3 Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn From Sport Business is a long game with success rarely happening overnight. If it does, you’re incredibly lucky. However, for the millions of other businesses around the world, success comes from strategic hard work. It’s the same with sporting success; that doesn’t happen overnight either.
In some ways, sport and business are the complete opposite, for example, when it comes to competition and success. Sports teams compete one on one and there is normally an obvious winner, whereas there isn’t a situation like this for businesses. Businesses have to strategically plan how they’re to better their competition and there is rarely an obvious winner. However, regardless of the obvious differences, there are a lot of lessons business leaders can learn from sport.
Here are three recent events where we believe there are lessons business leaders can learn from sport:
Business lesson #1
Turning failure into success – Scott Redding, BSB 2019 champion
After being axed from MotoGP in 2018 you could say the Scott Redding had every right to be dissapointed. For four years Redding had been racing against the world’s elite including the likes of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. However, when commenting on his MotoGP departure, Redding did not view the axe as a failure, instead stating he was confident of a
‘brighter future ahead’.Redding was certainly right as 2019 has seen him become the Bennetts British Superbike champion against all the odds. He hadn’t raced the majority of the tracks before, he was part of a new team, riding a new bike as well as recently recovering from a broken femur!
There will undoubtedly be times where your business suffers set backs. It’s important to remember that set backs are not failures. Instead, they should be used as opportunities to learn, grow and improve. Failure doesn’t feel good and changing your mindset can be easier said than done. However it is integral to your business that you
do change your mindset. Learning how to bounce bank from failure is an invaluable tool many business leaders need to have and it will serve you well throughout the business lifespan as well as your career. You also need to be able to reflect on what went wrong so you know how to avoid a similar situation in the future. As George Santayana once said, ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ Business lesson #2
Team work makes the dream work – Eliud Kipchoge, broke the 2 hour marathon record
Eliud Kipchoge recently broke the 2 hour marathon record by 20 seconds. However this success, as momentous as it is, wasn’t achieved alone. In total, Kipchoge had a total of 42 pacesetters, a pace car and even a green pacing laser. Arguably, his success may not have been possible without the help and support of his team.
Most businesses are supported by a solid team of employees all who have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s important that as a business leader you are able to hold your hands up and ask for help and support when you need it by playing on your team’s strengths. There are no extra points for struggling or trying to solve an issue yourself and as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. As a leader, you aren’t expected to be an expert in every aspect of your business…this is why you employ a team after all. Strong leaders get their team involved in problem solving and goal setting and in turn, you will be developing their capabilities, confidence and even loyalty.
Business lesson #3
Diversity increases success – UK Sport study, uncovering a lack of diversity
recent study by UK Sport and Sport England revealed that BAME (black, asian and minority ethnic) people account for just 5.2% of board members in 130 sporting organisations they invest in. With the UK’s population consisting of a BAME population of 14%, the sporting statistic is below the national average. On a more positive note, the study also found that women account to 40% of board members across funded sports.
Not only are businesses with a low BAME statistic open to potential equality and diversity queries or claims, they are also missing out on vital talent. Businesses with more diverse leadership and employees fair better than their rivals,
meaning employing a more representative workforce only works in your favour. There is substantial research that shows that high levels of diversity within businesses increases profitability, creativity, stronger governance as well as better problem solving abilities. Employing people from various educational backgrounds, upbringing, life experiences and even gender means that you are increasing the variety of perspectives available for your team to work with.
Increasing diversity within your business will also improve your company culture. Educating your team on what it means to be different and accepting that everyone is different will play a big part in your recruitment and retention strategy, after all, Glassdoor found that 67% of people consider diversity an important factor when choosing where they should work.
There is an opportunity to learn at every stage of our life, however that doesn’t mean that it happens. We need to ensure that we embrace learning opportunities in order for us to professionally, and personally, develop. Turning failure into lessons on what to do differently, understanding that it’s okay to not always be the one with the answer as well as learning how to make the most of diversity within your business are just a few of the lessons leaders can learn from sport. Accepting that you simply need some help, advice and guidance isn’t something to be ashamed about. At ELAS, we aren’t here to criticise your current business and systems, in fact, we’re here to do the complete opposite. It’s our job to work with you, educating you on the measures you can take to ensure your business is compliant and risk free. That’s why thousands of companies nationwide trust us to provide them with effective business support. For more information, get in touch with our team on 08450 50 40 60.