Football is not just a game – It’s a game changer for team building

Rupert Picardo

Rupert Picardo

Director, d'frens

It’s football time again (when is it not for a fan?), but if you’re a newbie to this sport you might wonder what the hullabaloo is all about. Critics and cynics have much to say and the fans even more.

But I’d like to talk about the beautiful game from a different perspective. As a team building facilitator at d’frens and the thrill of having delivered over 750 team-based programs, I really can’t help but look at everything from a team perspective.

For years we’ve asked corporate groups what kind of team they are –

  • A tug-of-war team where everyone does exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.
  • A relay team where everyone does the same thing but at different times
  • A cricket team where at any given instant, only two or three players are involved

Or – and wait for it – a football team (soccer) where the success and objectives/goals are achieved by teamwork that is dependent not just on skill and accuracy but as a combination of:

  • Anticipating your team member’s next move
  • Putting yourself in a position of advantage that can help your team member or team
  • Out-thinking your competition by anticipating their moves
  • Sticking to your primary role, but be willing to do what is necessary in the interest of the team

In addition to this, you need commitment, a level of dynamism and a strong independent style that allows you to continuously make decisions for your team without any help from management.

Wow – what more would you need? If corporate teams functioned as their football counterparts, we’d have fans lining up to watch us work too.

Well, If you’re in the mood to learn from this game, there are 20+ immediate lessons for corporate teams and I would have carried on, but there’s another match about to start and I haven’t donned my jersey or painted my face yet.