Sports for Success in Business

by Artem Minaev

One of the most important purposes of business and leaders in business is to find new ideas and inspiration to manage companies and people. The worst thing one can do is to be ignorant to the sources of information within the general environment in which the company operates. It is far better to look for good practices in different markets. There are also a lot of examples surrounding us which could be helpful: It’s possible to find innovative solutions by using experiences of people in arts, science, nature, history, music and of course sports.

Sport is very closely related to business and not just in terms of promotions, sport brands, sport management, commercial activities of ticket sales, but also in terms of sportspeople leadership behaviour and being results oriented. In sport we can find answers to many questions concerning motivation, teamwork, goal setting and key performance indicators, building connections, relationship building, collaboration and more.

The processes in business and sport are very similar. Every sportsperson wants to achieve the best result and to beat her/his competitors; every businessperson wants to get as much revenue as it is possible and become the leader of the market. Of course everything depends on the ambitions of a person – either in sports or in business. To achieve these goals the company or the sports team should be well organized and prepared; all members should be informed on their key roles; their targets should be clear and the rules set and agreed upon. There should be constant development, practice and training of people to respond to the changing environment and reality. The most important aspect of success is that the customers or spectators, the so called target audience, should be happy with what the company or sportspeople are doing.

Using examples from sports can give new ideas to the businesspeople in the areas of leadership and management, team building and training, meetings and communication of new goals. So far it appears as though sport is the closest relative to business. But there is one big difference between sports and business. In the first case men compete with men and women with women. In the second there is no gender difference – men and women are equals and even age doesn’t matter. That makes building careers in business more complicated for both. All the time it is important to remember that business ethics and standards must prevail over and above anything else. But men are still men and women are women with all their strengths and weaknesses. This adds a new dimension to the competition in business as some of the “emotional background” which can be hard to avoid. The same end results of men and women can be assessed differently by the same manager which eventually can lead to more tensions between colleagues in a company.

To be fair in business, managers should stick to the common assessment principles regardless of gender although reality seems to be quite the opposite.

Moreover, there are still some stereotypes about occupations which are either men’s or women’s. The same goes for sports as well. For example, ice hockey or even football are considered as men’s disciplines and synchronized swimming or rhythmic gymnastics are only for women. In business predominantly men lead IT or Telecom companies, but on the other hand Travel, Fashion and Beauty industries are women predominant. Fortunately world of sport showed that it is possible to fight against these stereotypes. Women’s Ice Hockey was included in the Olympic Games at the beginning of the century. I hope that business can also follow this as an example.

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