Markus Merk

Markus Merk

  • is a former German referee – from 1988-2008 he was active in the German Bundes­liga and at FIFA. He subse­quently began his career as a commen­tator on Turkish tele­vi­sion. Today he is still active in this role and curr­ently works for Sky. In 2005 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his social commit­ment and dedi­ca­tion to sports. Markus Merk loves working toge­ther with people. As a profes­sional speaker, he coaches busi­ness execu­tives in a variety of areas, inclu­ding “making confi­dent deci­sions”.

Still curious?
There is more to see here:

All Articles

What does “dyna­mics” mean to you?

For me, dyna­mics means being willing to change one’s life. It is very important to me to make allo­wances for the dyna­mics of the time, and espe­ci­ally for my own personal dyna­mics – my moral values depend on them. If my moral values are no longer in harmony, then I get moving and look for the next goal, a new chal­lenge.

For me, the decisive factor in this process is that the time for change is deter­mined only by myself. For example, after my studies, I took a risk and became self-employed – and fulfilled my dream of having my own private prac­tice. Although the prac­tice was successful, after 10 years I felt that it was time for some­thing new. “Busi­ness as usual” didn’t work for me back then, and today I still feel the same way. I sold my prac­tice and looked around to see what the market had to offer and how I could change myself.

After working for a time as a referee, I had a similar feeling. So I ended my career at a time when I was still fit and successful – I had just been named World’s Best Referee for the third time. I was aware that I had achieved ever­ything I could on this career path, and my life’s dream, which had begun 20 years previously, had been fulfilled. Right after my first Bundes­liga match, which I had the plea­sure to referee back in 1988, I said in an inter­view, “Anything else is just the icing on the cake.”

Both in your role as a referee and as a speaker in compa­nies, time and again you have dealt with the topic of “making confi­dent and quick deci­sions”. How can one do this success­fully, and what advice do you have for entre­pre­neurs?

On the foot­ball field, it’s incredibly important to make quick deci­sions. That’s also how it is in other areas of deci­sion-making, for example in a busi­ness. The longer the employees have to wait for a deci­sion, the more likely the deci­sion will be criti­cised or doubted. What’s missing is the convic­tion to make the deci­sion credible.

Commu­ni­ca­tion plays an important role. Whether on the foot­ball field or in a company, we deal with many diffe­rent types of charac­ters. If I know what the other player wants, how he ticks, then in the decisive moment – when he comes racing towards me – I need to anti­ci­pate his inten­tions and be even faster than him. Speed is a factor to make your deci­sion credible to others. A fast deci­sion has the effect of making my coun­ter­part feel more surprised – that makes it more convin­cing. A person who is able to effec­tively commu­ni­cate a deci­sion that has a weak basis, and then live with the conse­quences of that deci­sion and advo­cate for it in a credible way, gains trust and demon­strates respon­si­bi­lity. Of course mistakes happen in the process.But the others involved will then say, yeah, he made a mistake, but he’s some­body we trust.

As for running the game, as a referee it was never my goal to go onto the field and rigidly control it. I wanted the game to flow. And in my view, that’s what charac­te­rises good busi­ness manage­ment: Letting the process run, helping shape it, giving it direc­tion and not stif­ling it. On the other hand, hier­ar­chical struc­tures often inhibit deve­lop­ment. In my view, the trick is for mana­gers to apply their own exper­tise, but to some­times do it
very discreetly.

Ever since the video assi­stant was intro­duced last year, the advance of tech­no­logy and digi­ta­li­sa­tion has also become noti­ce­able in foot­ball. Ten years ago you were one of the first to advo­cate the use of tech­nical aids. What signi­fi­cance does this deve­lop­ment have on foot­ball, and where will it lead us?

The intro­duc­tion of the video assi­stant defi­ni­tely means more fair­ness for foot­ball, because some of the wrong deci­sions get revised. Foot­ball is impro­ving and beco­ming fairer. What we’re talking about here is a real revo­lu­tion which became inevi­table for foot­ball in this age of digi­ta­li­sa­tion. But it must also be made clear that 100% fair­ness will never happen. And natu­rally, a lot of things have changed for the referee, too – they have a backup, even though they are still the key deci­sion maker.

Another compo­nent that plays a big role in foot­ball is emotion. If a deci­sion is revised after the game, of course that affects the fans’ emotions and enthu­siasm. It’s important to commu­ni­cate to the fans why a deci­sion was revised. It’s the same in a company – it’s important to be trans­pa­rent and commu­ni­cate credibly. Surely there will be a few people who’ll say that’s no longer their foot­ball game, or their busi­ness philo­sophy, that they no longer iden­tify them­selves with it. But things change and such deve­lop­ments are part of our dynamic world. Change offers me the chance to go further, to maybe look for some­thing else and reorient myself.

“Change offers me the chance to go further, to maybe look for some­thing else and reorient myself.”

Markus Merk

Markus Merk

  • is a former German referee – from 1988-2008 he was active in the German Bundes­liga and at FIFA. He subse­quently began his career as a commen­tator on Turkish tele­vi­sion. Today he is still active in this role and curr­ently works for Sky. In 2005 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his social commit­ment and dedi­ca­tion to sports. Markus Merk loves working toge­ther with people. As a profes­sional speaker, he coaches busi­ness execu­tives in a variety of areas, inclu­ding “making confi­dent deci­sions”.

Still curious?
There is more to see here:

All Articles