This week, our leadership quote of the week comes from Pelé, the Brazilian footballer, to celebrate his lifetime achievement in sports after his recent sad passing.
Pelé (1940-2022) was a Brazilian football icon regarded as one of the most successful and famous footballers of all time. He was nicknamed 'The King' for his significant achievements in football. He started his professional career at 15, becoming the most successful player for the Brazilian team Santos, conquering both the Brazilian domestic and the international footballing world. His most important achievements include having led Brazil to win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. Pelé was the only player to have won the world's most prestigious tournament three times. He also holds the Guinness World record for the most scored goals in all his games. He was recognised as the Player of the 20th Century in 2000.
After his football career, he turned to the public sector and politics. In 1994, he was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and served as the Minister of Sport from 1995 to 1998 in Brazil, ambitiously proposing legislation to tackle corruption in Brazilian football. Pelé also assisted Rio de Janeiro's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics as a consultant. He supported several charitable organisations during his lifetime having founded his own philanthropic organisation in 2018, the Pelé Foundation, which endeavours to empower disenfranchised and impoverished children from around the globe.
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I love this quotation. When we talk about "determination" as one of our values, it is about this. Jamie Peacock calls it committing to going "the extra mile" - literally in his case. Success isn't spoonfed. It is why we build challenge, ambiguity and discomfort into the LiA summer.
Pele also reminds me that leadership is complicated; his personal life was not as glorious as his football. He had affairs, he refused to acknowledge one of his daughters. There was, frankly, much of which one might disapprove. On the pitch though, he was, without question, extraordinary.