Thought Leadership

Five Lessons Football Can Teach Us About Business

With the close of the UEFA Euro Cup 2021 in July, sentiments among football fans are at an all-time high. For its fans, the sport goes beyond just a game; it’s an emotion, a family, and most importantly, a team! 


Leading football clubs have a well-defined vision of their strategy, goals and understand the skills needed in each position. The game is paved with business lessons that the corporate world can incorporate to attain high functioning teams with soaring productivity rates. 


`1. Trusting Your Team Members

As a member of a football team, understanding and trusting your team members is of utmost importance. Many times, footballers come across the predicament to pass the ball to their team members for the winning shot or try shooting it themselves with the risk of losing the goal. More often than not, footballers always pass it to their team members and assist them rather than dwelling in the glory of attaining the winning shot. Similarly, in business, the one with the groundbreaking idea isn’t always the one making the presentation to the clients but winning the contract is a team effort with all hands in.


  1. Nurturing A Positive Environment 

It is imperative to nurture a positive environment with one goal in mind: winning. The intense match against Switzerland and France in the UEFA league is a classic example of that. With France leading the game with 3-1, Switzerland did not bow out and give up. They held their heads up high and continued with an unmatched zeal that ultimately led them to victory with a penalty shoot-out score of 5-4. Similarly, especially with the pandemic, businesses might have hit a dead end. In those times, it is imperative to keep pushing with the intention to survive and eventually win. 


  1. Defining Clear Positions For Every Team Member

Many teams have different strategies ranging from FC Barcelona’s probing passing game to Liverpool’s aggressive, free-form attack, yet both teams have excelled beyond bounds. This is mainly because they utilized every player’s strength, with Bonucci from Juventus, an excellent defender, to Messi, one of the greatest strikers in history. Similarly, in the corporate world, teams need to find the best strategy that works for them by utilizing the best team members and using their strengths to promote and grow the company to newer heights. 


  1. Filling Gaps When Required

When Juventus realized it lacked a good striker with superior skills to score record-breaking goals for the club, team management scouted Christiano Ronaldo and ultimately poached him from Real Madrid. There on, he became a vital pillar of the team’s success. Companies must also look externally in the business world if it becomes evident that a fundamental talent gap cannot be filled internally. If talent needs to evolve, reskilling and upskilling must become the target.


  1. Leading Teams The Right Way

In Football, coaches cannot get into the field and play the game; they can only stand on the sidelines and guide their team to victory. However, in business, it is not uncommon to see managers and leaders jump into a micro-managing mode especially when some errors are made by the team. Allowing the team to execute a strategy and even firefight when necessary is a crucial part of helping them with essential skills like communication, teamwork and problem-solving. 

In conclusion, the right strategy with the right team coupled with persistence and practice will always succeed. As Tom Landry, American Football Player says, “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”