Don't Hog the Ball: Adopting the Football Model in Business

Football is a team game; it always has been and it always will be. Having good positional sense, communication skills, and an awareness of where your teammates are is far more important than being able to perform a step over or shoot effectively from 30 yards or more.Bleacher Report 

And like football, communications in an organisation requires teamwork and the ability to create synergies across teams. No longer can team execute their responsibilities as silos and PR/communications teams cannot hope to develop and implement internal and external communications strategies without the input of other teams and a healthy collaborative culture.

When communications within a team breaks down and disharmony manifests itself, or a resistance to be part of a collaborative efforts, bet your last dollar that the results would not be as outstanding had the team worked together as a unit. I have been part of organisations where programmes were rolled out without proper consultation and feedback from the rest of the company. You get to work and there in your inbox is an email about some new programme that noone broached as an idea, or which clearly was not thoroughly thought out from various angles and employee perspectives. Something that may seem like a great idea to one team, may have other implications for another, but how would you know if there does not exist a deeper consultative culture? And while not trying to promote bureaucracy and unnecessary corporate red tape, because God, we know how that can go, it is always better to have other teams on board to ensure universal buy-in and support, and ultimately a better final product. The French football team is currently showing signs of team wear and tear and it is showing in their performance thus far at the 2010 World Cup.
Many of the French players seemed to be under the impression that they were there to create their own personal highlight reel rather than to perform as a functional team. Nicolas Anelka and Frank Ribery are both outstanding players, but they did not perform to anything like the level they are capable of against Uruguay.
The main reason for this was their reluctance to play simple football, to simply receive the ball, protect it and lay it off. Virtually every time that either man received possession they embarked on an ambitious solo run and almost without fail they ended up surrendering possession... (Bleacher Report)
In an organisation, one has to be open to new ideas and suggestions and to be able to provide different perspectives on strategies, with the end result being a more effective team with a common goal. It's like having your own internal focus group to weed out the bad elements of an idea and improve the good elements. And whether it's a social media initiative, an advertising campaign or an internal rollout, the double C effect of consultation and collaboration in my opinion, is always a better bet than hogging the ball and trying to shine solo. It often just does not work - in football or in business.


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