3 lessons your business can learn from England vs Italy

The ‘carnival of football’ has kicked off, and almost half the world’s population is expected to tune in.

Although England lost their first match, against Italy, expectations remain good for the side, who turned in an unexpectedly high quality performance. But football teams are much like businesses: they rely not just on individual performances and strong management, but also on excellent coordination. So what can your small business learn from England’s first fixture?

1. Trust the younger members of your team

One of the signal qualities of Saturday’s match was the performance of some of the younger, less tested members of the England squad. These younger players were often responsible for some of the game’s best moments – and, crucially, there was even some question about whether one of the unexpected star players would even start the match at all. It’s important that you place your trust in the younger members of your team, and give them the support they need to do their best work. You need to build structures that allow them to succeed – and, ultimately, you need to give them the chance to prove themselves.

2. Play to your team members’ strengths

Much of the conversation during and after the match focused on the decision to play Wayne Rooney in an unfamiliar position. Although manager Roy Hodgson disagreed, many commenters suggested that Rooney, ostensibly one of the team’s most important members, should either be played in his primary position, or should give up his space on the squad in favour of someone else. Similarly, in business it is important that you give every member of your team (and, indeed, yourself) the chance to fulfil their talents. This means hiring people who are right for the job, but it also means ensuring that they have the space to work to their strengths. By playing to those strengths you can help to ensure that you will get the best out of your team.

3. When you’re down, get straight back up

The England team have a rich history of collapsing as soon as they conceded. Against Italy, though, they scored at a vitally important time, immediately after the Italians had taken the lead. This allowed them to take some of the immediate momentum out of the Italian side; had they not done so, it seems likely that the Italians would have scored even more. It is crucial that you can get straight back up when you’re knocked down. Things don’t always go smoothly in business, and it’s important that you are able to pick yourself up in the event of a setback. Clearly this also requires forward planning, for example to ensure that you have a slush fund to help you get by and, indeed, that you proper insurance including, for example, business interruption cover.