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What can businesses learn from the Lionesses?

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The Lionesses have qualified for their first-ever World Cup final, after an exciting 3-1 win in the semi-finals over hosts Australia. They will face Spain in the final this Sunday, with expectations high. After all, the men’s team has famously failed to reach these heights since their famous win in 1966.

However, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

On the back of their Euro success last summer, England’s women have been deemed the dark horses of the tournament.

The team faced many setbacks in the run-up to the World Cup yet has won every match so far.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula looks at the lessons businesses can learn from this.

Adapt and overcome

A key component to any business’s success is the ability to adapt and overcome any issues that arise.

Early on in the Premier League season, England captain Leah Williamson was ruled out of the World Cup after a foul resulted in a torn ACL.

The absence of a key leader can negatively impact the wider team, both in football and business, as a lack of a clear voice and direction can often make it hard to work together cohesively.

However, the Lionesses have had a successful campaign under Millie Bright, who was appointed captain in Williamson’s absence – a decision many fans saw as a risk.

Taking risks is an important part of the business. Sometimes they pay off, and other times they don’t, which can leave people disappointed.

The key to maintaining success is to ensure that the risks we take are the right ones, and that we always face adversity with determination rather than disappointment.

Don’t become complacent

Achieving a career or business goal is a fantastic feeling. When football finally came home in the Summer of 2022, when the Lionesses won the Euros, for many on the team this was the pinnacle of their career. A success few had dared to dream of.

But after such a high, when the excitement fades people can sometimes be left asking what is next.

The Lionesses, however, have continued to defy expectations, pushing themselves to new levels. They kept setting new goals and continued to push themselves, striving for the ultimate goal of lifting the World Cup.

In business, it’s often easy to become complacent when all the goals you’ve set for yourself have been achieved. However, you can never rest on your laurels. Getting complacent and relying on past glories can mean that your drive and productivity decrease, along with opportunities for future success.

Achieving one goal is the perfect time to set your next one. This means that you are always developing, always evolving, and never allowing room for complacency to set in.

It’s important to always have a plan. A five-year plan or similar forward-looking strategy will help keep you on track, ensuring that the focus of the business remains firmly on the big picture rather than individual milestones.

Know your competition

Strategy is key to success. Know your opponent and develop a strategy to ensure you will come out on top. This is true on the field and in the boardroom.

Before every England match, manager Serina Wiegman comes up with a plan based on meticulous research into every aspect of the opposition’s game. She looks at all possibilities and conducts training based on the strategies she believes will best lead the Lionesses to victory.

Statistics show that 20% of new businesses fail in their first year, and 60% don’t make it past three years.

So it’s always a good idea to conduct primary and secondary primary research to find your business’s unique selling point and identify where you fit in the market. Who are your competitors? Why are they successful? What do you offer that they don’t?

Asking key questions and knowing the field in which you’re playing will help give your business the best chance of success.  

And as your competition evolves, so should you. Always keep your eye on the ball so you don’t get left behind.

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