High Performance Sports, High Impact Entrepreneurial Team

Collaboration with  Cecilia Retegui, Co-Founder of Zolvers

Sport is a lifestyle and everyone already knows the mental and physical benefits it provides.

However, to play a team sport, and “seriously” implies much more than the mental and physical benefits. It helps us define our personality, to show solidarity, and to always give a little more, to work on a common objective, this could be a game or a championship, and mainly, to accept the strengths and weaknesses of our teammates.

The interesting thing is that, sooner or later, each one of these experiences and situations that you overcome translate to work and family experiences.

I’d like to share with you a few lessons I have learned from my personal experience playing Division 1 Club Hockey in Argentina and having played 10 years at the highest level.

What I learned about team:  Being part of a team means learning to trust in others and see that other trust in you. You learn that in order to achieve a common goal , everyone must do well, and that what you do affects others.

To build a valuable team, you need people with different qualities in order for it to function. The abilities of each person are enhanced, dedication is contagious and almost magically, an unexpected synergy emerges. Thus, the probability of achieving defined goals increases.

When one adapts a team mentality, the word “I” is replaced by the word “us”, and a commitment to the rest of the team is so strong, that no one wants to miss even one day of training, or a day at the office.

The same happens in companies. When faced with a project, a common objective is necessary, but also different professional profiles. At Zolvers, each one has a key responsibility that no other team member can do. We are different professionally, but we share the same objective and work culture.

The importance of discipline: Sports has taught me the importance and advantages that one has when disciplined. When the demands of the sport are big, it is absolutely necessary to be disciplined with our nutrition, our training and our rest.  An orderly environment gives added value to effort and sacrifice. This translates into a competitive advantage, equal to that at work. I don’t know another form of doing things well if not done with effort and dedication.

At Zolvers, we care about staying focused, team-organized priorities and being time efficient. We work hard and we love it.

The importance of leadership: I learned that it is essential to have a team leader, a good team leader, that one’s colleagues trust.

In the same way, the CEO of a startup should always push, give and ask more of the team. The team will only follow a leader in which they trust. When building the Zolvers team, I had the opportunity to bring in incredible people with which I had worked with in my previous company. I told them about this project, and fortunately, they trusted me. The worked for free for various months…on one hand, it is a pleasure, on the other hand, it’s a big responsibility to take on the leadership role. Without a doubt, my internal motor was running everyday to think of ways to keep improving.

Competition is healthy: This is the moment of truth!  Healthy competition is the best way to measure ourselves, but above all to push our limits. The desire to win, and want to improve are the incentives and motivation that allow us to focus on the objective even more.

At Zolvers, we look closely at the competition as a reference and because it motivates us to keep competing. And stay one step ahead!

Resilience is key: In sports, you learn to lose without frustration. One dedicates more time analyzing losses than wins. I remember spending hours watching compilations of errors on VHS that our coach showed us.

In the company, we constantly find obstacles and challenges and sometimes things don’t go as well as we had hoped. Personally, I always see this as an opportunity. In order to learn from each case,  I really take the time to understand what we did wrong.

Also, I always think “if this was easy, anyone could do it, and we would have too much competition…it’s better that this is difficult”.

Solidarity is the best word: No one thinks about his own brilliance, instead we all reach for a common goal. It’s useless to make the best goal of our lives if we lose the game… Just as it does not matter if you have the best programming code if the company does not make sales.

At Zolvers, the team’s and the company’s objective is clearly above all personal objectives. More than once,  we had to collaborate on projects that we didn’t like, but we know why we did them.

Think big: the objective of our hockey team was always to be the champions. Not second or third place! Even though we only won the championship once (Some never achieve this!) we always strived for that goal and we believed that our team could achieve this.

If you think big, you you can make it or not, but if you don’t dream, you definitely won’t make it. The walk is much more fun and challenging the first way!

If you love what you do, you will always enjoy the journey, be passionate and dream big…

Friendship, companionship…What more can you ask for?!

In recent years, hockey, just like other sports, has gained more and more followers.  Today,  it is common to see women’s soccer championships, that a few years ago did not exist. Mothers must accompany, support and insist that sports are a part of their children’s lives and include responsibility and dedication to a team. Because once they join, they manage to take on an important role part and enjoy it to the fullest.

Biography of the author:

Cecilia Retegui is a Systems Engineer who graduated from UTN and has an MBA from UCEMA. She co-founded and led a software factory for 15 years. One year and a half ago she co-founded Zolvers: a marketplace to contract help in Home Cleaning and Maintenance. The company is present in Chile, Mexico and Argentina and has over 40,000 users. Cecilia was also a high-performance hockey player for 10 years. Today, she adapts sports as a lifestyle. Mother, wife and entrepreneur.