If Only We Worked the Way We Play Footy

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Engagement v Passion...what's the difference

Every year at this time, as the AFL season is well underway, I have the same recurring thought.  And that is, we should run business like the game of football. I mean, how great would the professional world be if only the genuinely talented players made the “team” and only the best companies “won?”

·       Where everyone had to work as hard as individuals as they did collectively?

·       Where there is a direct correlation between exertion, talent, hard work, performance and winning?

·       Where everyone on the team ploughs through obstacles and/or jumps back to their feet and into the game if they get knocked down?

·       Where everyone on the team is passionate, not just engaged…it’s easy to deduce that employees who are passionate about their work is good to have around, how does passion actually influence the way your organisation works? 

Here’s is why I love the culture:

Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious”.

It makes for the greatest work culture analogy.

·       Football creates a powerful cultural operating system (COS): COS can be a crucial determinant of a club's success. Leaders who invest in fostering a potent cultural system that enables their organisational strategy reap daily rewards for their investment. On the other hand, club CEOs who have failed to instill a productive COS will allow unwritten rules to fill the void, creating a disruptive internal force.

·       Football use the science of developing mental toughness: Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? Or a good leader? Or a good parent? Why do some people accomplish their goals while others fail?

·       Football uses passion to achieve their goals: What is the difference between a engaged player and a passionate one? 

o   ENGAGED players are switched on: conscientious about their work, do everything that is expected of them and comply with strategies, structures, policies and procedures to the letter. 

o   Then there are PASSIONATE players: these people don't just stick to the rulebook - they do whatever it takes to delight members and supporters. These emotionally committed athletes are passionate about their work, and the organisation they play for.

Employee engagement is just the starting point. Passionate employees take your organisation to the next level.

·       Where passion we suggest has a way of pushing someone through boundaries that might limit their potential.

·       Does this mean passion can create tangible results? You can find out through the following 4 Dimensions of Passion

1.     Passion is about giving more

2.     Passion brings real results

3.     Passion needs to be measured

4.     Passion is not proficiency - Contact for more info on the 4 Dimensions or just a chat:

Here's why I love the structure:

·       Football manages performance to get results: While it is not okay to blow a play, there is nothing wrong with being told you stuffed up… a positive critical conversation. The players don't take feedback personally. Instead, they incorporate it into their performance so they don't make the same mistake again—the mark of a true professional.

·       Football gets the most out of its players: It's fine to be emotional. No one judges the players for their reactions and feelings (within reason). No one cares, as long as they play and they play well. This way the focus remains on the game and its objectives not on personal feelings and drama.

So why not borrow from the football structures? Its organizational structure and the way it manages teams and performance could go a long way in Corporate Australia.

Football Positions

Business Structures

Roles/ Responsibilities

Owner/Major Stakeholders


Ensures the results are achieved through a crafted vision

General Manager

Human Resources

Assembles the right team for the right purpose for the right culture and aligned to the vision

Senior Coach

Strategic Management

Is all about the games with the primary function to come up with the game plans and culture, and implementing the strategy to the vision

Coordinators/ Positions and Speciality Coaches

Technical Management

Targets specific objectives with expertise that perfects necessary and relevant skills, knowledge and mental strength aligned to the purpose of the job


Team Members

Makes it all happen with each individual executing a role in a function with a purpose that has been explicitly defined and clarified

So why not borrow from football?

Its organisational structure and the way it manages teams and performance could go a long way in Corporate Australia.

One last word…Go Eagles, George Sawiris