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Excellence in sport and business: how to foster teamwork and develop experts on the frontline.

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Sport and business involve humans; both are competitive situations, and both are won or lost by teams. How have we helped frontline teams form their field of play, the reason for playing, challenging goals, and visual scoreboard as any team would have in sport? It is powerful to help these teams align this field of play to the organisation's strategic direction. And here's a few ways that you might do that.

The Common Goal - Plan to Win

In sport, coaches epitomise the saying; it's we, not me. Games and results are always about the team. It is always about making sure that everything the team did was for a common purpose for a common goal. The team has embedded standards and values, and each team member is committed to displaying them.

The common purpose is about succeeding, and this is relatable in business.

In business, you've got to have goals—the top-line goals of the organisation that lead the way that the company is heading. As a leader, you're going to set what that journey is. What are the stages that the organisation will go through? What does your vision of excellence look like? How will you involve your people to share in this common goal?

Involving your people in the business is critical. Helping employees set up their footy field, create their own goals, and link to the organisational purpose. Align the åheart and mind of the people to the values and purpose of the business, and culture will lift.

If your people understand and see what you're trying to achieve, if you can show them what winning looks like, they get it and want to be a part of the journey. So plan to win. Set little goals within the business about how to succeed and then celebrate those victories. Be inspiring, and have fun along the way.

Motivating your people

A sporting person is coming into the team motivated when they draw passion for being the best at their sport and want to make it to the National team.

What can work in business to build that level of passion and motivation?

Why do employees want to be at work? What can inspire them?

Purpose. Employees want to achieve and want to develop and get better. Employees want to be a part of the team. They want to be valued.

How can you get the best out of your people?

Could you get to know them? Walk around the site happily, saying hello to everyone and getting to know them. Learn their names and their partner's names and about their kids and their dog. If you're genuinely there to say hello and listen and care about their well-being, they will want to engage with you. That engagement, that personal touch, is vital.

Developing experts on the frontline

As your organisation becomes more prominent, as a leader, you can't be across everything. You have to rely on those people on the frontline. You have to have strong frontline leaders that understand that.

If you genuinely want the best for your people, you've got to appreciate their priorities. If you want the best out of them, you've got to give them the chance to be the best they can be. Training on the job is about supporting people and helping them reach their potential. What do they need to succeed? How can you help them develop for the business, but also themselves?

Truly valuing your people and improving the employee journey will give you the best advertisements for working in your business. If you don't have the space for your employees to grow further, your past employee can say, "Hey, company XX was amazing. They got me to be the best I could be, and I'd recommend anyone start in that company".

In conclusion, plenty of people with talent out there don't fit an organisation's culture. As a leader, you need the courage to say maybe you're not going to fit in with what we're trying to achieve. Setting the right tone from the right at the organisation's top will filter through the leaders and the frontline. Magnificent leaders in the team set the culture and set the values that we all stand for.

What next?

  1. Watch our 2 min tip: Common Goal with Rugby and subscribe to our channel

  2. listen to the Enterprise Excellence Podcast, episode #51 Glenn Panoho or #47 James Kerr, who talk about great sporting teams and business.

  3. join our membership page to access free planning resources.

Written by Emily Jeavons

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