A simple soccer game can train you to run a business effectively. Not convinced? To win at soccer, you need purpose, direction, strategy, team, performance, crowd support, satisfaction, results and much continual learning. The same goes in business, so here are eight ways to turn your organisation into a match-winner.
When my first born returned to play for the soccer firsts after a bout of extended illness, it was notable in more ways than one. What struck me most is that, although young and strong, the fitness level just wasn’t there. The same could be said for the rest of the team – young, strong but not enough to win. They were not fit for game or fit for purpose.
In contrast, the opponent team from the country had the stamina to keep going at a strong, consistent pace throughout the match. There were no surprises they won. It was a strong reminder that on field or off, one must be fit for purpose to stay in league.
Soccer games are like running a business for a whole variety of reasons. Complete with purpose, direction, strategy, team, performance, crowd support, satisfaction, results and much continual learning. Here are eight tips for winning:
1. Get the right team on the bus
Pick the right people and train them well. Although not always easy, aim to get only the right people on the bus. It’s all about the people you work with. Those that moan, give up and deflect positive energy are a drain on the team and its focus. Redirect them or manage them out of the team with grace if you want to win. Having the right team around you is the first step to reach top league.
2. The right coach can make or break
The quality of the coach and the strategy he/she directs make a big impact on performance and team spirit. From firm, good direction, fairness by sandwiching counsel in a ‘good news, constructive news, good news’ format to keep the team member intact and growing. Inspiration from a good leader is the glue to keep winning teams together.
3. When the going gets tough
Winners don’t give up, however tough the territory. When the competition is ahead and your scores are down, you need the strength not to spiral and lose faith, but to pick yourself and your team up. In a match, as in business, there is little time to feel sorry for ourselves or lose confidence. The team that shows resilience in the face of challenge often ends up the most popular. Resilience and tenacity are what separates the winners from the losers – just keep going.
4. Fit for purpose
If the team isn’t prepared, trained and strong enough, the whole task of competing to win is more difficult. Strength and muscle power go a long way to succeed in business. Be the standout. If you are focused, on message and acting out your core values, you have nothing to lose. And be ready to compete – have the gear. The water bottle, right shoes, right equipment. You can’t compete on an even field if you don’t have the right gear.
5. Passion and focus
If you don’t love what you are doing and your heart really isn’t in it, do everyone a favour (most of all yourself )and exit left. Leave the team to get on and succeed. It was clear at the recent match who was really keen, who meant business and who had their mind elsewhere. The ones with passion and focus were the best. It was a joy to watch. “No passion no win” is pretty much the motto in sport and in business. Do what you love most of the time.
Be sure of what you stand for and hold the course. One’s reputation as a leader and as a team member goes a long way. Think Phar Lap or the latest wonder horse Black Caviar. Your reputation breaks or makes a team. Hold it precious and live and play to the values you hold dear. And try not to be consumed with what you look like on the way – what’s inside and your actions have far more importance.
7. Hesitate and you lose
Gut instinct is usually right. Hesitate? Doubt yourself? And you leave yourself open to lose the pass, lose the game or lose the league. And you need to be able to think on your feet, and switch strategy, last minute.
Presence on the soccer field as a parent, however silent I choose to be supporting my child, had that team member engaged and trying hard. We need supporters. Drink up the support of those around you and put it to good use. Be supported to win.
Sport is a great way to learn off-field business lessons.
More essentials to get your business match ready:
- Passion – there’s no point in playing if your heart’s not in the game.
- Effective leadership – a coach can make or break the team.
- Positive attitude – will yourself to win.
- Concentrate on the task at hand – lose focus and lose the ball.
- Co-operation and collaboration – you can’t play a team sport alone.
- Efficiency through delegation – every position has a purpose, every player adds value.
- Train – practice makes perfect.
- Be supported – your supporters help you through.
- Confidence is key – stay positive.
- Don’t give up if you drop the ball, step up and fight for it back.