Where sport meets business performance

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In August I was invited by a good friend of mine who is an international wine expert to the beautiful golden wine mile in Spain.
The Spanish wine region of Ribera del Duero is one of the most prestigious wine producing areas in the world. Ribera del Duero´s vineyards blanket across the Duero river’s banks. This is the land of the “Conquistadors” and castles and ruined fortresses punctuate the dry arid landscapes throughout the region. The most impressive is Peñafiel, shaped like a battleship and located majestically on the top of a craggy hill. Mythical wines made here include Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Abadia Retuerta, Pesquera, Viña Mayor, Emilo Moro, Carmelo Rodero, Pago de Carrovejas, just to name a few and we did visit all the vineyards, including tasting from the barell. The famous “Golden Mile” in the Ribera features some of these wineries and some of Spain’s most expensive wines.

The good news when travelling through Spain was that we had hours to talk about practically anything and everything, including putting the world to rights.
My friend is also the Chairman of the International Federation of American Football Europe Technical Commitee and General Manager of the International Federation of American Football World Development Team, which I find incredibly interesting, he finds my world completely alien to his world of wine and sports, so lots to discuss I said, and he laughed.
He said winning is beyond important in Spain, look at soccer and Real Madrid. The team claim every important soccer prize in the Spanish professional league, as well as in European club competition.
Here in Spain, fútbol (soccer) is like a religion,” he says. “When Real Madrid plays a game, Real Madrid has to win,” he says. “There is no other option in our minds. This is part of representing our shirt, our emblem. When our players walk on the pitch, they know the only result is victory.

I started to think about the same synergies in business, as your business evolves and your needs change, your organisational structure must be flexible enough to meet those needs. If your business is demanding an excessive amount of your time with no goal in sight, you may want to recruit some of the following winning strategies into your business structure.
Your team may have a captain, but that doesn’t mean all of the decisions should be limited to that one person. In start-ups, the majority of decisions are handled directly by the CEO. But as the size of your business grows, the line of authority in making quick decisions needs to expand to meet the needs of your in-house operations and outside customers.
If a play stops working, smart players change it.
A well-timed hat-trick may score big at a pivotal moment in the game, but when circumstances on the field change, so must your strategy for continued success. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs try to maintain their initial organisational structure despite stark growth or industry shifts within the company.

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Your structure is only as good as the people operating within it and how well they’re matched to their jobs.
As your business grows, it’s important to monitor the abilities of your employees to be sure there is still a good fit with abilities and responsibilities.
Recognising there are some departments that should remain in close connection with the executive level, such as financial decisions, accounting, and high-level human resources, many of the day-to-day decisions can (and should) be handled by your mid-management team.

Typically, on the field, forwards don’t communicate much with the goalkeepers. That is because their roles require focus on different things. Similarly, in a healthy business environment, different departments are given the ability to focus on their own goals.
By allowing your mid-management the latitude to gauge the commitment levels and abilities of their team members, they can restructure the perimeters of a job’s duties to best serve the satisfaction of valued employees and contribute to the overall success of the company.
By providing leadership that encourages growth, encouraging checks and balances between departments, maintaining strategic adaptations to changing business structures, and matching the ideal person for the ideal job, you are primed and ready to score in your business.
The obligation of ownership creates more of a public trust feeling than running any other business. The ownership group has the responsibility for the long-term viability of the franchise. It has to make bottom-line decisions that are best for them. But the last thing the fans care about is a discussion about profitability. They only want to win.”
In sport you want to win, in business you want to succeed, both disciplines and principles have the desire for entrepreneurial spirit.

As Vince Lombardi once said:

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

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