How can you foster an empowering and proactive can-do attitude at work?

What is a can-do attitude? I spent a few moments thinking about words that capture the essence of this word and many come to mind: Positivity, optimism, hope, trust, team player, collaboration, commitment, strength, confidence, resiliency, triumph, achievement, effort, success, spirit, courage, and fun. I quickly realized that participation and contribution in team sports embodies many of these words.

Everyone loves an underdog story; a person or team that is expected to lose a contest or conflict because they are perceived as less powerful or skilled than their opponent. Through no fault of our own, we make assumptions because we only know what we see and hear. The reason the underdog prevails is because they have a positive mental attitude and behavior that propels them to overcome challenge and adversity, even when it seems like the entire world is against them.

As someone who has played sports recreationally and competitively for most of his life, one of the most important and predictive elements that separated a winning result from a losing result, regardless of talent or skill, was a can-do attitude. I learned the power of positive thinking helps breed confidence that leads to better performance and an inspired ability to overcome the deepest of deficits. It’s no surprise that many elite athletes use creative visualization techniques to enhance their game.

Organized sports activities are an excellent way to bring colleagues together, who might otherwise work independently on an everyday basis, to create engagement and collaboration that naturally fosters the meaning of can-do. They will learn to recognize and use each others’ strengths, develop new ways to motivate each other and perform better by working as a cooperative unit. In summary, sports activities are an effective means to create memorable and enjoyable team-oriented experiences to help spread a collaborative Can-Do spirit from the field to the office, while boosting corporate morale and productivity.

Each program should be tailored to specific region or country, with best efforts to meet the preference of participants; a survey is a great method to gauge interest before implementation.

Examples: Volleyball, touch football, softball, cricket, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, kickball, obstacle course, etc.

Teams can be organized using several categories:

  • Department
  • Job Function
  • Location
  • Tenure
  • Title
  • Age
  • Gender

Schedule: At a minimum semi-annually, but preferably quarterly.

Other ideas:

  • Post-activity reception with refreshments is an additional feature that will facilitate continued conversation and interaction.
  • Dedicated photographer or videographer to capture the moment. Perhaps post on company bulletin board or newsletter. 


  • Evokes joy, fun and positive feelings
  • Builds communication, collaboration and trust
  • Fosters camaraderie and esprit de corps  
  • Informal social setting relaxes inhibitions and encourages employees to open up
  • Mental and physical health benefits


  • Shared memories and post-event conversation
  • Strengthened sense of community and purpose
  • Improved morale and increased motivation
  • Better understanding of colleagues’ roles and professional skills
  • More effective communication and collaboration
  • Awareness of colleagues’ personal backgrounds and interests encourages informal daily dialogue


  • SportVenom

    Hi Rachel, thanks for reading!

  • Rachel Umberto

    Great ideas for bringing employees together outside the workplace, in a more relaxed environment, enjoying fun activities and good conversation.

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