England’s football squad may have been knocked out of the Women’s European Championships by their semi final defeat against the Netherlands, but there are some positive lessons to be learned and which deserve wider application.
Women’s football in the UK has never enjoyed a higher profile than it does right now and the team’s performance has gone from strength to strength. As The Daily Telegraph points out in its post-semi final article: “Given they are the first England squad to reach the last four of two successive tournaments in more than half a century (and Sir Alf Ramsey’s England only did so because there were only four teams in the European Championships in 1968) they have still achieved more than the men’s team have managed in decades.
Bec Development MD and founder Helen Tiffany firmly believes we can take positive lessons from their performance off the pitch and into the workplace (and adopted more than one or two football puns to underline her point):
“If companies want their teams to give them motivated performance then a few things need to be in place:
- there needs to be a clear goal
- team managers should sponsor and champion their teams’ work internally and externally
- managers have to become coaches too, so they can drive development and empowerment
- they need to work the offence and defence, go all out for the new opportunities but have a plan for when times get tough
- make sure teams get their half time “oranges” – treats work like a charm!
Ben Tipney is a Bec Development associate, a professional coach and trainer, and a former international athlete. “I’d build on what Helen Tiffany says about setting clear goals.
“In my opinion, the difference between a team and a group of highly skilled individuals is that the team’s performance is greater than the sum of its parts. To achieve that, goals have to not only be clearly set out. Begin with the end in mind – for all the Stephen Covey fans*. The whole team needs to have bought into the goals and plan their role and necessary behaviours.
“I’m sure that when the England Men’s Team took the to pitch against Iceland in Euro 2016 last year, they went out with the intent to play as a team, but you could tell that they weren’t absolutely clear about how they should function as a team, and what their mission was. What should set them apart from other teams. There was no identifiable collective vision. In essence, it was a team of stars against a star team – and we all know the result!”
In sharp contrast, observes Ben, when you watched the England Women’s Team, you could see the passion flowing through them. “It was clear that they not only understood what they were trying to achieve but believed in it. They bought into their place, their role in the team. They trusted the process and their team-mates around them, and you could see the sharing of leadership throughout the team.
“Developing Trust in your Process and in your team-mates cannot be forced or rushed, it’s learnt through the behaviours we exhibit when we interact with our team-mates.”
Ben says 2 clear workplace lessons are:
- Value Team above Talent – promote, develop and nurture those who display that attitude, and don’t tolerate behaviours that undermine others in the team or the team ethos. The New Zealand All Blacks in Rugby Union are an excellent example of this.
- Invest time, effort and energy into ensuring you get collective buy-in from your team into your goals and vision. Decision-making doesn’t have to democratic (in fact this rarely works), but encourage input and ensure that people SEE their input being utilised.
* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey. Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind