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Company Culture Leadership

Why Sports Clubs Are Using DNA Documents and Team Trademarks As Guiding Principles

Over the past few months, we have seen large companies request staff to return to the office, to a hybrid work environment and suggest culture is impacted by proximity (proximity bias), mere exposure effect and the Allen curve

Whereas professional sports at large has been working throughout lockdowns. 

For front line workers, teams have had to work in brand new and unique conditions, pushing them to record levels of anxiety, fatigue and unfortunately in many cases burnout. 

Every different work environment and industry have had various stress and anxieties to deal with throughout the pandemic, for many it has been a forcing function.  

Enter Agreed Principles

Here at Focus one of the core recommendations, we provide to any business of any size is to have leadership principles. Guiding and agreed on principles that everyone across the business follows to know they are making the right choices and to empower them to make the right decision. 

Recently Rugby league club Leeds Rhino’s stripped their captain for “behaviours not aligned to team trademarks”. 

For many this would seem unusual, trademarks is not a phrase commonly used and sports is typically a winner takes all business and typically captains and stars of the team tend to be given special dispensation vs the rest of the team. 

This is great leadership from the club, poor “leadership” from the ex-club captain. 

Leadership principles are a brilliant way to align management teams and hold yourselves accountable. 

What Leeds Rhinos did here was suggest their club and their beliefs are bigger than any player and their behaviours have to be aligned to their agreed principles. 

New Zealand Rugby has some brilliant rules for their players including:

  • No d*ckhead rules – The All Blacks New Zealand rugby team motto 
  • Sweeping the sheds – leaders clean and tidy the locker room
  • The principle of ‘Whanau’ which translates to ‘our family, our friends, our tribe.’

DNA Documents

We have also seen football clubs like Hibs reference their DNA document, what they want their DNA to be so their staff and their players can understand what it means to at Hibs. 

This also acts as a guiding document and informs some of their most important decisions, especially when to comes to buying players and negotiating transfer fees. 

Company culture is most often the behaviours when no one is watching and the glue helping to make the right decisions for the company. This is where DNA documents and team trademarks really help keep accountability and actionable. 

Guide Behaviours

Businesses big and small need to go over how to be successful, what behaviours are rewarded and those which are not. Creating an agreed guide is essential in the way we working particularly with the move towards the hybrid office and guiding the next generation of leaders within your business. 

Actions You Apply Within Your Own Business

  1. Create your own guiding principles for your business – requires business leads and HR
  2. Create a DNA document of who you are, what you have been and where you are headed – requires the leadership team 
  3. Create leadership principles where you show what leadership is and how you are accountable – requires the leadership team 

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