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Better Together – World (Cup) in Motion

from  December 7, 2022 | 2 min read

Better Together

As a keen football fan, it’s fantastic to see the World Cup 2022 well underway. There is no doubting the power of sport in bringing people of all nations, backgrounds and cultures together. In fact, the first song from the official World Cup soundtrack, Hayya Hayya, is translated as ‘Better Together’.

This is an inspiring start to a tournament which is expecting to see 5 billion people tuning in. And for the viewers, even in the early stages, there were surprises (Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, Morocco’s win over Belgium, and Japan’s loss to Costa Rica), together with great passion and positive energy emanating from our TV screens.

Whilst I am disappointed that my native South Africa has not qualified this time, I am watching this global tournament with interest – not just for the football – as there is much we can take away about the importance of unified teams.  

As a CEO (and avid football supporter), I believe there are many lessons to be learned from ‘the beautiful game’, to take forward into developing organizational culture:

  • Respect at the core – the game demands high standards of behaviour, and respect for one another, both on and off the pitch. One of most outstanding examples demonstrated at the World Cup to date is the Japanese team tidying up the dressing rooms and their fans cleaning up the stands. Even after a defeat, the endearing values of respect, graciousness and impeccable manners shone through
  • Focus on Inclusion – everyone involved in football should have a positive experience and equal opportunity available regardless of age, gender ethnicity, orientation, religion, background, ability – the same should be said of every single working environment
  • Shared values for all – a team has to have common goals and shared values to move forward. At Unit4, we have (not surprisingly) 4 core values which underpin our culture - People First, Choose Curiosity, Be Genuine, and Make An Impact
  • Tackle the unexpected – each individual and team should always be prepared to embrace new challenges, new ways of working, and to learn from others. Being adaptable, collaborative and proactive about knowledge sharing with colleagues helps to create a more open and driven culture
  • Team is everything – just like a football team, we all need our team mates for support, to talk strategy and tactics and, ultimately, to help us succeed.

At Unit4, we work hard to embed all of these values into our culture – from establishing employee resource groups, through to wellness days, and conversations at a local level on critical topics. However, these things alone are not enough – sharing values and purpose is what helps any organization to operate with integrity and respect.

As the World Cup is showing us, if you have that, it’s a great foundation from which to build.  In the face of unpredictability, just like in football, as companies tackle an increasingly uncertain global economic climate, now is the time to focus on values, team and driving the sentiment of ‘Better Together’. If people feel they are part of a team with the same goals and inherent values - one which ‘has their back’ - as my favourite football club Liverpool’s anthem states, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.  

Mike Ettling - Chief Executive Officer at Unit4

Mike Ettling

Unit4 Chief Executive Officer

I’m a CEO, Investor, builder of world class teams, champion of diversity and continuous learner, and I’m passionate about people. From my first leadership role in the Boy Scouts, to exec positions in the tech industry, my career has revolved around elevating, engaging and enabling people. I joined Unit4 to get the market as excited in our unique approach to enterprise tech as I am. We’re building systems that change how people experience work, and the impact will be huge.

Outside of work I’m a proud father, Liverpool supporter and South African.