4 lessons small agencies can learn from the Welsh football team
Nope. It’s not a dream. The Welsh football team (yes, Wales, who were soundly beaten 6-1 by Serbia four years ago) are playing in the semi-final of the Euros tonight. What’s more, they’re playing against a Portugal team who have been wholly underwhelming. A nation of 3 million people is allowing itself to dream of seeing their team in the final. MOVE Digital has a strong Welsh contingent, so we’ll all be cheering on the boys while watching the match through our fingers this evening!
Before the tournament, commentators noted that the hopes of the nation rested on the shoulders of one man; Gareth Bale. As the tournament has progressed, it’s become clear that that is total rubbish. This side is a proper team, who will attack, defend, and run through brick walls for each other.
Compare that to neighbours England, who (on paper) possess far more individual talent than Wales. But they don’t possess the infectious team spirit that has endeared the Welsh team to viewers around Europe, and propelled them to the semi-final (sorry, we can’t – and won’t – stop saying it).
Against the odds, Wales have progressed further than the footballing powerhouses of England, Italy, and Spain. Small and medium sized companies can learn a lot from this plucky band of Welshmen (no, seriously).
Here’s what you can learn from Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales…
Reputation counts for nothing
Okay, maybe not nothing. But reputation didn’t get England very far. And in the same vein, working with a big name agency doesn’t guarantee results. If your agency can pull off work that fulfils or – even better – exceeds your client’s demands, there’s no reason you can’t continue winning new business and growing. On the other hand, even big agencies can mess up and lose to Iceland, er, I mean, lose their biggest client.
Team spirit is vital
Wales aren’t just teammates, they’re friends. They have fun. Morale is high. Their success is just a testament to what can be achieved when you have this kind of working environment. If you make sure that your business environment is a positive one, and employees are not just colleagues but friends, you’d be amazed how far it will take you. Can you really create this environment in a big agency, with hundreds of people across multiple floors? We don’t think so. You’re the underdog. Embrace it.
Work towards a common cause
Whether it’s a football team, a marketing agency, or a high street butchers, teams work better when everyone involved is singing off the same hymn sheet. Throughout the qualification campaign – and the tournament itself – there’s been a real feeling of the Welsh team doing it for Gary Speed, the country’s former manager who died five years ago. At your agency, you need to make every employee feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Set group goals and concentrate on working towards them together, as a team. Bond with your employees as people, not just workers. Eventually, they’ll feel like it’s their company as well as yours. And that’s when the magic really happens.
Play to your strengths
Obviously, you’re not superhuman, and neither are your employees. Don’t keep trying to work a service into what your business offers if you don’t have someone on the team who’s a pro at it. Wales may not have the strongest attack (Gareth Bale aside) but the nation is blessed with a bunch of incredibly able defenders. Spotting this, Chris Coleman set up his side to prioritise a solid defence, and look at where they are now. You don’t have to be the best at everything. Set up your business plan to exploit the things you are best at. Do it to the best of your ability, and you’ll be competing with the big boys.