What can business learn from football & sport in general? Part 1

What can business learn from football & sport in general? Part 1


What can football teach us in business?

The streets are quiet or manic,  people are transfixed with the World Cup.  X.X billion are engaged. Look how people, not really into sport are suddenly passionate sport aficionados.   They wear proudly their new team’s T shirt.  They don’t care if they are clad in rollers, at the hairdressers or foamed up at the barbers, they will all gladly  share their insights on last night’s  game on the street.  They are loyal and passionate to their team and players, they are totally bought in.

Oh my, how I would love to have my business buzzing with new customers and dancing in the streets.  Celebrating what I deliver and telling the world.   

If my business had that kind of momentum and fan base behind it, WOW!

I  would be jumping up and down  like a yoyo on fire, screaming, ’Back of the net’, just like those coaches.  Why is this not happening, why am I not shouting, ‘Back of the net?’.

Perhaps  you too have also recently launched a business and equally have so many expectations.

Whether we  have created something great, yummy, beautiful or something innovative … we expect everyone to love and want it as much as us.  And want it right now.

We should be patient, but we are not not!  We expect to win now, now, now!

Business Tips from the World Cup

World Cup & BizzBuzzBoom (Quote – Muhammad Ali)

Isn’t it true that we  all have these visions of people struggling to squeeze through our doors to buy our  wonderful XYZ. We are even considering  making  that door just a bit wider?

And those of us launching online businesses. We are  fantasising about hearing our ‘onliners,’  clients, customers going, click, click, click, purchases, purchase, purchase, download, download, DOWNLOAAAAAD …. BACK of the NET!

(If I am the only one in this world who has had these thoughts – I so wish I hadn’t shared … too late it’s out there!)

I may as well go on then…

And like me,  are  you mouthing, ‘’Back of the net!’’  in broad daylight?  Well,  stop that. Verbalising without sound and with wild, glossy eyes is not really a good look. (Sorry, to the man with the black hat, and the the mother with the small child that caught me in full mouth action!).

So how do these professional sports people get so good and achieve so much? How do they win? Is there anything we can learn and apply to our business?

We are all so impressed by how tuned these team are. Their skill, energy, how they read the game and  how they support each other. 

World Cup or Wimbledon we have also seen these players experience incredible lows in the game, and then have  seen how they pull it together.  Incredibly they get on top again. It’s like they relaunch themselves.

As a start up in launch mode, or a more seasoned business, or a dope Digital Nomad, what can we learn from the world of sport to help our business game?

There are I think many learnings, but let’s, start with team work…

  1. Team Work

We know right, that we have to often work with a team to better our results. Sport demonstrates this beautifully. Whether you have a team of 11 on the pitch or two on the court you have got to get it together and keep it together as a team.

But let’s take a step back.  Before we  create,  add to, or adjust a team  we need to be clear where our strengths and gaps are with the business and team. Then we can plug those gaps with the right people, with the most fitting skills and competencies. 

Hey, don’t forget to check yourself out too. Your health check on your business and team should include you. As great as you may be, you don’t want a lot of other  yoooos in your business.   Otherwise there will be no new thinking, no consideration of different options.. and you get that that’s important I hope?  (If not, perhaps ask a close, honest friend. Not the friend who regularly says, ‘… there is no alternative).

So, we said that its important to know where your gaps are in terms of skills and competences. Competencies? Good question! To explain quickly, pictures this… You  know that upbeat, ‘Savvy Friend’  of yours who gets on with people, gets people to buy into sometimes the craziest of things. His competency is likely to be called, ‘relationship building’, ‘negotiation’, ‘persuasion’.  But whilst this person gets wins,  some balls get dropped that  hammer the business.

Champions in Business

Business Networking – It’s coming home!

And  now,  picture your other friend with great skills,  who is the real technical smarty pants.  Knows technically what goes where, when, the cost and has the timeline sorted yesterday. Sorted with awesome detail and tools. Really great, but there can be a down side to their approach. The thing is  about this ‘skilful’ one, they  can not always move with the flow of others, and team members or clients may not quite get them.  This  skilful one gets shirty and defensive when their is an adjustment to their beautiful plan, or they resit when they are expected to collaborate. I am not saying everyone of these types behaves in this way, but I hope you get what I am driving at.

I am sure you have seen this skilful one in sport, technically brilliant, scores goals, but behaves  badly, gets team members mad including the referee. Result is a red card, and final outcome a maddening lose for the team.

So if this skilful hot head worked for us, we would like his technical ability, but we know that success in business is very much about relationships.  I am not saying get rid of the Techy nor the Savvy, both have qualities you may need. You just got to be very aware of these traits and figure a way to manage them for your good and the team’s sanity. A good coach, boss. leader does this, right?

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So here are the learnings we picked up from sport on team work. Think about your business as a whole,  just as a coach does carefully review team skiils, competencies and environment/opponent. A coach  considers  and analysis.  A coach also considers development, bringing players on.

What skills and competencies do you need or not need for your business short term and long term? What skills and competencies are needed for your new project?.  Have you done a proper analysis. Have you brainstormed with others on the best fit? Don’t recruit  or assign people blindly.

I will stop now, half time! Please if you think I was not too off side with this – Share on – Pass the ball and let’s together  build a community of shared business values!

Read more tips on how  sport provides great learning for business – part 2


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Photo by Frantzou Fleurine on Unsplash

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