It's time to connect

I love the game of rugby. My business partner rolls his eyes and looks to change the subject whenever I bring it up, so I tend to keep my enthusiasm in check. But my ‘cup doeth runneth over’ now we’re into this year’s rugby world cup! A glorious chance to revel and binge on this magnificent sport. Sorry Chris!

And so, when our wonderful head of all things social, pushed me for a topical opinion piece, I had to look no further than the tournament currently raging around France's fine cities.

It’s not the first time I’ve looked to sport and rugby for inspiration, but that was always to focus on what we could learn from a coach, leader, or successful team culture. 

The thing that’s really stood out for me in this world cup is the magic, the energy, and the unity that the travelling fans bring with them.There’s a fantastic carnival spirit currently roaming round France, with each country bringing its own culture, personality, fancy dress and singing to the cities and stadiums. And with the shared rugby values of enjoyment, respect, and sportsmanship coursing through the whole occasion, it’s creating a safe, unique, and very special experience for all those lucky enough to be touched by it.

The quarter Welsh in me, beat proudly when I saw this clip of the Welsh fans in full song before their victorious game against Australia in Lyon at the weekend.  

And the famed Irish support created an unbelievable atmosphere in their win over the reigning world champions South Africa. In over a century of rugby, they had never played each other on neutral ground. After this match, it felt like we’re still waiting to see what will happen when they finally do. Dublin had seemingly emptied into every café, bar and bistro and turned Paris green.

This energy, the sense of connection and belonging, the pure joy is a wonder to behold. 

What most of my clients would give, just to create an iota of this energy back in their team and business cultures right now.

Nothing beats people coming together, not virtually, but physically in a space, where all our nuisance and subtle social behaviours kick in. 

Ever since lockdown demolished the established principles of work, my clients have been struggling to find new ways to bring their people together, to connect, collaborate, create, share, learn, grow, and energise.

For many businesses, the cultural well, built up before March 2020 has now run dry and teams are running on empty.

The likes of Amazon, Disney, Facebook and even Zoom are now demanding people come back to the office in an effort to revive their cultures.

Human beings are inherently social, as are most animals. It’s nature’s way, it’s how we’re programmed. And as humans, our social relationships are way more complex and fulfilling. They provide us with a sense of connection, purpose, support and ultimately, overall better health and longevity. Be that at rugby tournaments or at work, where we spend roughly a third of our lives!

There’s been some rather depressing studies on the detrimental impact on us, when the tap of meaningful interaction is turned off.

A recent study in the states found that over 60% of Americans report feeling lonely and that 43% of over 45’s in the US suffer from chronic loneliness. This is bad news, not least for our health. A study by Prof Julianne Holt of Brigham Young University found that ‘lacking social connection carries a risk that is comparable, and in many cases, exceeds that of other well accepted risk factors, including smoking 15 cigarettes a day, obesity, physical inactivity and air pollution”.

At Upping your Elvis, we help teams and cultures to get their energy right. For this to happen you need to get your people back together, face to face in a room. There’s no substitute. You then need to make sure that these experiences count and are valued. They need to be your world cup equivalent, maybe minus all the beer and fancy dress.  

That’s where we come in. We help the likes of Nike, Uber, Unilever, and Diageo to have world class experiences for their teams, to help build the energy, connection, and confidence to thrive, create meaningful impact while having a right old laugh.

Enjoy the rest of the world cup, it’s just going to get better and better.

And if you can’t head over to France but would like to recreate a little bit of the magic vibe within your team, lets chat.