Paul's Ramblings: Auction and Race Week
Monday, July 23, 2018
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about my training for the Lakeland 100. As that race now nears, so the training eases up in the last week or so to allow the body to recover in advance of the big day. It got me thinking about the parallels between sport and business.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there are massive parallels between sport and business and the two can learn so much from each other. Recently, in fact, books such as “Legacy”, written by James Kerr, have sought to use the skills that modern coaching brings to sport at an elite level to help learn lessons in business. Legacy focuses on the development of the modern “All Blacks” rugby team and how the coach Graham Henry created a new ethos within the team and instilled in them core values regarding playing for the All Blacks and competing at the highest level. A culture was created and emphasis was placed upon character rather than individual (potentially selfish) raw skill. One of the many messages that came out in the book was that if somebody has the right character along with a high level of skill then those two can be combined to work within the team for the greater good. Having a number of characters with great skills but without the right character traits would not necessarily lead to success for the team on the field. One great quote is “No one is bigger than the team & individual brilliance does not automatically lead to outstanding results. One selfish mindset will a collective culture”.
A culture of openness was formed where players were encouraged to admit their failures and to discuss openly how they could improve their performance. Too often in the workplace, people are afraid to admit their frailties for fear of being judged, passed over or even at worst, in some cases being sacked. So legacy talks about the culture that is required to bring success for the team; for the All Blacks, no individual member of that team will be there forever, so they inherit the jersey and aim to leave that jersey in a better place. This can equally be applied to the workplace where although many people will sustain a career for a number of years within one company, the aim should be to add something to the position/job/role that they inherit so that when they are promoted or move to a new company, they have added something. “Successful cultures are organic and adaptive, they change and flow, yet always just under the surface is a bedrock of values, smoothed by the surface above, but unyielding”.
The parallels continue with the use of coaching and specialist services. The athletes of old would simply throw on a pair of plimsolls, a running vest and shorts and put in a few hours running. Now, athletes, and not just elite athletes, will use the services of coaches and other specialists as well as benefiting from a vast array of knowledge available in books and on the Internet. I have used the services of personal trainers, sports masseurs as well as gaining knowledge of training techniques, nutrition and a host of other factors that are available online. I have enjoyed educating myself on sports matters and similarly in business.
Gone are the days when a businessman or woman would simply turn up at the office or workplace and do the same old thing week after week, month after month year after year. Any person involved in business who wants to remain competitive and dynamic will use all the tools at their disposal. The use of business coaches is becoming increasingly common and not just for small businesses or struggling businesses. Well-known entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Alan Sugar use the services of business coaches. It's also never been easier to improve your skills and knowledge base with a wealth of books and other literature available. In fact, the links between sport and business have become so intertwined that they are often wrapped up as a single package that could be called “lifestyle”. Being in business, when taken seriously, just as taking sport seriously, is not just a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 job or Saturday afternoon play around, but is increasingly a way of life. To be successful at both sport and business requires vision, a sense of purpose, a set of ideas and the discipline to carry all of that out.
Wales & West Country
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