US Men’s Soccer, The Cleveland Browns & The Oakland Athletics Have The Same Problem: Alignment

There’s an alignment problem in some of the largest sports organizations in the world and it is hurting on field performance.

If there’s one thing even a casual sports fan knows about these three organizations, it’s that they could be strong but they are not. The confusing piece is why exactly they are not performing at the level that their history, resources, location, etc would seemingly indicate.

Alignment To Winning Actions

Perceived trust and accountability are two factors that many, including us here at Boost, measure in order to determine how human experience will impact performance. In fact, pretty much every sport organization, no matter the shape/size, leans on some version of these in their culture.


Where the wheels fall off for these three organizations in particular is that there is a lack of alignment between the quotes, the words, the media and the actual thoughts, actions, and feelings of the organization.

All of these organizations have a problem with alignment between what they say and what they do. And it comes out in their behaviours. We measured negative body language behaviours in three games for all of these teams. On a per game basis, the amount of negative language displayed is in the top 10% of all of the games that we have ever assessed (n=282).

This is what first pointed us to the alignment being a problem. The high rate of negative body language is a clear indication that the true feelings being experience by these athletes is not in connection with the organization.

The Alignment Examples

For the Oakland Athletics, their alignment breaks down in terms of spending by ownership. The cultural pillars that are staples in organizational success such as commitment to excellence, putting the team above yourself, working as one, etc do not apply when the literal investment from the top is so poor.

For the Cleveland Browns, the regular support of athlete’s who do not conduct themselves well in their personal lives makes it challenging to talk about character, selflessness, and respect.

And finally, the United States Men’s Soccer program continues to struggle as they refuse to put their primary development programs as a priority and emphasize their sport in the right time of year for the right athletes. This regularly leads to their best possible athletes being funnelled towards football, basketball, and baseball as professional careers even though their sport is played to some degree by more people than all these other sports. Read more on that here.

The Reality

It’s not likely that in these huge markets, with huge egos, and huge bank rolls that we will see perfect alignment in an organization ever. The Boston Celtics seem so close at times, but even they are prone to their challenges (sorry Ime).

The reality though, is that when alignment throughout is present, it drastically increases the likelihood of prolonged success instead of trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Indicators of alignment can be found in body language and behaviour measurement of human experience. It’s something that is revolutionizing organizational performance both inside and outside of sport.

It’s time to add it to yours.

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