‘You don’t really like football do you’, my mum asked me today. It came as I was discussing the recent Euro matches including the amazing win by Wales. I had to remind her that I had been the only girl on the primary school football team and when I became a local reporter was delighted when I got the chance to report on the Bolton Wanderers matches. (Back then they were on the up and I had two trips to Wembley in one season with the Coca-Cola cup and play off finals.
It isn’t just the football that makes it interesting. It is great to watch how they work together and to see where the team work is strong and where extra support may be needed. Watching the winning teams during the Euros you can see them working together, helping each other, understanding what the plan will be. These are all qualities we want to replicate in our work teams.
If we all understand the purpose for the organisation and what we are doing, we work together and are happy to help each other then we should be able to achieve better results. And as with football teams if we have practiced our set pieces then when we are put under pressure we will still be able to achieve the required result. All too often we don’t test how our teams work and when the pressure is put on it can fall apart. For communication teams particularly it means testing your emergency communication plans ready for that crisis that will appear without warning.
The other thing that often seems to be in evidence in winning teams is a passion and a desire to get the right result. Wales showed this last night as they had a belief in themselves and a clear drive and commitment to get the result they wanted. In the workplace it is a massive challenge to keep people motivated and committed to the team. The draining elements of modern life have put this under pressure. For communicators this means moving from internal communication to employee engagement to ensure you can connect with the passion people may have had for the job they do.
Each member of the team knows what they have to do. It isn’t about the stars shining; it is about how they can all play their part to get the win. This is something that we all need to try to encourage at work. Selflessness and a responsibility to the wider team are often what we speak about but behind it we can be more concerned with our own position, possible promotion or career development.
Building effective teams isn’t easy. We can see that with the football that has been taking place in the past few weeks. For it to work we need to have created the right conditions, have the right people and have the right plan. Above all we need to have effective communication at all levels and involving everyone to get the best. So I am sorry mum but yes I do like football and I will quite happily sit and enjoy watching a match.