From as far back as I can remember, businesses have never been shy from using a strong sporting analogy to breathe life into stuffy corporate culture. Whether you’re working on a ‘slam-dunk’ presentation or you’re an investor looking to take a ‘punt’ on something, there always seems to be a sporting scenario to match the business need, ‘horses for courses’ if you will.
Whilst the comparisons can often seem trite, the publication of Michael Lewis’s ‘Moneyball’ in 2003 served notice to the wider business community that the path to enlightenment is often just as likely to be found on a baseball diamond via sabermetrics as it is to be found in the boardroom via profit and loss charts.
As a rule, we never put ourselves forward for awards – there are countless of them in our industry – having always felt our energies were better channelled into supplying the best possible service to our clients, rather than filling in forms and seeking trophies to stick in a cabinet in reception.
It did however, set me to thinking – what are the drivers of the growth we have consistently seen that could help other businesses? And perhaps more specifically, was there a handy sporting analogy to illustrate my thinking?
I’ve always followed American Football, and so with that in mind, here’s how I think you can try to win the business Super Bowl.
- The player is paramount
Like sports stars, your staff need nurturing and supporting. We help our staff find acting work through our own in-house agency ‘RSVP Artists’ and we give them time off for castings and jobs. No one player is bigger than the team, but I’ve found the more you can help someone with their own professional development – be it within the business, or with goals outside of it – the more you will be repaid by them in return. Look after your players, keep the locker room happy, and you’ll remain competitive.
- Pick a good quarterback.
- Be strong on offense.
- Defense is your foundation.
These four key things aren’t always easy to get right, and in my own experience a good business finds a way of balancing them all together. That’s exactly what successful NFL teams have – the right balance.
The famous American Football Coach Vince Lombardi once said “individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” So whilst our offices at RSVP are far removed from the grid-irons and astro-domes of the USA, I personally believe that the application of learning from the NFL is as good a way as any to improve and grow your business.