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TRG Blog

Talent Management – What Organisations Can Learn from Top Sport Teams

Posted by Yen Phuong Nguyen on

The recent Asian Football Confederation between U23 Vietnam and Uzbekistan has left us all in awe. Whether you are a football fan or not, the match still made an unforgettable impression on every Vietnamese patriot.

What is the most important factor that brings Vietnam national football team of this season such success? If your answer is “the coach”, maybe you have realised the importance of managing a team full of high-performing members. Let us show you how much resemblance a football coach and any manager may share.

Talent Management – What Organisations Can Learn from Top Football Leagues

What talent management lessons can we learn from a football league?

While both talented football players and high-performing employees (HiPos) are well aware of their specialities, managing them has never been so challenging of a quest.

Read more: Giving "difficult" high performers special treatment: yes or no?

There are 5 distinct talent management lessons that organisation can learn from a football league.

Lesson 1: The manager/coach is the decision maker

A national football league is full of high achievers who all want their fair share of the game. As the team manager, how do you handle their eagerness to play but still keep the team unity intact?

Read more: Creating a "team spirit" in your organisation

Shouting might not be the wisest move, nor being too soft. There should be a balance to achieve successful leadership. You may allow free speech, but you must be the one who make the final decision and tell them which direction to look at. All the same with business.

Read more: 3 effective ways to manage "difficult" high performers

Lesson 2: The art of delegation

The club manager needs to handle five particularly vital groups: the players, the press, the public, the club directors, and the agents. The manager alone simply cannot handle every single request, therefore, s/he needs a good sidekick to take care of the changing room while he’s in the meeting. CEOs, no matter how good they are with multitasking, they still need a dedicated Deputy.

Read more: Escaping micromanagement - Loosen your grip and free up your time

Lesson 3: Offer your HiPos the opportunity to career advancement

High performers are self-motivated, result-oriented and have a gift for learning. Often times, they tend to be left alone as the managers focus their energy more on the less competent members. However, this is a missed opportunity as the high performers also want to enhance their skills.

Read more: Duplicating your top employees

Offer your HiPos the opportunity to career advancement

In football, we usually hear about a good player successfully signs his deal with a different club, simply because he would get paid higher as well as a better chance to win trophies. Club managers prevent such loss by lending their best players to another club.  

In the business world, an effective leader would show immense care about his or her employees’ career by giving them all a fair chance to improve. Many companies offer job rotation. Different roles and responsibilities can help broaden the employees’ experience and skill sets.

Read more: Development - This is not an event... it's a journey!

Lesson 4: Succession planning – Prepare for the unexpected

On average, an elite football player changes club 3.8 times, likewise, a graduate changes jobs 11 times in his/her career. If your members find a better opportunity to advance their care`ers, nothing can stop them from doing so.

One of the manager’s responsibilities is to retain the employees for as long as possible whilst preparing for their exit. Therefore, having a well-established succession plan is essential. What looks like a “new star is born” is actually the results of years of hard work and preparation.

Read more: How "potential" are your candidates in the succession plan?

An effective succession plan helps you anticipate the potential problems (your HiPos calling quit), urge you to act now (nurture and develop potentially high performers), so when the disaster strikes, you will at least have a well-thought backup plan to turn to. 

Lesson 5: Utilise data analytics to improve performance

Nowadays, data analytics is used in both business and football settings to further boost performance and results. Utilising data generated from analytics software helps the team envision the big picture, including how their skills can be leveraged in an intelligence-based plan to counterattack the opponent team.

Specifically, information transmitted from the players’ bodies can be displayed instantly on the coach’s iPad or any electronic devices, detailing heart rates, speed, acceleration and power, etc., which can all be used for an in-depth analysis. Results from the analysis are used to identify fit players or the compatibility between players.

Obtaining accurate information is crucial to the survival of the organisation. Doing what your gut tells you is not good enough. As you are equipped with validated insights, more efficient decision making can be drawn, and you’ll be looking at new ways to recruit and retain talented members.

Read more: How will Industry 4.0 affect talent management?

Both football and business are a team sport. Getting the right team members, continuously nurturing and offering them opportunities to shine, and utilising data analytics to maximise their skill sets will lead to higher performance and engagement. Employee engagement, a great company culture and a motivating workplace will bring you a unique competitive advantage that worth every ounce of investment and consideration.

Want to know more about succession planning? Or is your organisation currently facing difficulties with your plan and unable to proceed? Download our whitepaper to find out what it takes to be successful with an effective succession plan!

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Topics: Talent Management

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