In my opinion, there are three important parameters of success in the world of football, all of which are controllable. However, it is not enough for all of them to be perfect but they need to rotate in a very harmonious synergy like the gears of the wheel. Drawing on these, there are some very valuable lessons to be learnt and translated into the world of business from team sports.
- Primary factor: The Player
You can be a very experienced and champion player but that does not mean that you will not encounter injuries and unlucky moments during the game. To be a player requires more than just the ability to play the game according to its rules. We have few things to think and discuss about:
- Losing the advantage unexpectedly during the game
You threw the pass to your teammate at the wrong time, made wrong moves, tried your luck and it didn’t work. Sometimes it’s not even your fault – the other player threw you out and you fell far behind him or fell to the ground. What difference does it make? What will you do next? What depicts you is whether you have given up the struggle and come back and how you came back.
- Talent alone is not enough
In addition to how well you play and train yourself, your physical, mental and psychological health are vital resources to your success. Do you sleep well? Is your family life calm and orderly? Do you have a mental support system or can you simply overcome negativity on your own?
- The tougher the game, the calmer you have to be
You need to learn to deal with stress. Always be the first to strike, fight fiercely and hard, and play to win. But play with a soft mind, move forward with focused and controlled aggression, and play fair and clean. But whatever the circumstances, remember that uncontrolled power is not power.
- Don’t just be enough. Be simply the best and be open to comebacks
To illustrate, I’d like to tell you a short story about Ronaldo Nazario aka Ronaldo Phenomenon. This superstar played for PSV Eindhoven, FC Barcelona, FC Inter, Real Madrid, and AC Milan, who missed a total of 166 games due to injuries throughout his career and has written his name in golden letters in the history of world football both with the cups he won and the individual achievements he gained. He has always made solid career comebacks by never stopping and never giving up despite the serious injuries that he has suffered many times. Although he had more than 70 percent of these injuries by the age of 26, he transferred himself to Real Madrid due to his hard work, determination and passion. Despite all the injuries, he crowned his career with 14 personal awards and the cups he won with 17 teams. If Ronaldo had left his dedication to football, which is his biggest passion, due to the injuries and the ups and downs that he experienced, he would have turned into an ordinary athlete and ended his career far from success, fame and money. However, when he combined stable work with superior talent, a tremendous success picture emerged.
- Second Component: The Team
A football team usually has more than 25-30 players (some of them are on the field, some of them are on the bench, some in the tribuns), but about hundreds other people who work outside the pitch – from coaches and the healthcare team to business management, the scout committe, accounting and marketing. Once the trophy times come, the podium moment may seem to belong to the few players but always the whole team are the winners. The elation and pride is everyone’s equally. Your team is definetly more than the brillant salesperson who seals the biggest deals for the company or the hardworking director who never sleeps.
From the lowest to the highest tier, this is a team game. There are always superstars fighting for the team who make magical touches in order to bring in the trophies but it’s important to remember that superstars don’t mean anything by themselves. It is necessary to provide and create the necessary environment for the superstars to shine. This is truly formed by the other members of the team. It should not be forgotten that there is always strength in unity.
Below you will see the aspects of how a successful team look like. But before that, let’s have a short look at some quotes:
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships” – Michael Jordan
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”’ – Isaac Newton
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success” – Henry Ford
- Ingredients of an Invincible Team:
What is communication? It is not how much you can express yourself but how much the other person understands you. Clear and understandable communication plays a vital role here if a business task is to be accomplished as a team. Sometimes in our business life, we may not be able to fully reveal the facts and share them with our teammates so that they do not get offended. This can lead to continued weaknesses and decline within the team. It is very important to consult the deficiencies as a team, to diagnose the weaknesses and to apply the scalpel to the necessary spots. That way we become fully open to real success.
Working overtime when necessary will always put you ahead of your other team mates and competitors. If you are managing a team and want to be a role model for them in everything, I think the most important thing you will set an example for is your hard work, the brilliant jobs you will produce and the decisions you make as a result. Your teammates who see you will desire to be like you and will increase their working rhythms in this direction. By improving not only your technical knowledge and skills but also your human and spiritual aspects, you can both transform yourself into a more respected business person and guide your teammates. In this way, your productivity in the field of work will directly enter into a positive evolution.
- The Third Component: The Game
Competition and struggle should never scare you back from your path. If you are obviously the stronger team on the field, the game starts to get boring. Whether it’s other players or time, you have to have the competition. It’s nice to have others on the court competing with yourself and your team, and having them and winning victories over them makes everything even better.
In a game, teams may not always be evenly matched for their strength, so it comes down to strategy and tactics. In the business world, your product may not be unique to you – your competitors may also buy from the same supplier or your product specifications may be imitated. Assuming that you do not have a product just for you, I want to share some advices with you.
Can you find where your opponent is going and predict their next step?
Look around, keep a close eye on your competitors and try to adapt their positive moves to your own workflows. Do not see this as imitation. It is to carry ourselves and our team forward by taking the example of those who are better than us. By adapting systems and methods that we find more efficient than our own, we can achieve more concrete results.
Where are the cornerstones in your industry? By whom was it taken? What are the elements that make up the competition? What are the moves that will put you and your team one step ahead of the competitors in this competition?
You are a football team. You transfer star football players to the positions you see weak or you are renewing the technical staff so that your team can go further with new training methods. We can adapt the same scenario for the business world. By recruiting important collegues experienced from your sector into your team, you can make your existing team even stronger. The key at this point is to add reinforcements to departments that you identify as weak or think there would be greater returns if strengthened. New external reinforcements will also have a positive impact on the overall performance of existing employees in your team. New blood and fresh breath are always good.
Determination. Try, try and try even when there is no reply. Repeat until the door opens.
Those who follow football closely know the story of Edouard Mendy, the Senegalese goalkeeper of the famous English club Chelsea. The rise of Mendy, who came to the point of quitting football in 2014, is about an unprecedented success story in the history of sports. Mendy’s career is filled with many breaking moments. The Senegalese goalkeeper was released in 2014 after the Cherbourgh team in France, for which he played, terminated his contract.
Mendy, who could not find a team to go to and applied for unemployment benefits, could not agree with any team that season. However, after a season without a club, Mendy, who was considering retiring at the age of 22, had the opportunity to train with Marseille football club. Mendy, with whom Marseille signed a professional contract, could not take part in any matches with the A team and later transferred to Reims. Mendy, who played for Reims for three seasons and then transferred to Rennes, signed for Chelsea in 2020 for 24 million euros at the insistence of Coach Thomas Tuchel.
Mendy, who became the first goalkeeper in Chelsea in a short time, won the Champions League title and received the Goalkeeper of the Year award, thanks to his excellent performance. Mendy, who later lifted the Super Cup with Chelsea, finally managed to win the African Cup of Nations and is now among the best goalkeepers in the world. In short, his career, which we can describe as a showcase, started at a very late age for football – 28. Mendy’s history is the life of coming from the bottom to the top, thanks to his never giving up and hard work. Business life is like that. You can fall back from time to time or you can start the race from the very back. But by working hard and putting your passion into it, you can overcome all the obstacles in front of you. Trust yourself and send positive messages to the universe. As long as you work properly and honestly, what you deserve will surely find you.
The most important thing to remember is that you are already in the game. You are even an important part of it. That’s why it is important to keep your goals stable, coordinate your teammates and walk confidently towards your future. I would like to close with a memorable quote from the great leader, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern and secular Turkey. “We don’t need anything. We only need one thing: to be hardworking.”