With the World Cup in full swing and football fever sweeping the nation, we’ve taken a look at what the business world can learn from football. Strategy, recruitment, team work, and development are at the heart of a football team’s success, so there’s plenty that business owners can draw on to apply in their businesses.

  1. A game plan is key

A football team doesn’t go into a match with no idea on what their strategy is for winning – they have a clear plan of their formation, how to capitalise on their strengths, and coping mechanisms for their weaknesses. Businesses should be doing the same, yet so many are operating without any kind of plan, leaving it wide open for the competition to take the lead. Like with football teams, business owners should have a clearly defined strategy that states what they want to achieve and how they are going to get there.

  1. Hire on potential not experience

Many successful football managers hire based on potential rather a proven track record, then mould their chosen young footballers into star players. The same can be applied in business – anyone can gain experience, but not everyone is trainable, fits with the company culture and values, and has the right attitude to grow with a business.

  1. Talented individuals don’t necessarily make a winning team

We see it time and time again in football – a team is made up of football superstars yet they’re not getting the results we’d expect from such talent. The reason is simple, they’re not working together as a team, and individual game plans or egos are getting in the way of overarching goals. This is also true in business – you can hire a whole team of stars with track records of success in previous roles, but if there is no communication and trust between members and no culture of teamwork, you’ll struggle to achieve what you set out to.

  1. Feedback really is a gift

Football managers constantly give their team feedback – they use half-time as an opportunity for mid-match analysis and to feed back on performance in the first half, they have post-match reviews, they constantly give feedback during training – it’s a continuous line of communication. Business owners can and should learn from this. Feedback shouldn’t be saved for monthly 1:1s, or worse – annual reviews! It should be a constant, constructive stream of what team members are doing well and where they can improve.

  1. Every mistake is a learning opportunity

When a football team loses a game, they review why, use the blow as motivation, and go forwards onto the next match having reviewed their strategy to avoid making the same mistakes again. Resilience is key and being able to take a setback on the chin and use it as an opportunity to learn can be the difference between success and failure. Good business owners should take a leaf out of the football world’s book when it comes to mistakes. Effective leaders set the example by learning from a mistake, making the relevant changes – and then moving on.