Career Progression

Do you have a winning lineup?

July 11, 2018

It’s summer, it’s the World Cup, and everywhere you go people are talking about gameplans, strategies and goals. Whether you’re part of the office sweepstake or you just can’t resist checking the score mid-way through the afternoon, there’s no need to feel guilty about our national obsession with the beautiful game. In the world of business, there’s a lot we can learn from sport, from the value of composure and motivation to the importance of keeping your eye on the ball. Here are some sporting lessons to give you the advantage when it comes to managing a successful team.

First of all, do you have the right players? It’s important to remember that not everybody needs to be a striker. You also need steady, reliable, risk-aware players in defence; the cool head and fast responses of a goalkeeper; the foresight and people skills of a captain; and tireless, selfless midfielders to do the legwork and create opportunities for others.

When you’re recruiting new staff, do you envisage where they will fit in the team? Which roles have you already filled, and which positions are crying out for new talent? It can be helpful to imagine the football pundits discussing your lineup before a match. What might they say – have you covered all the bases, or does your team have any obvious gaps that need filling?

The next consideration is your opposition. Who does your team need to out-perform – are you totally focussed on your competitors, or is it equally as important to improve on your own past results? Do you know your competitors well enough to predict their likely strategy, their strengths and their weaknesses?

A good manager, of course, will be focused on the long game. What is your gameplan? It’s not as simple as winning the next match – you have to keep the momentum and morale going throughout the group stage, the knockout rounds, the quarter finals and beyond. Have you broken your business gameplan down into short, medium and longer term stages? And have you thought about how much energy your team might need to keep in reserve for the challenges of the year ahead?

In sport, as in business, the game is won or lost on goals. The distinction in business is that each team can be aiming for a very different type of goal! What are your primary objectives? Do you want to achieve growth, offer excellent customer service, develop new products and services, or simply get things running more smoothly so you can take your foot off the gas? The key is to make sure that you’ve decided on and clearly communicated these goals, so that everyone in the team can move in the same direction.

As well as overarching goals, it’s important to think about the individual motivations of your team members. For some players, the ambition is simply to play in a World Cup match, while other players desperately want to go down in history by breaking records and amassing accolades. A good manager makes the most of both the enthusiasm and eagerness of newcomers, and the experience and skill of star players. Do you have a mix of both in your team?

If this year’s contest has taught us anything, it’s that we should always expect the unexpected… Does your team have the flexibility to react to unforeseen events? If your side scores an own goal, does your team have the positivity to bounce back? If one of your key players needs a break from the field, do their teammates have the transferable skills to step in to fill their role, or do you need to bring in new players to tide you over? The best managers don’t just focus on their current team; they are also on the lookout for fresh new talent coming up through the ranks. In business, establishing a trusted relationship with a recruitment agency is one of the best ways to help you prepare for the unexpected, and to secure your team’s future success.

It takes strategy, positivity, well-honed skills and focus to win a World Cup – and to run a successful business. If you’d like our expert help with improving your lineup so that your business can achieve its goals, please get in touch at


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