Why Van Gaal is not a good example.

The Dutch national team is going energetically in the World Cup for the time being. And suddenly inexplicable powers are assigned to Louis van Gaal. As the savior, the coach, the manager that we all need to lead by example.

The man who has been controversial for so long because of his sulky attitude towards the media is suddenly the child prodigy. He will lift the Netherlands to the world championship. The turnaround by the media and the public is striking. Until the World Cup, few had fiducie in his leadership and the qualities of the Dutch national team. But the well-played games in the heavily labeled group lead to a complete change in thinking. Suddenly Van Gaal is praised and invited everywhere to explain why the team is so successful. Management books will also be published with the aim of explaining why you should take an example from Van Gaal. Be a Van Gaal and you will be successful, is the underlying message.

Ups and downs

Now Van Gaal’s list is also impressive. But those of Guus Hiddink, Johan Cruyff or the ‘General’ are no less. The personalities and manner of leadership differ as the crow flies. So you can be successful in several ways. But you can also completely collapse in several ways as a coach, manager or saving angel.

In 2002 Louis van Gaal also led the Dutch national team for the World Cup that was held in South Korea and Japan. Despite a good qualifying start, and a strong group result, the Netherlands did not continue because it crashed against Ireland. An opponent who was supposed to be defeated. At Barcelona Van Gaal had a difficult period in 2002 and 2003 and was unable to break pots, so he was finally fired in 2003. Barcelona then had fallen to 12th place with 20 points behind. Van Gaal then returned to Ajax in 2003. The poor working relationship with Ronald Koeman and the internal struggles that ensued led to hard confrontations. In 2004, Van Gaal finally resigned, without delivering any substantial performance.


The big problem is that we like to believe in myths and absolute solutions. That there is a plan, a strategy that can help you be successful. If someone suddenly performs well, we all want to be like that person. We all want to share and share his success. Is the sudden change in thinking about Louis van Gaal now hypocrisy or progressive insight? You may say it. In any case, it’s sobering to see that his biggest opponents are now his biggest advocates.

First of all, success is a matter of definition. Are you successful because you become a champion [AZ] a few times [AZ] or if you deliver structurally good players and always participate in the top even if you do not become a champion every year [psv-ajax-twente etc] highest attainable or binding your customers [public] in the long term with which the continuity of the organization is guaranteed?

In addition, success is a combination of many factors, puzzle pieces that fall in the right place at the right time. Why was Van Gaal unsuccessful with the Dutch national team in 2002 and is he now progressing? And isn’t it true that he can elaborate on what his predecessors have put down? Both within the Dutch national team and within the clubs themselves?

No standards

What the different success and failure stories of the national coaches mainly teaches is that there is no ‘ideal’ solution. If you think that by following Van Gaal’s advice, or reading those ‘success management books’, you can be just as successful, you will be disappointed. If only because your personality is completely different from his. That irrefutably means that your approach will always differ. You may be able to imitate personal skills, but never copy them perfectly.

Can’t you learn anything from Van Gaal? What you can learn is what you already know. Above all, be yourself. You are seen as authentic by your environment. Communicate and be genuinely open to your environment. Being successful, winning is a team achievement and is not determined by a person, even if that person is in the spotlight. A striker can only score thanks to the preparatory work of his teammates.

Look behind the person of Van Gaal and realize what is going on. A long and tedious trial and error process, where errors are slowly removed and performance jerks up. And depending on the moment, the players, circumstances and level of development, a different approach and approach is needed.

If you take Louis van Gaal as an example, you stare blindly at the person and his approach to the moment, but you lose sight of the underlying values ​​and long-term developments, which ultimately are much more decisive for success than that one person who accident ‘at the right m