Football & Your Business: 5 Things They Have in Common


For years, football has soundly occupied the throne as America’s favorite sport. There are countless factors responsible for the game’s long-standing popularity, but most worthy of mentioning is the foundation upon which football is built. That’s because Americans can easily identify with the powerful principles that the game of football represents. Not shockingly, these same principles are engrained into the foundations of successful businesses across the country.

In today’s post, we will break down the top five things that football has in common with your business.

1. Teamwork

We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in team.” Sure, it’s a cliché, but this statement couldn’t be more applicable in terms of genuine teamwork. This is true in both football and in your business.

In order to work as a fully functioning team, personal goals must be secondary to the paramount, common goal of the group. When football teams take the field, everyone involved must fulfill their specific roles. The coach must develop a strategic play, the quarterback must execute this play as perfectly as possible, the offensive linemen must protect the quarterback, and the wide receivers must be ready to catch a pass at the most opportune time. Each of these player’s roles is crucial; yet, fulfilling one role, absent of the others, will not lead to a team victory.

Similarly, it is crucial for upper management to consistently and enthusiastically remind their team that the underlying goal of the business as a whole must be the driving force behind each employee. Each member of your team must fulfill their role, while keeping the desire to first achieve success for the overall business at the forefront of their minds. Then, and only then, will your business experience true teamwork, and in turn, thrive.

Want to try some fun team building exercises that are sure to strengthen bonds between your employees? Click here. 

2. Passion

“Passion is what gives meaning to our lives. It's what allows us to achieve success beyond our wildest imagination.”

– Henry Samueli

Passion is at the heartbeat of a winning football team and a winning business. Have you ever watched a football game and thought to yourself, “Wow! This team doesn’t even look like they want it?” Whenever there is a lack of passion on the football field, it’s crystal clear to everyone involved. Having an internal drive to succeed is absolutely essential for overcoming obstacles and coming out of a game victorious.

Likewise, passion is critical for businesses who desire success. A lack of passion in the workplace is just as obvious as an unmotivated football team. If your employees’ personal goals seem to trump the overall goal of your company, or if morale is generally low within your business, then a lack of passion is probably to blame.

This helpful article compares jobs to relationships. Similar to a new relationship, a new job is fun and exciting, and newer employees are likely bursting with passion during their first few months. However, after time passes, the “butterflies” tend to morph into “blahs.” Your business’ upper management must recognize when this happens, then they should promptly work to rekindle the passion that once drove these employees. Simple gestures, like periodically recognizing accomplishments, occasionally throwing office celebrations, enthusiastically offering individual praise, and demonstrating the desire to listen are effective ways to reignite passion within your employees. Remember, a passionate team is easy to spot because every member is genuinely interested in the overall success of the business.

3. “Plan B” Mindset

Football teams are no strangers to the concept of having a “Plan B.” This is exactly what 2nd and 3rd downs are.  They mean that during the 1st down, the players were unsuccessful in moving the ball 10 yards down the field; therefore, they are forced to come up with new plays that will hopefully accomplish this. These second and third attempts are what make football so exciting! Everyone knows that play changes are imminent, and players and fans alike are thankful for them. Why? Because these second and third chances give them the ability to regroup and come up with a better plan.

In the same way, your business must always be prepared to have a “Plan B” of your own. First attempts are not always successful, which provides your business with the opportunity to come up with new and improved second, and possibly third attempts. Just as football players must be unfazed by a failed first attempt, so must your employees remain composed and strive to do better the next time.

The key to maintaining a positive, “Plan B” mindset within your employees starts with normalizing the fact that failed first attempts are imminent. This way, when they happen, it will not feel detrimental to those involved. Once your employees adopt this mindset, your business will be equipped to develop successful second and third attempts of your own. Here are 5 practical ways that your business’ upper management can help your employees cope well with impending changes.

4. Leadership

"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."

- Ralph Nader

The necessity of leadership on the football field cannot be understated. Coaches know, however, that without first being effective leaders themselves, they will never have true leaders on their team. Players must know that they are appreciated and valued by their coaches in order for them to feel the freedom and empowerment to become respectable leaders.

In business, it is key to understand that there is a difference between a good manager and a good leader. Managers are true to their namesake: they simply manage their employees. They assign tasks and maintain control by enforcing rules that all must adhere to. Now, don’t get us wrong. These tasks are obviously needed to ensure a business will run smoothly. But instead of the rigid, task-based nature of management, leadership assumes a more trust-based approach. Good leadership asks questions such as, “Do my employees seem stressed out?” and “Is my team feeling good about the future and our energy as a whole?” Here are some more insightful tips on how to be a better leader, not just a good manager.

Just as football players must feel that they are valued and respected by their coaches, employees need to feel the same regarding their leaders. The truth is that employees require intentional affirmation. They must be assured of their worth to the company and feel that they are on the path to becoming an upstanding leader themselves. Employees thrive in environments where they feel valued, and employees who feel valued perform at a significantly high level. Cultivate leaders in your own business by using these tips to better show your employees their value.

5. Social

Anyone can see that football is extremely social. The sport notoriously builds instant connections with fans of all demographics. Many fans are so emotionally invested that they genuinely feel they are a part of their favorite team. But they are not limited to feeling this connection at the games alone. Social media fuels this connection, as teams regularly interact with their fans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Football teams also value community involvement and can frequently be seen actively volunteering for various charitable organizations in their hometowns.

Similarly, your business should also strive to be social. Doing so cultivates emotional investments and genuine connections with your customer database. Developing these connections is proven to drive brand loyalty. Being involved on social media provides another outlet for businesses to interact with their current customers and future prospects. It is also strongly recommended that businesses become involved with some type of charitable organization in their community. Not only does this help your business build goodwill, but it’s good for business as well. That’s because 85% of consumers are more likely to purchase your product if it’s associated with a charity. Click here to learn more about why being charitable is good for business and, perhaps more importantly, how to do it authentically. 

When it comes to football, there are several qualities that businesses should take note of and imitate. Be sure these are implemented into your own business and you will emerge victorious in your market.

Click here to learn about sponsoring Tiger Tailgate during football season!

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