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It’s Coming Home: What Lessons Can Euro 2020 Teach UK Business?

This summer sees the return of the major international sporting events that were delayed due to the COVID pandemic. It feels like a much-needed moment of celebration and national unity.

In homes all over mainland United Kingdom, from London, to Cardiff to Glasgow, people will be tuning in to cheer on young heroes who are looking to make their own piece of history.

This year, more than any other, it feels like the nation is ready to join together in celebration. 2020 has been a difficult year for many people, as COVID has altered the shape of people’s lives and kept them from loved ones. The delayed Euro 2020 provides the opportunity to look outwards, to focus on something celebratory and positive.

For us at ENL Group, there is also the tantalising prospect of England facing Slovakia in knockout phase of the competition, which will lead to some good-natured rivalry between workers at our sites in Portsmouth and Veľké Kostoľany in Slovakia.

What Sport Teaches Us

As well as being a source of national pride, celebration, and entertainment, there are also some valuable lessons that all businesses can learn from sport.

This might be about the way that athletes and teams work hard to improve performance and gain a key advantage over their competition, – a lesson which really resonates with us at ENL, as we strive to be the class-leader in plastic injection moulding.

Or it might be about how investing in performance across all areas can lead to better results, outperforming rivals and creating a basis for future success, another principle that we apply within our own business.

As Euro 2020 finally kicks off, we have pulled together our top 3 sporting lessons that the England football team can teach UK manufacturing businesses.

1. Leadership

There are few more high-profile or visible leadership roles, in English public life than being manager of the national football team.

In the past, the role has been something of a poisoned chalice. However, in recent years, Gareth Southgate has somehow managed to find a very modern model of business leadership. He appears to be in touch with himself, in touch with the team he has assembled, and in touch fans of the game.

At the heart of this leadership model are his ability to demonstrate qualities such as vulnerability and empathy. This is, after all, a man who very publicly failed in front of millions, missing the critical penalty in the Euro 1996 semi-finals against Germany. This is something which modern management gurus would describe as “authentic leadership”.

In some ways, Southgate has shown that failure is something that you can learn from and improve through. Even though he is dealing with young, high-profile multimillionaires, Southgate has managed to create a strong team ethos, based around clear values that he communicates clearly to the squad and the public. What Southgate’s management style teaches us is that clear values are absolutely critical when it comes to leadership. This is a message that resonates with us at ENL as a company that places a huge emphasis on our own values and heritage. It also teaches us that a key role of effective leadership is recognising and developing new talent, finding the right people that we need to succeed and investing in helping them be the very best at what they do, – again, something we take very seriously at ENL.

2. Communication

One of the features of successful sports management is clear communication. How many times have you heard a sports commentator praising a player, not just for what he does, but for chiding, encouraging, directing and motivating his teammates?

And in this modern era, communication with the public is absolutely critical too. Whether through press conferences, or social media, players are no longer isolated from the media and wider world.

When they speak, the strongest communicators are relaxed, clear, and human. The days of speaking only in cliches are over for this new generation of players who are able to speak clearly and articulately about a wide range of issues, from football, to poverty, to social injustice.

Telling people about what matters to you is critical for all businesses, whether describing a goal you have scored, or a new product you have developed.

As with sport, in business, the key feature of effective communication is authenticity. For messages to be heard and understood, the audience needs to see that you are speaking with an authentic voice. That is why we always try to communicate with our customers with honesty and openness.

3. A Strong Team Spirit

When you watch professional sports, it is easy to distinguish between high-performing teams and dysfunctional ones.

The very best teams, in business and in sport, have a very clear set of goals, which all members of the team buy into. These are collective goals, not individual ones. In fact, a player who prioritises individual goals over team goals will weaken that team, regardless of how much talent they possess.

Within a high-performing team, everyone also understands the specific role that they have to play, and how that fits into the overall plan. The goalkeeper has a very different role to the striker, but each has to play their part if the team is to succeed.

At ENL, we are proud of the team spirit that we have across our business. Our clear values are shared and understood, and we encourage all staff to play a part in helping us deliver high-quality components for our customers.

Like a successful sports team, we work hard to identify the right talent that we need for the business, and invest in developing that talent to strengthen our performance. Whether an ENL team member is in design, sales, or operations, they all play a critical role in making sure that the overall team delivers for our customers.

About ENL Group

ENL Group is based in Portsmouth, UK and Veľké Kostoľany, Slovakia. Established in 1958, we have been servicing UK-based and European companies for decades. Working with a secure supply chain, ENL provides quality components for quality-driven customers – with full certification for all of our products and quality checking at every stage.

Operating 24/7, we design, manufacture and deliver critical components for our customers across the UK and Europe.

Contact Us for more information about ENL and how we can help your business.