What football can teach organisations about teambuilding

With its extreme highs and lows, international football has plenty of teambuilding lessons to offer leaders and organisations.
By: | October 29, 2018


About the Author
Mark Foo is the Director of Product and Technology at FastJobs.

For many football aficionados, this past summer was all about the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Over the course of four weeks, the world witnessed a thrilling tournament with where underdogs triumphed, historically strong teams fell flat and individual players from various teams displayed their talent for all to see.

Although very much a spectator sport, there are plenty of lessons that businesses can learn, especially when it comes to team-building and company culture.


Hire for team harmony

Organisations often focus on an employee’s individual performance, given that it indicates how valuable the employee is to the company.

However, Gareth Southgate – manager of the England team – has taught us that team unity is essential for the overall growth of the organisation as well.

Through the two-year stewardship of Southgate, the Three Lions were transformed from a mishmash of egoistic individuals into a humble and youthful squad.

He instilled the belief that even without established names like Joe Hart or Gary Cahill, the team can still achieve greatness.

The lesson here is that as employers, we must hire people who are not only a true fit for the position, but for the company culture as well.

Only then will you find team players who make it their goal to ensure that the company thrives and succeeds.


This year’s football World Cup took place in Russia. 

Cultivate trust during succession planning

For any football team, younger, hungrier, and more energetic talents hold considerable appeal for the coaching staff. This is based on the belief that these individuals will deliver more results in a shorter time frame.

However, Germany – a benchmark for swift and efficient Football tactics – proved that such succession planning comes with a hefty price tag.

As talismanic players such as Miroslav Klose, Phillip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger retired after their 2014 triumph, the team relied on a host of younger players.

The failure to cultivate trust among these young players resulted in a disconnected team. In the end, Germany fizzled out early in the tournament and became a shadow of their former self.

Succession planning must not be viewed as a transitional exercise.

It is about ensuring organisational sustainability and cultivating trust in the process, so that the organisation is not dependent on any one core group, but a sum of all parts.


Encourage team diversity

“A diverse team is not only made up of individuals of different age, race or gender. It is one that embraces diversity of thought and experience.”

A diverse team is not only made up of individuals of different age, race or gender. It is one that embraces diversity of thought and experience.

This was distinctively showcased by the French team. Players with varying strengths, backgrounds, and experiences playing in various European Football leagues, enabled the coach to use innovative strategies.

To put things into perspective, France’s 14 tournament goals came from 6 different players, while Uruguay was toothless in attack when star player Edinson Cavani came out of a game injured.

Les Bleus’ victory proved that even the most solid defense cannot counter flair and creativity.

A key learning point here is that a diverse workforce brings different ideas and new ways of thinking to the table, which can lead to sustained business growth.

At FastJobs, diversity is cultivated by providing team members the opportunity to grow beyond their job scopes. Developers are actively encouraged to support on-ground marketing events, and marketing interns have the liberty to work on product development and design.

This practice helps team members gain exposure and experience beyond what they were tasked, and in turn, allows the organisation to draw on a diverse pool of talent and experiences.

This ultimately creates a team that is cohesive, creative, and innovative.