Monday, May 7, 2012

Sports as a metaphor for business

I enjoyed being back in London recently and to feel the buzz of the forthcoming Olympic Games.  (As an aside, I still think the decision to host the Equestrian 3-Day Event, my favourite event, in Greenwich Park was unsustainable and misguided).
Olympism can provide a compelling example of elite performance and the passion and effort of going for, and realising your dreams. Two companies who excel at bringing the sport metaphor alive for businesses and who I am pleased to be connected with are Lane4 and Top Performance Consulting.

The parallels are there: highly competitive environments, having a bold vision, setting challenging goals, small margins making a big difference, putting processes in place, ‘stickability’ and team work are key factors in both sporting and business spheres.

A key difference between the two worlds is the ratio between training and performance.  As Westerbeck and Smith highlighted1, the sport ratio between training and performance is extraordinarily high e.g. 95% training, 5% performance, whereas in business the ratio is effectively reversed.  Learning from this, what can you do to:

a)    make that 5% count?
b)    increase your training ratio?
c)    practice while you perform?


1.Westerbeck, H. and Aaron Smith, A., (2005) Sports Metaphor, Business Leadership and the Lessons from Sport,  Palgrave MacMillian

Image source: njaj /

No comments:

Post a Comment