Eurovision – if only businesses could be as successful

Guest Blog by Iain Thomson, Director of Incentive & Recognition,  Sodexo Engage

As the europop and garish outfits begin to die down for another year, one lasting image from Eurovision always remains: how people from all walks of life unite under one roof for an epic display of talent and competition, all in good taste and positive energy. How many business leaders would be confident in achieving that atmosphere on such a scale within their own business? Not many. So, how do they get it to work and what can we learn from it?




Present and proud


First of all, every act wants to be there and they couldn’t be prouder about representing their country. A business’ best advocates is its employees, but that’s only when they’re equally proud about the company they work for. Making sure someone feels like a valued member of the team and understands their role in the bigger picture will always help to capture this spirit of pride. If it’s lacking, the question about why needs to be asked. It can’t be forced but it can grow naturally if the right atmosphere is in place.


Inspired by competition


A bit of healthy competition can reap some impressive results and Eurovision proves it. The dedication behind each act is faultless. Not only does every contestant have to go through their own nation’s competition to even make it to the final showdown, they then have to stand on stage and compete in front of millions. The result? Every fibre of their mind and body goes in to creating the best performance they can muster. The competition drives innovation and creativity. How can this act be better than the others? What can we do that is new, crowd pleasing and breath taking? They break the boundaries and achieve the impossible.


In business, monitoring the competition is often a task with a negative sentiment, tracking to foresee the next threat and the risk it poses. Imagine the possibilities if companies used competition as a fuel to thrive and innovate, rather than compare or panic. They too could break boundaries.


Incentivised with perfection


With so many stages to the process, it’s important not to lose focus or energy. The incentive of winning the national stage is just one motivator. For UK contestants, there’s tons of incentives along the way. In the weeks running up to the final, contestants will appear on national TV, attract more social media attention than ever before and no doubt appear in all sorts of interviews. This publicity for their musical talent and intense taste of fame is perfectly suited to the contestants and the life they’re pursuing. It spurs them on to stay engaged and offers small bites of success along the way. Whether or not they win the final prize, they’ve won something along the journey.


This is just as important in the corporate world. Times can be tough and stress levels can peak. Targets may be impossible to reach and motivation can plummet. But, if staff can see through these moments and know that whilst the ultimate goal may still be out of reach, the progress so far and the dedication given is noticed. Acknowledging any progress will reinvigorate teams and push them on to whatever they face next.


Yes, Eurovision has lessons in diversity, transparency and accessibility, but some of these smaller nuggets often go unnoticed. Don’t let it happen. Remember Eurovision and see what you can do to put your company centre stage.




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