Building a Winning Team

One of the toughest challenges that a business will face, is building a winning team. There are lots of great books out there on company culture and hiring which can help you along the way, however an area which companies commonly fail to focus on, is the recruitment and development of actual talent.

Society would have us believe that we are all created equally, however in the world of business, that’s just not the reality; some people are simply more talented than others.

As World Cup fever has been recently upon us, in order to demonstrate the power of recruiting a talented team, I’m going to use a UK footballing analogy (or soccer, for our American friends.) We’ll be looking at how football clubs work to develop their teams, as they progress further up the league table and jump divisions.

In the UK, we have an amateur league and a professional league; the latter has various divisions of professionalism within:

Ultimately, the goal of any team is to get to the Champion’s league; this is where they will be on the world stage and where the big money is.

For our example, let’s say that a team currently in Vanarama has had a fantastic season; they’ve just won the league and they are about to get promoted to the next division.

In that situation, do you think the football club would make changes to their current team line up, or just keep their existing players?

Those of you that follow the sport will be aware that when a team gets promoted to the next division, they immediately shed the players, whom they believe, cannot perform at the new required level.

This means of course, that our team must recruit players to replace the ones they have lost; clubs do this by searching for players whom they know can tactically play in the next division and have the right fitness levels for the job.

As the team moves up each division, the demand on their players agility and understanding of the game increases and therefore the pattern continues. From time to time, as the club’s requirements change, even the backroom staff can be affected, as management work to put into place a structure which will push their team to the next division.

Eventually, the team in our example reaches the performance level of a champions-league class club, where they have a phenomenal starting 22. They’ve got 11 players on the pitch and another 11 equally as skilled members on the bench; the club now has enough talent to put out two teams, which could smash their competitors around the world.

In football, this churn of ‘employees’ is expected, as a team climbs the professional ranks.

So, why is it, that business owners don’t run their companies with the same level of simplicity?

It’s generally because two things come into to play:

1)    A sense of attachment: As human beings we tend to get attached to people; it’s in our nature and as such, cutting them lose can be hard.

2)    A sense of guilt: Most business owners have no issue with getting rid of rubbish people or employees that misbehave, but if you have a scaling up business and you’re growing, life isn’t that simple. As you move up through the ‘divisions’ in business, a different skillset might be required of your employees. A person that joined you at the very beginning, towards whom you have massive sense of loyalty, may have been brilliant working at a lower level, but doesn’t quite have the talent to cut it in the big leagues.

If your business requires a different talent set in order to keep growing, what do you do?

If you managed a football club, you’d quite simply get rid of one player and bring another one on. It doesn’t mean that the player or your employee have done anything wrong, they just don’t have the talent required to be able to come on the upward journey with you.

As a business coach, I see far too many businesses restricted because they have the wrong team on board.

Unfortunately, sometimes you have to lose good people, because they cannot keep up with the performance expectations of your growing business.

So, as a business owner, do you feel your company is destined to play Champions-League football, but are struggling to get there because you have a Sky Bet division 1 team?

If that’s the case and you chose to do nothing about it, you’re never going to realise your true potential or the true potential of your business.

If all of this sounds familiar to you and you’re unsure about how to make the changes required, head on over to and get in contact.

Remember, failing to learn is learning to fail.


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