You might think that the worlds of business and sport are completely different, but as sponsors of FC Halifax Town, we’ve noticed a remarkable number of similarities.
To kick off, we share many common values that drive us towards our goals, from developing strategies and planning ahead to recognising the importance of teamwork and winning over loyal supporters.
So what are the common links between business and sport – and what lessons can we learn from how the Shaymen work as a team. Here are our top 10.
Being on a winning side is something to celebrate, but knowing how to pick yourself up and get motivated again after a defeat is equally important.
This is where teamwork comes into its own – led by positive, supportive management. We all have defeats, in business and in life, but whether it’s a missed goal or a missed business opportunity, with the right approach it can be turned into a lesson learned. A strong team will support all team members and a good manager will know how to motivate the team through the difficult times as well as the good.
As FC Halifax Town manager Pete Wild said in a recent interview with the Halifax Courier, when asked about the chances of promotion: “We’ve all got to remain grounded … We can’t get carried away, we’ve just got to take care of business every week.”
Business is a series of short-term and long-term goals and we need to keep both in mind. As a company that often deals with emergency call-outs, we have to be ready to spring into action to help our customers. At the same time, we have to devise long-term strategies that keep the business moving forward. Just like a football season, each year in business involves reaching targets, celebrating success, then moving on to the next activity.
Again, we have been inspired by Town boss Pete Wild, who says that you shouldn’t fear your competitors, but you should have a healthy respect for them.
Most important, do your homework. Understand their strengths and weaknesses, their strategies and approach. Observe the way they operate – whether it’s to follow their example or learn from their mistakes.
Just like in business, the management of FC Halifax Town holds strategy meetings with the players – even using flip charts!
While footballers perform at their best when they are in peak physical condition, our team can also benefit from being match-fit.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep are now widely recognised and include mental alertness, improved memory and reduced stress levels. At FC Halifax Town, a lot of time goes into the planning for away games to ensure the team members are not too tired. This includes staying within 30 minutes of the football ground and booking hotel rooms so that players can rest up before an evening game.
We can take lessons from this for our own team, whether it’s supporting our engineers and sales people, who often spend long hours driving in busy traffic, or ensuring that our office workers have regular screen breaks and refreshment breaks during meetings.
However conscientious we are, there are always going to be times when we need help with our motivation. It’s easy to get disheartened when things are going badly – or complacent when things are going well – but we should guard against both, and managers have their part to play.
The Halifax Town manager says that he tries to put himself in the shoes of his team members and to think about what they might need. He keeps pep talks relaxed and informal – and the players listen and take his advice on board. While there may be time to dwell on an away game on the coach home, with some post-match analysis he recognises that he needs to keep spirits high, whatever the result.
After one particular defeat, Pete Wild said: “We need to be braver with the football and we need to get back to what we do best, which is dominating play and using our attacking prowess to win football matches.”
Every forward-thinking company will need to make some bold moves in order to progress. At PPS, these have included:
While there’s a time to be cautious, it’s these brave and bold decisions that have helped us to grow as a company.
A favourite piece of advice from the FC Halifax Town manager to his team is: “Do the simple things well.”
A good motto for business too, this could relate to any number of day-to-day activities, for example:
Positive thinking brings results in sport and in business. This is especially important if the team or the workforce has suffered defeats. Pressure without support won’t bring results.
While mental health and wellbeing are better understood today than they were in the past, managers and team members should be supportive of colleagues who are struggling, whether for reasons from within or outside the workplace. Disharmony – from personality clashes to bullying – should be immediately identified and addressed, and complaints taken seriously, both for the good of the individual and the team.
Football today is big business and both sports teams and businesses deal with huge sums of money. “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” is a well-known saying that is often appropriate.
At the same time, major investment in the right areas – whether a new player or new business premises – can bring dividends over time.
While every player – or staff member – has their individual contribution to make, it’s essential that they also are made to feel part of a team.
As Pete Wild has said of his approach: “I’m not one for going ‘it’s me versus them’, it’s not, we’re all in it together… The togetherness and team spirit we’ve got in that dressing room is key.”
At PPS and Simm, we aim to engender a positive team spirit – after all, just like FC Halifax Town, we are all aiming for the same goals!