The business sweeper

The concept of a soccer sweeper is something that can be applied to business formations too. The objective of a sweeper is to clear dangers that got past the initial defense.


I know it might sound strange to see “customer request” of “business actions” as an attack, but bare with me… We tend to set up our organization in a way that we structure all the flows. Yet we often see that informal streams exist or that bottleneck situations occur. It is in these situations that a sweeper role becomes interesting.

A sweeper is mostly a player who has great insight (experience) into the play and keeps a general overview. When something happens that’s not part of our flow, then he jumps in and clears the issue. We sometimes bring in the concept of “Service Level Managers” to tackle these issues. In other coorporations they’re called a different more sexy name. The point is that you have to consider a “sweeper” role…

Who to pick?
To be honest, I haven’t finalized my view on that matter yet. Currently I see two types of persons who might fulfil the role.

  • One is a young (at heart) person who doesn’t rank high in the organization. It’s a typical “hands on” guy who likes to keep a general overview of everything and isn’t shy of new things. The tough part is for his manager to get an insight on his work(load).
  • The other person is kind of a “teamleader”, who manages the team (in a structural way), where he jumps in (on technical matters) when things get rough. The advantage here is that this leader knows the painful spots of the organisation, and he’s in a situation to lobby/act for corrections. An additional surplus is that he gains in respect from his peers, as he’s doing the same “shit” as they are. He’s not “boss-ing” them around.


  • The same concept applies to Volleyball too. They have a sweeper (called libero) too. This person is in charge of doing solely defense stuff, and is not allowed in offense. He’s there to get the team out of the tough attacks and jump into the holes of the defense.
  • Never use more than ONE libero (free role). It might seem tempting, but a team with more free players will forget it’s tactics and create too many holes. One should drill (procedures!) a team to create SOP’s (standard operating procedures). This organisation has to be able to catch 95%. The libero is only there when a play goes wrong!

Going 70 20 10…

The 70/20/10 Model is a business resource management model pioneered by Eric E. Schmidt. This model dictates that, to cultivate innovation, employees of a company should utilize their time in the following ratio:

  • 70% of time should be dedicated to core business tasks.
  • 20% of time should be dedicated to projects related to the core business.
  • 10% of time should be dedicated to projects unrelated to the core business.


Sound interesting? Check the following article.

Entrepreneur stats

  • 1. The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies was 40.
  • 2. 95.1 percent of respondents themselves had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.
  • 3. Less than 1 percent came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds
  • 4. 15.2% of founders had a sibling that previously started a business.
  • 5. 69.9 percent of respondents indicated they were married when they launched their first business. An additional 5.2 percent were divorced, separated, or widowed.
  • 6. 59.7 percent of respondents indicated they had at least one child when they launched their first business, and 43.5 percent had two or more children.
  • 7. The majority of the entrepreneurs in the sample were serial entrepreneurs. The average number of businesses launched by respondents was approximately 2.3.
  • 8. 74.8 percent indicated desire to build wealth as an important motivation in becoming an entrepreneur.
  • 9. Only 4.5 percent said the inability to find traditional employment was an important factor in starting a business.
  • 10. Entrepreneurs are usually better educated than their parents.
  • 11. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always run in the family. More than half (51.9 percent) of respondents were the first in their families to launch a business.
  • 12. The majority of respondents (75.4 percent) had worked as employees at other companies for more than six years before launching their own companies.