What we can learn from Sporting Strategy

Paul Roos, coach of the Sydney Swans football club in Australia has had significant success in a very short amount of time with his harbor based club. Success in sport can be a little hit an miss at times with some members of the public really questioning the influence people outside of the side can really have. You can draw the same conclusion at times to the corporate environment. How much influence really does the CEO place on the organization to influence its performance and its culture? Is it more to do about the team below him/her?

Roos took what was a struggling, inwardly focused sporting club and re engineered it to be consistently successful. Many corporations could take a leaf out of his approach which from what I've read about is quite remarkable. There is some very unique elements to the coaching philosophy of Roos.

Firstly Roos has a solid leadership team which join him in making strategic decisions about the team. He draws from them insight and uses this to massage his strategies. Importantly, through these decision making forums, accountability is shifted away from just him as the coach, and to undoubtedly the people who can influence the outcome more directly….the players.

Second of all it appears that a simple approach to team management has removed any element of doubt about the way the team functions, how it acts and how it wants to be seen. The team philosophy is a simple one, a type of value statement which reads "no idiots on our team". Now I know what you are thinking…..going into work on Monday morning and making this suggestion to your CEO may be a career limiting move, however the sentiments behind this team value statement is clear. No one could doubt that each and every member of the club understand clearly what this means. It's about the team first…….and everything else comes second.

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Roos has 25 commandments that govern the team philosophy. These commandments are never questioned and the line never crossed. Its just not a list of commandments that the team must follow, but also so must the coach. For instance, one of the commandments is that "no player will be taken off the ground for making a mistake". Simple, but very powerful. Could you imagine being a player who is given the backing to trust their instincts, back themselves and let their talent take them places….imagine what you could do in your corporate environment if this philosophy was in place, where your CEO said stretch yourself, do what you do and back yourself…..we'll support you 100% no matter the outcome.

Sporting philosophy and business do go hand in hand. Keeping it simple removes all chances of misinterpretation and increases the chances of success.

Mark Henderson is a guest writer for Business Pundit and owner of www.reverseturkey.com