What business leaders can learn from sports teams

27, 2021

5 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Team sports are a powerful global industry involving clubs, leagues, sponsors, marketing , etc. They are a space where the passion of the fans is translated into a substantial economic benefit that, according to the marketing agency Euroamericas Marketing Sport, has a value of 580,000 million euros per year ; which represents 1 percent of world GDP.

Although there are many parties involved, the success lies with those who execute and achieve the victories, that is, the teams. If companies learned to operate as high-performance sports teams do, they would achieve much faster growth with lower operating costs and expenses.

So what makes a sports team successful and what can we learn from them to run our businesses ? After all, business is a game that involves rules, tactics, administration, management and talent to be successful, so these are three lessons that we can learn and adopt from a high performance sports team to have successful companies.

Lesson 1: Train, Train, Train

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A sports team that wants to be successful never stops training, in fact training requires more time and dedication than the same execution on the playing field. Most of the teams in the companies, especially the sales teams, do not practice enough before going on the field; They practice with customers believing that this is the best way to do it, which leads to losing sales.

No matter what sport we are talking about, there is not a single coach, in any sport, who would consider putting his players without proper training and preparation.

According to an investigation by OCCMundial, only 11% of Mexican companies provided training to their employees in 2019. This research was carried out shortly before the crisis due to the pandemic began, imagine then the reduction in this already small number Due to operational changes, the adoption of telecommuting and time-consuming emergencies that cause we leave training to last.

Lesson 2: Have a guide or playbook

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Sports teams do not leave anything to chance or improvisation on the court, there is always a plan with the strategies that must be executed at all times which are practiced, analyzed, restructured and studied before going out to play.

So why do many companies, especially when it comes to their sales team, hire salespeople and send them out onto the playing field to “do their thing”? That is, they allow them to follow their way or style of selling, hoping that they can offer the product or service in the best way that they consider.

A soccer team has 11 players on the field, how do you think the game would be if each player followed their own strategy? It would be a disaster. Companies need books or manuals for each operational procedure with clear strategies to follow, as well as for the area of finance, marketing and sales where it is indicated what the players should do in each situation, how to talk to customers, how to overcome objections and communicate the products and services.

Once you have your sales playbook, you will need to continually optimize it based on market conditions and other factors. This is exactly what the best sports teams continually do to stay on top.

Lesson 3: They’re Goal Aligned

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The team knows that when one member scores, everyone on the team earns that point. It’s not about fighting each other for the most points as an individual player, it’s about how you can work together to collect the most points collectively. And that’s how they beat their competition.

It is not about them competing with each other, they have a common goal for which they work. There may be differences and mistakes but the team is ready to overcome these problems to reach the great goal. In companies, teams need to move in the same way, with a healthy culture and a common goal that the company pursues: a long-term goal that indicates where they are going and what they want to achieve.

The right culture will make each and every person interested in playing their role and supporting the growth of the business. A common goal will give motivation and clarity to each member of the team, in all areas of the organization, to know what it takes from them to take the company in that direction and be part of that goal to win the game.

To scale our companies, we can learn and implement these three lessons from sports teams that will allow us to have a high-performance team that is excited to go out onto the field and operate with a common vision and goal that will help them win the game.

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