By the general manager, Espen Bugge in collaboration with Globale Sandefjord.
I have lived a long and eventful football life. Along the way, I have learned and experienced what is possible when you succeed in creating good relationships between people with different qualities, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It is anything but coincidental that the world’s best football teams are both multicultural and composed of very different types. The best teams are showcases for the value of diversity. I have taken that lesson with me to my job as general manager of Sandefjord football (SF).
The journey has made me confident that it is wise to be an open and committed bridge builder between people with different backgrounds, different characteristics and different personalities. I swear by a flat organizational culture because I am sure that it provides the best development both for myself and the people I work with.
Football binds people together
The language of football is universal, the role models are many and come from all over the world. It is fascinating to see how people communicate and create relationships through football. It acts as a means of communication, a kind of “world language” that binds people together across cultures and backgrounds.
Creating affiliation is a key to success for us at Sandefjord Football. We are a large family where each individual is part of something bigger. We live close to each other, often for a long time, and establish close and deep friendships. Our history, our culture and our supporters remind us of who we are and what we mean.
Competence more than CV
It is important to create more good football players from the local area, which requires systematic player development, competence development of coaches and that the conditions are created so that the players thrive. If we are to succeed, we must give people opportunities and make arrangements so that they can reach their potential. It requires that we focus on good social skills and how we manage these in practice. A team that succeeds is characterized by the ability and awareness to;
- comply with the driving rules that apply, both on and off the track
- respect each other’s differences and build each other up
- take responsibility for both your own and your colleague’s development and well-being in the community
Put words to tacit knowledge
Through football, valuable competence is built with great transfer value to other parts of working life. The fact that players throughout their careers make many team changes, which there are many reasons for, means that they learn to adapt and master new contexts. In sum, the players in the club have a lot of tacit knowledge that we are concerned with identifying, further developing and making visible. This is the foundation of our diversity competence – and a necessity if we are to fulfill the ambition of being an inclusive and diverse club.
Inclusion work requires training and awareness raising
In Sandefjord football, we develop a culture where openness, respect and humility are in focus. We are clear that managers have an extra responsibility to lead the way as good role models and to facilitate an inclusive framework for the players, for the club and for the local community.
Sandefjord football includes through creating sports and activity joy for people in different situations. We have our own street team and collaborate with various voluntary organizations, we have recently become a global ambassador – a collaboration with Globale Sandefjord that ensures that we work strategically with inclusion and diversity.
To meet unconscious attitudes with knowledge
We work continuously to make each other aware of unconscious attitudes both on and off the field. We support the Stop Racism campaign together with the rest of Norwegian Top Football. The campaign aims to overcome racism and other discrimination in Norwegian football arenas. An important step in our attitude-creating work is to recognize that bad attitudes exist at all levels of society.
Football is an important community arena
Sandefjord football must reflect Sandefjord city. For our players to thrive off the field, belonging to the local community is crucial. If we are to succeed, we must ensure that the entire Sandefjord takes ownership of the club. Together we will create an identity that is strong, and build a culture around Sandefjord football that accommodates everyone. We need you!