What We Learn from Winning Teams

In business, as in sports, the formula for success is the team.

Wow, what a year! It’s been a blast witnessing our professional sports teams participating in their respective championship series. What we saw on the field of play was only a portion of what goes into building a championship-caliber sports franchise. The Cavs’ and the Indians’ successes on and off the field provide business lessons that can help our local companies succeed and grow. 

It starts at the top. In professional sports, owners, coaches and managers set the tone, expectations and goals. When the right people are in place, it builds the foundation for player attraction, selection and retention. And the right leadership, along with a sound organizational structure, significantly improves the probability of success. Throw in a little luck, and magic happens!

Talent rules: Winning in team sports is no accident. You win with top performers (superstars) surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast. And it’s not just the players on the field. Scouts, front office, concessions, trainers, security and operations personnel are all part of putting a great team on the field. 

Great Workplace: The sports facilities for the professional athletes in our town are excellent, including the stadiums and training complexes. The franchise owners and coaches understand that, in order to attract and retain great athletes, they need to provide a winning atmosphere that includes the physical work environments.

Training: Hundreds of hours of work, individually and for the team, go into preparing for a season. The physical, emotional and mental preparation for game day is impressive. Sports teams are passionate about training and recognize that winning, or even having a chance to win, cannot occur without preparation.

Community involvement: Throughout the season and offseason, it is not uncommon to hear about professional athletes and teams supporting area charities, giving of their time and money. Professional athletes are in a unique position to positively touch the lives of others. They recognize this, and those with a true community spirit spend countless hours making a difference throughout Northeast Ohio. 

It certainly will be a sports year to remember for decades. The Cavs’ and Indians’ achievements were remarkable, exhilarating and inspirational. They achieved what others thought was impossible. And when the “impossible” was achieved, it set a winning tone for the entire region. 

Northeast Ohio is blessed with many organizations, like the NorthCoast 99 and the Weatherhead 100 winners, that embody the characteristics of our winning sports franchises. As winning is contagious, these companies set a great example in our region for other organizations to emulate. And if they do, everyone benefits.

When you compare winning companies with our professional sports teams, the similarities are remarkable. Great leadership, infrastructure, talent, workplaces and community involvement are all key components of a good business and a good sports team. 

It’s amazing what a winning professional ball club can do for the region. Though the national media might paint our community in a positive light now that we won some ballgames, the truth is that Northeast Ohio has been an exceptional place to live and work for a long time. The sports accomplishments were simply icing on the cake. And now that the collective spirits of our community have been lifted, one can only imagine what we will accomplish in the future. 

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