In The Trenches

Do You Have a World Cup Culture?

Published on July 2, 2018 Back to blog
World Cup Fans

Walking thru the streets of Bogota last week, on the first day of our family vacation, we were swarmed by people wearing yellow jerseys. Crowds were packed in front of every storefront with a TV. And, street vendors had their radios blasting, with people standing around to listen. It seemed as though every Colombian had put life on hold to watch and cheer on their team in the World Cup. Nothing else mattered. When Colombia scored a goal, the entire city erupted. And, when they won… well, you just had to be there. 

Coming from Boston, I thought I had a pretty good sense of what team spirit was all about. But, this experience caused me to see team spirit at a national level, where everyone comes together as one, as opposed to having regional teams who battle and form rivalries against one another. The fans – spanning every age, gender, race, religion, and region – have a strong meaningful bond among one another. Outside spectators like my family and me can’t help but be drawn to the excitement (see photo above, as we proudly wear our shirts for today’s game against England). And with all the buzz and an entire nation of fans cheering them on, the players undoubtedly play at their highest possible level.

I couldn’t help but think what this “World Cup culture” could do for a business where everyone cheers on one another – not just within account/client/product teams, departments or business units, but across entire organizations. I imagine that performance would increase, camaraderie across the entire organization would grow stronger, and everyone in and out of the organization would sense the excitement (and buzz) around the brand. 

 So, with that in mind, I’ve put together some initial thoughts about how to create this World Cup culture within a business:

  1. Get team jerseys for everyone – I’m not talking about boring trade show polos or cheap t-shirts. Make sure you have jerseys that everyone wants to wear on “game day.” (See my family photo for demonstration.) Give them to everyone involved with the organization (employees, partners, clients, etc.).
  2. Announce the “big games” – Whether it be an important presentation, new business pitch, new product launch, major trade show or some other event that impacts the entire business, announce it to everyone across the organization. Make sure they all know when it will be and which “players” will be involved, so they can be ready to cheer them on (and the players will know everyone is watching them).
  3.  Encourage team spirit on game day – Aside from wearing jerseys, be sure to have branded horns/noise makers on hand. 
  4. Broadcast the game – Invite fans into the “game” by broadcasting it live – whether it be via public (FB Live, Twitter) or more private (private streaming, video conferencing, etc.) channels. Set up viewing/listening areas throughout the organization to allow everyone to follow along together in real time and cheer together.
  5.  Celebrate wins (and losses) together – Win or lose, the entire team will likely deserve a celebration for their hard work. Winning may deserve a bigger celebration but, assuming that the team gave it their all (and, in many cases, just getting to the big game is an accomplishment), celebrate together. Of course, in the case of a loss, be sure to discuss how to make the next celebration a winning one.

Upon returning from my travels, I’m considering acting upon these steps to create more of a World Cup Culture at Small Army. What do you think?  

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners