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Building A Home Field Advantage For Business Success
By Dirk Gorman

We have all seen or experienced it: a frenzied crowd chanting and cheering, and the stadium shaking from the intensity. Home team fans almost singlehandedly will their team to accomplish the miraculous. The home field advantage can take a good team and propel them to greatness and intimidate the opponent, creating tension in their actions that lowers their on-field performance at the most inopportune time. Home field advantage is equivalent to having an extra player, giving the home team an earned but unfair advantage. Knowing this to be possible in sports, can a home field advantage be created in business? An examination of the home field advantage model and business situations in which it has been used provides useful insights that businesses can incorporate into their own winning strategies.

Winning Over the Fans
First is the recognition that the fans are a major part of the sports organization. If they don't attend the games there is no team, no management and no revenue generation. Fans, like customers, are as are vital to the success of a sports team (or company) as the employees themselves. Making them fanatical creates the home field advantage needed to accomplish the seemingly impossible. In order to win them over, a number of factors need to be in place:

1.The team must have a distinct and consistently displayed identity and personality so the fans know exactly what their team stands for and looks like. They can personalize themselves through the team's vision and identity. In sports, the Steelers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Lakers immediately come to mind. In business, Apple, Microsoft and Google are standouts of distinctive corporate identity.

2.The fans needs leaders on their team, multiple and different, that they can relate to and almost idolize. They must want to emulate the actions, performance, and the distinctive style these leaders consistently demonstrate. The players are these leaders and immediately Jordan, Jeter, and Brady come to mind. But also remember how many Yankee fans loved the gritty, tough-minded Paul OíNeil, or Patriot fans reacted to Mike Vrabel. Celtic fans loved Danny Ainge's grit and willingness to do anything to beat the Lakers, and countless fans at Fenway wear Pedroia jerseys. They don't only have to be the national star or face of the organization; there must be other leaders on the team for the fans. Silent or tough, but they must be consistent with the personality of the team. [business example]

3.An enemy/adversary is needed to draw the line in the sand and make it clear that the goal is to take them down! You canít shy away from the competition or the dislike for them. Although it isnít life or death, the fans must believe their leaders are willing to do the death march to accomplish the destruction of their enemy. The Red Sox and Yankees are legendary foes and both have unprecedented home field advantages. Both teams make it clear to their faithful fan base who the enemy is and why they are poised to destroy them. [business example]

4.Access and information must be available. Fans must have access to updated information on their team at all times, individual statistics, team standings and their record. They can watch their team on TV, listen on the radio, read about the game online or in the newspaper. They have complete access to the team and its performance daily. Positive or negative they see all the results. Nothing is held back. [business example]

5.All fans need a voice to express their passion, whether positive or negative, and suppressing this right will eliminate the home field advantage. Teams with the best home field advantage have also experienced the harshest booing when their performance and effort isnít meeting expectations. These fans and their voice have often forced ownership's hand in moving players and managers out of town. [business example]

In business, as in sports, it is both a team effort and individually up to each leader to accept responsibility for creating home field advantage. Using these five steps can enable companies to create their own home field advantage and help them avoid errors that prevent one.

About the Author:
Dirk Gorman was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to founding Empire Surgical, a multi-faceted sales organization. Excerpts from Gormanís new book on strategies for personal and business success are available at
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