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What Companies Can Learn From Sports About Motivation and Inspiration

Aktualisiert: 4. Mai 2022

It's Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. and you finally walk out of your office. You are slightly annoyed. It has been an exhausting day. Not everything is going smoothly and you sense the passive aggressive mood in some of your teams. You feel like you've been working for a week already.

You think about the invitation of your friend to go sailing again. For some time now, this hobby has been a welcome change and a pleasant break from your job.

Well, that will have to wait until the weekend. Maybe you can still make it to volleyball practice. Working out and training with the other team players is a good way to distract yourself and let off steam. In sports, you're part of the team. You enjoy being able to share the responsibility. That's not always possible in your job. That's why you need the time in the sports center. Sometimes you wish things worked as well at work as they do in your team when playing volleyball.

Well, maybe you're just having a bad day. It is not all as bad as you think now, is it? The numbers speak for themselves. And that is all that matters, right?

Why aren't sports principles used in the working world?

Sport as a balance to the perceived hamster wheel at work, is often seen as an important way for many employees and managers to counter stress and mental strain. But why do we need this balance so urgently? And what additional benefits does sport give us that we seem to be partially or even completely missing on the job?

If we look at team sports, such as volleyball, we see time and again that only the best team is successful, not the team with the best individual player. What matters is cohesion, efficient communication, respect, a culture of feedback, and the willingness to cooperate. Celebrating successes in a community, learning from defeats, and putting the team's needs first help with personal growth. As part of the bigger picture you want to do your best for yourself but also for your team members. The team helps you to deal with pressure, to relieve stress, and, at the same time, to strengthen your self-confidence, even when things aren't going so well. Dealing with defeat and change becomes easier and more effective when tackled together.

These are certainly good reasons why sport is omnipresent in our society. It triggers emotions and feelings in us that make us forget the daily grind for a few hours.

Those aspects are also of essential importance in companies, especially when it comes to job satisfaction and productivity. In many respects, a good organization functions like a successful team. Often, however, business success alone is still the top priority in many companies and for many managers as well. Even though teamwork and a feedback culture can be found in most company mission statements, the following still applies: promotion and salary increases are given to those who perform the best, even if as lone warriors.

Find your way out of the hamster wheel

There is no room for elbow thinking and excessive egoism in a successfull organization . Only in optimally coordinated teams, in which the members trust and support each other can solutions be considered and evaluated from different perspectives and, thus, well-founded decisions be made. Just like in sports, what matters is the fit within the team, the fit of the group members to their position and to their leader. If each individual is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses, then everyone can make decisive, meaningful contributions.

This is how you celebrate victories not only in sports but also on the job. If employees identify with the organization and are satisfied with their work, it increases their intrinsic motivation. They stay with the company longer and are more willing to forgive mistakes even in times of crisis and remain loyal to their employer. It, therefore, makes sense to look at a radically new understanding of the "human factor" in companies. Promoting people ideally and integrating them excellently into the environment is one of the most important tasks that must be implemented if we want to see enthusiasm not only in the stadium or in the sports center.

A bad atmosphere has an infectious effect - but so does a good one.

Enthusiasm starts first and foremost with the people in the organization, especially with managers who know how to optimally promote, motivate, and drive their staff. The modern leader is a communicator. He or she must be able to point teams in the right direction, delegate tasks, keep the entire crew on track. But no one should be left alone in the process.

On the ship, the captain holds the compass in his hand, but without a functioning team, he will not get far. Rigid hierarchies and a strict command culture are not useful: "Professionally brilliant - humanly disastrous". No employee or manager wants to be judged in this way.

To prevent employees from literally jumping ship, it is important to build a relationship based on trust. Here, conflict resolution skills allow for an open culture of error. This also includes the integration of new colleagues and the acceptance of change. Change management is and remains one of the most critical factors for success in a company. Management and staff must be open to new ideas, encounters and change. Every now and then, the anchor literally has to be lifted to break out of inertia. Leaving your comfort zone is often just as difficult as breaking with old habits. Just like in sports it can help to use new tactics to stay one step ahead of the others - because standing still means taking a step backwards.

PREDICTA|ME supports employers in this process and promises 3 effects:

1. work more satisfied

2. implement more productively and effectively

3. ensure future viability

Like a SmartWatch or pulse measurements, playful everyday simulations help to objectively observe, evaluate, and improve the actual work climate. In doing so, we measure in 4 dimensions:


How well do a person and the work environment fit together?


How well do the members of a team fit together?


How supportive is the leadership behavior?


How well does a person fit the values of an organization?

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