I’ve always loved team sports, playing them, watching them, just love them. So with the Ashes in full swing, and the Premier League season about to kick off, it was no surprise that my thoughts turned again to the lessons sport has for business.
I think I may have been listening to the two new stars of football punditry, Gary and Jamie, when the talk turned to the need to have a strong spine in your team. They talk about this a lot in football. The idea is that if you have a strong spine…from goalkeeper, through centre back, centre midfield and up to your centre forward it will 1) strengthen the whole team, 2) give you the structure to build the creativity on, allowing your more creative players to ‘do their thing’, and 3) help you to deal with any problems that occur.
And it struck me that in business that strong spine is your process. Having a strong spine of logical, repeatable processes and procedures that everyone in your team follows, allows the whole team to be creative, to stamp their personality on your operation…within a structure. It also means that every team member knows what to do when problems arise…they trust in the system.
It’s about being able to do things on auto pilot because you know the system, you’ve been drilled in it, you know that your team mates know it too, so you trust that they will be where they should be when you need them.
In a footballing sense, think Barcelona…possibly the best example in the footballing world of a well drilled team, with a strong spine, oozing creativity.
Of course who you have in each position in your business is still important, but it’s the systems that run your business…your people run the systems. Or at least that’s the ideal. It doesn’t exist in every business or in every team.
Think back to Barcelona…their systems are drilled through every level of the club, so if you were to take a kid from the junior team and stick him in the first team, he would know exactly what he should be doing and where he should be, even if he didn’t have the strength and the fitness to keep up. That’s how it should and could be in business…your systems so well entrenched that you lose someone to holiday, sickness, maternity leave, and your well oiled machine just keeps on moving forward.
You don’t need a chiropractor to fix your spine, but you do need to commit the time and money to develop efficient processes and procedures in every area of your business. The rewards are worth every second of the time you put into it. Just ask Gary and Jamie!
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