3 Diversity and Inclusion Lessons from the World-Cup Soccer Field

What Workplace Diversity Lessons Could You learn?

With over ten diverse ethnic origins on the team, athletes on the U.S. soccer team bring the word, ‘diversity’ to a new level. They are not measured by ethnic or religious backgrounds, but by their skill. It is their abilities, and how they work as a team that makes the U.S. soccer team play at the highest level. Each player’s individuality, skills, values, and adversities helped build a good team, into a great team. Take 35 year old USMNT Goalie, Tim Howard who was born in New Jersey into an ethnic mix of parents. His father, an African American and mother a native of Hungry. Howard was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when he was in the sixth grade. Overcoming adversity became just part of who Tim is, and part of the diverse group of athletes that make up the incredible USMNT  

Tim Howard, GoalieAt 35, most would think Howard should be coaching soccer, not playing professionally. When asked about his age… “At 35, I feel as fit as I’ve ever been, as strong as I’ve ever been. I’m seeing the game at a slower pace, which helps, the game slows down. That’s all that’s important to me. Where I match up at the end of the day, that’s just opinion.”

What could we learn from this diverse team? Whether you are a front-line employee, manager, or executive leader, it takes every member of the company to build a great winning team.

Here are (3) lessons from the athletic field to the company floor:

1. Communicate

Just like strategic plays in soccer, baseball and football are discussed before the athletes get on the field, communication is the key in the workplace. Don’t expect employees to know the rules their first day on the job. Discuss expectations, mission statement, and communicate the company culture.

2. Offense

Move the ball down the field to the goal. It’s not one person’s job to carry the entire team. Thinking offensively means working with everyone on the team, practice inclusion, and give everyone the chance to take the winning shot.

3. Defense

Protect the goal, and keep the ball on the playing field. In business, it’s about protecting the company’s bottom line. Put protocols in place so each team member knows the boundaries and loves being part of the team.   Whether they’re sitting on the bench waiting to play, or already in the game, everyone in your company is part of the team. Remember, a second string player comes just as prepared as everyone else on your team ready to score the game-winning goal. As diverse as they may be, treat everyone in your organization as an important part of the winning team.   Athletic mindset bubble About The Athletic Mindset  – Although we won’t teach you how to throw a pitch in baseball, put top spin in your tennis or break 100 in golf, we DO enhance your business, your personal life, and everywhere else you want to raise the bar using Athletic Mindset Coaching, Training Workshops & Keynotes. We help employees feel better about themselves, encourage mentorship, and incorporate employee engagement into your corporate culture.

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