Don’t Just Play to Win, Win Beautifully

Adopting a more vibrant approach to teamwork can improve the flow and performance of your organization.

During a year on assignment in London in the early 2000s, I (Bill) took the opportunity to watch a lot of soccer. I learned a lot not just about soccer, but about business as well.

My recollection is that Manchester United, with David Beckham on offense, would seem to sit back on defense for the first half and go to halftime with a 0-0 score. They would then turn up the juice in the second half, just long enough to score a goal in roughly the 60th minute, then sit back on defense again and run out the clock. Every week it seemed like Man U would win 1-0 playing a methodical, plodding, precise game that took them all the way to the top of the tables.

It was very successful for Beckham and crew, but boring to watch! In international competition, England largely seemed to play the same style.

This style of play would have turned me off soccer entirely, but I also happened to watch a few Brazil matches. Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were at the top of their games, and Brazil played a much more vibrant, flowing, colorful style than England. Watching their teamwork, I understood why soccer is called The Beautiful Game. The Brazilians did not just want to win; they wanted to win beautifully.

One of Avondale’s core values is our desire to play the business equivalent of The Beautiful Game. We also call this “flow,” and break it down as follows:

  • We value diverse and complementary skills
  • We make our whole greater than the sum of our parts
  • We trust each other and always have each other’s back
  • We share and accept constructive feedback based on mutual respect
  • We value constructive conflict
  • We find our roles and our “awesome”

When we are playing our version of the Beautiful Game, we know each other’s moves and thoughts inside and out, so much so that we can almost complete each other’s sentences. We anticipate each other’s needs and are always “at the spot” when the ball gets passed between us. Each person delivers their individual “awesome” and the collective result can be amazing.

We do not always achieve The Beautiful Game in our day-to-day activities, but that’s okay. As we “play” more together and build a more cohesive team, we find Flow comes more easily to us.

So how can you and your team learn to play the Beautiful Game? Here are six tips:

1. Trust and mutual respect are key to achieving Flow. In a highly functioning team, each person understands their role and how all the roles are vital to the final product we deliver. We cannot deliver more than the sum of our parts without trust.

2. Build a foundation for this mutual respect by hiring team members who work well with others and are both trusting and trustworthy. Prima donnas need not apply!

3. Find core pairings within your teams that work well. Two folks who like each other, enjoy working with each other and have complementary skills can often deliver great results. They can form the nucleus of a team with Flow.

4. Reward your team members at least in part based not on their individual contributions, but on how they made the team more productive and cohesive.

5. Continually recognize the teams (and team members) who deliver a great, well-rounded team result.

6. Don’t be satisfied when you win in business. Winning is not good enough; aim to win beautifully!

Does your team play The Beautiful Game? Please share your thoughts with us at



Learn to Network

Business Networking International (BNI) Sound Networking meets Each Wednesday 7:00 – 8:30 AM at Frog Ponds Cafe

Meet local business people and find out how networking is one of the most effective methods for marketing your business.
Visitors are always welcome, just call ahead to let us know you are coming 519-371-2622.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

Basics of Bookkeeping (Three part workshop)
Tuesday September 19th and 26th and Tuesday October 3rd, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Business Enterprise Centre Training Room $95 (HST included)
Facilitator: Jane Gallagher
This three part Bookkeeping Workshop will allow you to use the tools and information to confidently understand your financial statements and your own books. Class size is limited to 8 to allow a hands-on, individual learning opportunity for everyone.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

How to “Really” Start a Business
Wednesday September 20th, 9:00 am – 11:30 am, Bayshore Community Centre
FREE – Pre-registration is required
Facilitator: Cliff Bilyea
Discover the basic steps involved in starting a business, evaluating your idea, determining your market and basic rules and regulations. Attending the is workshop is mandatory for anyone applying to the Starter Company Plus Program.

Business Enterprise Centre Workshops

Introduction to Quick Books (Two part workshop)
Tuesday October 17th and 24th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Business Enterprise Centre Training Room, $80 (HST Included)
Instructor: Jane Gallagher
The first session of Quick Books provides participants with an overview and access to a trial version of the program. The second session will be questions and answers to address specific issues. Knowledge of basic bookkeeping principles is required. Limited to 8, you must bring your own laptop. (This workshop does not cover the online version of Quick Books)


Phone: 519 371 7464
Fax: 519 371 4043
Address: 1240 2nd Ave E
Owen Sound, ON N4K 2J3

Subscribe to Our Newsletter