As a Dutch girl, I’m properly getting into the World Cup with Holland just having advanced to the quarter-final on Saturday. Let’s hope they can go all the way this time.
This got me thinking about what it takes for a team to win and how we can apply the lessons from sport in business.
A team can only be successful when the vision of what they want to do is clear and everybody shares it. Imagine a football team that doesn’t know which way their goal is. They can run around all they want but if they don’t know where to score, all that effort is in vain. Or imagine half the team aims for another goal because they don’t believe in the other one. In football, the goal is clear and easy to see for everyone; in your business you need to make it just as clear and easy.
With a clear vision should come a clear strategy, again one that is shared with the whole team. It’s no good for just the boss to know that he wants to win and that in order to do so he’s going to play the 4-4-3 formation, the players need to know it too. It is unthinkable that a coach wouldn’t share his strategy with his team, yet in business this repeatedly happens.
A recent study found that only one third of UK employees describe themselves as being actively engaged at work. Imagine if that happened in a football team. It would mean that only four players would care whether they team won or lost. It simply wouldn’t happen. As a boss, you really should care whether your employees are engaged or not, and you should make sure that if there are problems, these are resolved as quickly as possible.
This is probably the most obvious one. In order to succeed, you need a team of people with different abilities. You need some strikers, and you can’t work without defenders either. You need your midfielders to keep everything going and your goal keeper to stop you from making a loss. All these people have different personalities, and you need them to work together in order to be successful, yet because of their different personalities they will naturally have some conflicts. Pay attention to these and make sure they are resolved.
I love working with business owners and teams on exactly these points. All too often they fall by the wayside but in the truly successful businesses, they are the cornerstones of their success. So have a look at your team and see if they truly want to win the same prize you’re after. If not, you may need to change your tactic.