by Larissa Gutscher

Last Saturday, over 200 million people around the world tuned in to watch the 61st edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The annual competition delivered its usual collection of vibrant costumes, incredible stage theatrics, and power-pop songs at this year’s edition in Stockholm, with Ukraine edging out honorary European Australia to take home the crown.

While Eurovision is a great opportunity to unwind on a Saturday night (well, depending on how strongly you react to votes you disagree with), the competition goes beyond glitz and glamour. In fact, if you watch closely enough, you may start to notice some universally applicable themes present at Eurovision that you can keep in mind when managing your business.

Running Your Business

Jamala of Ukraine celebrates her victory at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Photo credit: EPA/Maja Suslin via The Telegraph

Theme: Cooperation

This year’s motto for Eurovision was “Come Together”, which is just as relevant to your store’s staff as it is to the continent of Europe. Of course, while Eurovision can be seen as one week a year for a group of diverse countries to put aside their differences in the name of entertainment, cooperation should be something you and your employees strive for every day.

While your store may not have the plethora of different cultures represented at Eurovision every year, even a diversity of interests may cause clashes among your team members. It’s important to preach the need for cooperation between all aspects of your business to ensure everything runs smoothly. You won’t be successful if your waiters and cooks can’t get along.

Theme: Teamwork

A big competition that involves dozens of different performances, each with their own stage design, props, lighting, and costumes, requires a huge coordinated effort by multiple parties. The fact that the competition usually goes on without any technical difficulties (excluding those that inevitably arise when countries call in to announce their votes) is a major testament to the cooperation between a diverse group of team members responsible for a variety of tasks.

Be sure to remind your staff members what a unified team can accomplish. Host team-building exercises and group outings to help your employees get to know each other better. Once everyone has a better understanding of the different roles in the store, and has learned a bit more about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, it becomes easier to work together towards a common goal.

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Ireland’s Jedward showed the value of teamwork at the 2012 competition. Photo credit: WireImage via Mirror

Theme: Dealing with failure

Only one country can win Eurovision every year. Sadly, this means some 40 countries leave the competition empty-handed, with some not even having made it out of the semi-final rounds. Even those who qualify for the final are at risk of leaving with the dreaded nul points. However, having 40 losers at the end of the night gives viewers a good opportunity to see different reactions to failure. Some countries still view the competition as a success if they exceeded expectations by, for example, ranking in the top 10. Some countries use low scores to re-evaluate their selection methods for future candidates. Others take it badly and cry about conspiracies.

Things will go wrong when you run your own business. It’s in recovering from these failures that you demonstrate the strength and resilience that helped you to open your own store in the first place. Don’t be an ungrateful loser; instead, learn from your mistakes and use them continue to grow your business. After all, even though every country has to wait a year for the chance to try again, you have the opportunity to fix problems right away.

Theme: Having fun

While workplaces need some form of structure to be productive, that doesn’t mean they have to be without any fun. The Eurovision Song Contest was created as a “light entertainment programme” during a time when Europe was suffering from the effects of the war. It has transformed into something millions of fans look forward to every year – a reason to have a party, the inspiration of drinking games, and a few nights to appreciate crazy costumes and wild expressions of art.

Don’t wait until Eurovision rolls around once a year to treat your staff to a fun event. By keeping your workplace light-hearted, your employees will look forward to their jobs and work harder and smarter as a result. Not to mention, hard workers deserve a reward every once in a while. May I suggest an office party with some of the catchiest songs Europe has to offer?

Check out: 5 Tips to Boost Your Employees’ Satisfaction and 6 Effective Ways to Boost Your Retail Customers’ Experience