Whether you have a team on the field or a team in the office, these five sports analogies are imperative to understand and communicate to your teams.
The value of using sports analogies for business (or life in general) is in part because they are so easy to relate to. If you’ve played a sport in the past, it’s also likely that sports analogies bring up not only logical, but emotional connections. When you can get the heads and hearts of your staff involved, you have the ability to really get everyone focused on the goals that are most important for your company. This is key for building a strong organizational culture for employees and customers alike.
Strengthen Organizational Culture with these 5 Sports Analogies for Business
1. You Can’t Win if You Don’t Score
Do you want to win? Yes. DUH. The question you should be asking yourself as a business leader is “what is it going to take to win?” It all comes down to having a plan that is specific, measurable, timely and reasonable.
If you want to be the top sales team in your area, what are the specific metrics you are focusing on for your team? It’s unreasonable to strive to be #1 in every single metric of your business at first. You may get there eventually, but for now, focus on the heaviest-weighted metrics, and tie multiple metrics together so it gives employees a better understanding of the holistic sales process.
How will you measure these metrics? This needs to be a quantitative measure so you can hold yourself accountable. If you’re a coach, and you plan to measure your team’s performance (or progress) against specified metrics three times each week, it’s a good practice to document them so you can go back to see the progress of your team members.
How much time will it take to implement/finish your goal? If it takes 2 weeks to effectively add or change a habit of an employee, keep track your projection to that goal.
And finally, make sure your goals are reasonable. As much as you might eventually want to be #1, setting unrealistic goals create disengagement and make it hard to communicate your business goals in the future.
2. The Separation is in the Preparation
We all know that sick-to-your-stomach feeling of something happening that could have been prevented. Maybe you are speaking at a meeting in 2 minutes and you’ve practiced your presentation 20 times. When you’re up, you realize you didn’t bring the adapter for your computer to the projector… so it takes you 5 extra minutes to run and grab the cord from your desk. Which in turn makes you look unprepared.
A mistake like this could have been prevented if, in addition to practicing your presentation, you practiced it in the meeting room, or with all the technology in place you planned to use.
Practice, role play, and other scrimmage-type exercises make you better-prepared when it’s game time, and you actually need to put rehearsed skills into play.
3. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
No matter how skilled, the quarterback can’t do the work of an entire football team. All the players on the field have to know the playbook, understand which play has been called and know their role in running it successfully.
In the office, it’s important to utilize each of your players in those roles where they can excel – and it’s not about job titles. If someone on your team loves planning events, utilize their passion and empower them to create fun events for your team during the year. This takes some work off of you as well as empowers employees in a unique way.
All teams go through stressful periods where the work load of the employees grows exponentially. When you have a team that works together, employees know that they can collaborate and lean on one another when times get tough and that maintains a high-performing environment for you as a business leader.
4. Coaching, Coaching, and More Coaching
Often times, employees don’t receive enough constructive feedback so they either become disengaged or become complacent in their role. Implement a feedback system so they know what to work on – which skills to practice and where they can y improve their performance. This could be in the form of an observation and documentation system that displays how serious you are about bettering the employee. Be sure to fairly distribute the feedback as you don’t want employees to feel targeted or left out.
5. Be Ready to Play in Any Conditions
As much as we might try to predict the weather, we can’t control it and we’re often surprised. Football players have to be ready to play in extreme conditions – from the scorching heat to torrential downpours, to ice or heavy snow. The key to succeeding under any condition is to plan for contingencies and develop multiple plans to be deployed based on emerging conditions.
For instance, say one of the important leaders in your company just announced that they are transitioning to another position elsewhere and this means you must quickly redistribute essential duties. If you have contingency plans in place, you can quickly move to ensure important work gets done.
Running your business isn’t just a game, but sports analogies often provide strategies that can help you win on any playing field. They offer invaluable teaching points that make it easier for staff to understand relate to, creating engagement and buy-in with important business goals.