In 2014, the FIFA World Cup competition attracted a television audience of 3.2 billion spectators, making it the most watched live global event of the 21st century. This summer, fans from all around the world have excitedly watched 32 teams compete against each other to become the next world champions. Taking a step back from the nail-biting action, a small business owner can learn many valuable lessons by watching the World Cup.
THERE IS NO "I" IN TEAM
Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was it built by a single person. Teams often have one or two notable members who get all the credit for supposedly carrying the team, but if a team were to depend on a few high-profile players there is no way they could win a match, let alone endure the World Cup. The same ethos applies in business — if a business relies on one person in a key role that no one else can replicate, the business will not be able to function effectively without that person.
A DIVERSE TEAM IS A STRONG TEAM
To win, a team must have a good balance of skill, discipline, grit and mental fortitude. You've probably hears someone say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The same holds for any team. Successful teams are able to cultivate and combine the unique skill sets of each player to create a strong unit. The same goes for a business. Being aware of the different mindsets, skills and attributes of each of your colleagues will go a long way in ensuring that you are able to reach your potential. Meeting challenges and competition with a diverse group of skills makes teams and companies stronger.
COMBINE AGE GROUPS
The strongest soccer teams have a good mix of senior members and young talent. Teams with homogenized age groups — those that are solely made up of youthful or experienced players — are rarely as successful as those with a healthy range of players. This is because younger teams most likely do not have enough experience to face some of the adversity that may arise, and senior teams may lack the dynamism, adaptability and optimism needed in the face of new challenges. The ability to educate and mentor that seasoned industry professionals can bring to their less experienced colleagues will prove to be invaluable to new entrants to a given industry.
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE COMPETITION
The winner of the World Cup is not always the most flashy or exciting team. Rather, it is the team that can execute when it matters most. This success is not based solely on a physical advantage — they surpass the competition by analyzing, understanding and anticipating what they are up against. In short, the winner is the team with the best overall strategy and understanding of their key strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, the most successful businesses strategize for changes in technology, customer service, production, and competition, then build their game plans accordingly. It is important to push your business and your team to new heights, and for that, you will need to be opportunistic, flexible and support your ambitions with as much information as you can receive.
HAVING A FIRM AND STRONG LEADERSHIP
Every team in the World Cup is lead by their team captain: an experienced, motivated player whom other players can look to for guidance. Without a captain, the team would be disorganized and ineffective. Businesses that lack an experienced, motivational 'team captain' figure often struggle to remain organized and competitive. It is important that a team leader, both on a soccer field and in the office, possess the expertise and communication skills to lead his or her team through strategic plans and onward to victory. You can lead by example, or be more of a vocal leader. In both cases, note that your employees will follow your lead.
You put in countless hours to drive your business forward. Don't forget to take some time for yourself. If you get caught watching a game or two, take a step back from the nail-biting action and let the spectacle inspire you in your business.