I know we were talking about football last week, and as we are still IN the World Cup, I make no apology for continuing the theme.
I was chatting this week to a football mad fan, and the subject was how nice it is to be doing well (so far!), and that in the last few world cups, it had been a bit painful. And it made me think how UNLIKE business football can be.
You see in football when you support a team, it’s kind of a lifelong thing isn’t it? You pick your team when you are little – maybe because your Dad supports them, or a friend, or your brother (in my case it was Dad), and then you pretty much stick with them through thick or thin.
I have a friend who chose ‘her team’ on the school bus, when asked if she was a city or united supporter, she didn’t much like Blue and so United it was! And whatever the reason for the initial choice, once you have created that identity for yourself, you support that team through thick and thin.
And that is so NOT like business.
In business if we work for someone and they don’t do very well, we tend to leave and go work somewhere else. If we employ someone and they don’t do very well, we let them go. If we do business with a company and they get something wrong, we look around for another supplier.
Why is it that we have so little loyalty in business but so much in football?
Well there are companies that break this trend and the reasons why give us a clue as to what is happening with football fans.
Take Apple for example. Mac and iPhone users are not just people buying a product, they are raving fans – and like in football – once they are a raving Apple fan they rarely go back. Why is that? Well – sure the technology is cool and it does great stuff – but there’s a lot of android tech that is also pretty cool and in some cases cooler (ok I can hear the screams of outrage from the ios fans – you can stop now, I’m an Apple fan too).
You see, what apple have done is they have created a club, a community. You are not just someone who buys cool tech, you ARE ‘Apple or Android’, in the same way you are ‘United or City’, ‘Everton or Liverpool’.
Myself – I’m a Liverpool fan. Though I am embarrassed to say, not as much of a fan as my friend Dee. I have a client – who I didn’t recognise as a Liverpool player when we first met! Oops! #sorrysalif
My whole family are Liverpool supporters, my nephew Leon was bought a Liverpool kit as one of his first presents and he will be playing for Liverpool one day – his future was mapped out from day one. And actually – I am being serious – he plays for Bradford Academy at the moment and is good enough to make it to the Liverpool team one day (I’m not in the least bit biased, i am a raving fan of Leon!).
In life, in business, in football. You need to create raving fans, because you need someone cheering for you when you are struggling. You need someone cheering for you when you are succeeding too – it’s not quite the same buzz celebrating alone. And you also need loving feedback – you need to know when you’re not doing so well and need to up your game.
Any raving football fan will be shouting all sorts of ‘feedback’ to the players, the manager and the referee during times when they need to perform better. Dee would sack the lot of them at times. Except that she wouldn’t – because good result or bad – great match or below par – she is there supporting them through thick and thin.
And when you have that sort of support – doesn’t it make life a little bit easier?
And the good news is – you don’t have to go out there and create a community – though you can if you want to. There are plenty of places you can find like-minded people – like a football club, or a special interest group (patchwork groups, wine tasting, Mums and Baby groups). The important thing is to find a group where the ethos fits with what you expect and need a group to be.
You need a community of like minded people, who feel your pain because they have been there, who cheer your success because they are genuinely delighted for you, who will help you out because they believe in collaboration and who will challenge you to be the best you that you can be.
If you are looking for THAT community, you might have just found it. Hop over to the Find Your Why Foundation and have a look at how being in the WHYs Women Council can give you a community of like minded women who’ll become YOUR raving fans!