A Lesson In Team Building From Euro 2016

Combine home grown talent and superstars 

Proof that lesser teams do actually win can be encapsulated in just three words: Iceland and Wales.

What turned these two country’s teams into winning machines at this year’s Euro2016 European Championships in France is their teamwork. They have played remarkably well as a result of playing as a team rather than as individual star players.

Unlike some of the bigger teams – in which we can undoubtedly include England – there is plenty of proof that a bunch of well-paid stars does not necessarily lead to success on the pitch. Where there is too much focus on individuals it can be detrimental to the overall result.

The Welsh Team France Euro 2016

Wales v Andorra – UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier. Source Getty Images

Recruit stars with specialist skills that compliment

We have seen Iceland, Wales and also Leicester – with its miraculous Premiership win this year – provide growing evidence that teamwork can win out over star players. Often teams that have this team ethic are built around a core of home-grown players.

Many start-up retailers in the fashion retail sector have achieved success from constant development of their original teams. However, as in football, long term success is only likely to be possible through complementing this home grown talent with external star players who can bring specialist skills to the team and inject it with game-changing flourishes.

As digital takes hold, the need for HR Directors and hiring directors to recruit stars with specialist skills has grown in importance. The days of individuals being able to work in every department of a digitally-driven retailer are over. The reality is that the star striker is unlikely to be particularly adept at goalkeeping or even performing to a decent standard in defensive positions.

Bringing in talisman-like star figures undoubtedly also has a halo-effect on the rest of the team. There is little doubt that a superstar like Welshman Gareth Bale helps raise the standards of all the other players around them.

At club level these talented superstars are often brought in from overseas. And with them comes a different set of skill sets and capabilities, which can add an extra dimension to a team.

For retailers and consumer businesses this equates to bringing in talent not only from other countries but also from different industries beyond retail. It will be interesting to see how the outcome of the EU referendum will affect this talent pipeline.

The road to success on the pitch is all about building a team that encompasses home grown talent with a sprinkling of superstars and it is exactly this same template that should be applied to retail businesses.