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Team spirit: franchise lessons from the sports world

Written by Pip Wilkins on Friday, 09 September 2016. Posted in Insight

From the Euro 2016 underdogs beating the odds to Team GB’s Olympic glory, this summer was rich with sporting success stories franchisors can learn from

Team spirit: franchise lessons from the sports world

It’s been a wonderful few months for sports fanatics. We’ve had Leicester City shocking the country with the ultimate underdog Premier League win, inspiring Icelanders and Welsh wonders at Euro 2016 and a remarkable result in Rio from our Olympic athletes. What’s this got to do with franchising, you may ask? As it turns out, there are quite a few business lessons to be learned from the sporting world.

The Leicester City fairytale has already become part of football folklore. The team was a favourite for relegation and had odds of 5,000-1 to win the Premier League title last August. At that point, manager Claudio Ranieri did what every great leader does with their team: he played to its strengths. Ranieri’s focus on pace, teamwork and counter-attacking maximised the team’s best qualities. In the end, the sense of togetherness among players gave Leicester City an edge over some of its toughest competition. Those are principles that every franchisee and franchisor would do well to heed.

In a similar vein, Wales and Iceland are striking examples of how it’s possible to become far more than the sum of your parts. Rank outsiders when Euro 2016 began, Iceland’s win against England perfectly highlighted the power of teamwork. And Wales showed the importance of working as a team even when you have superstar players like Gareth Bale in the mix, who made no attempt to be a one-man show and instead worked with his team.

We also saw teamwork in action during the Euro 2016 final when Cristiano Ronaldo went off early after getting injured, seemingly taking Portugal’s hopes with him. But, in fact, his departure had a galvanising effect on his teammates. With their star striker cheering on from the sidelines, they pulled together to deliver a crushing extra-time blow to France. You could also argue that Ronaldo looked like more of a team player from the sidelines, acting almost like a second manager rather than giving them a hard time for not passing the ball.

Similarly, we could all learn a lot from Team GB’s performance in Rio – in particular their mentality, attitude and approach. There are parallels with franchising too: you have a group of individuals striving for maximum performance who are brought together under a larger umbrella and are driving each other on to greater heights. It’s like they’ve taken the franchising formula and applied it to elite sport – with incredible results.

No doubt many smart franchising professionals will have noted the role of teamwork in driving sporting success over the past few months. Applying philosophies from sport to business might not result in gold medals but it will certainly strengthen any franchise offering.

About the Author

Pip Wilkins

Pip Wilkins

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say we’ve got franchising royalty on board in the shape of Wilkins. The bfa chief executive boasts more than 15 years of experience in the franchise sector and is a regular event speaker both at home and abroad.

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