more resilient as each new situation presented itself. Take the Covid-19 pandemic as an example. It was an unprecedented global event and yet through the agility and hard work of our teams, we were able to move to a fully remote operating model with minimal disruption to our clients.
Looking back now, from our new offices under one roof and JTC brand, could we have done things differently? Sure.
But the important thing is that we took the lessons from each step and situation to ensure that collectively we became better.
One phrase that Nigel Le Quesne, CEO – JTC Group, a huge sports fan himself often repeats is: “It is all about making this a better business every year”.
On the pitch or in the office, I like to think we have been able to do just that.