In terms of developing people and performance and enabling a person or a group of people to perform at their very best, are the worlds of sport and business so very different? And is there a place for the best practices for developing a person from either world applicable in the other? We personally believe they are and regularly see how they can be applied and with phenomenal results. We think more can be done though, as we feel there are those from both worlds who are missing a trick and not using the knowledge and practices available to them in order to truly maximise people’s performance.
Now, we can only speak with any real experience from the perspective of the world of business, so from one side of the fence, however people are people and teams are teams, regardless of which side of the fence they sit. And we definitely know something about how to how develop both having been in the world of learning and people development for nearly 20 years. And it’s because of this that we believe the same principles can be applied to both worlds regardless and that the principles that we use to develop people, teams and organisations in the business world, can absolutely be applied to the sports world and likewise, that the principles used in the sporting world, can also be applied in business.
At this point, it’s probably worth us saying that we are not for one minute suggesting that someone from either camp can or should provide technical instruction. That’s where specialist experts come in. What we are talking about is different, however arguably has far more impact and will mean people and teams perform better, including technically.
So, what are we talking about and what else can have such an impact on performance? Well, in our opinion and from observing how effective and ineffective people and teams can be from both worlds, there is one overriding factor that pins all this together and drives greater performance regardless. And that is COMMUNICATION. Now, we are not just talking about simply speaking to people here, although that is hugely important. What we are talking about is far more than that and actually encompasses a number of areas.
Let us explain. We firmly believe that this thing call communication is the key to absolutely everything we do, without fail. If we can communicate brilliantly, we will be our very best, most effective selves. Fact! But this thing called communication includes many areas that are all interlinked and in terms of developing people and improving performance, we believe they are encapsulated by the following five words:
Now at this point you are probably saying to yourself that you already know this and are also probably thinking that we are stating the obvious. But we’re not sure we are and it’s because of this. We come across far too many people, who actually do not know what these truly mean in terms of improving performance and developing people, let alone actually use the practices and theory that have the right impact.
For example, we observe plenty of people who say and think they are great ‘leaders’, they aren’t. We also see far too many people who describe themselves as a ‘coach’, they most definitely aren’t. True coaching is a very particular practice and should not be confused with instruction or training.
Then there’s ‘mindset’. Now, we all know that mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing society in the modern age, why is that? We for one have experienced difficulties ourselves having experienced severe stress in the past. And it was only last year that a member of the England World Cup squad admitted that he had suffered with depression. And that’s a premiership footballer! Why on earth would someone who supposedly has everything be depressed? Yet it happens. And when we talk about mindset, we’re not just talking about chest thumping, forced positivity, it is far more than that. For us it is about being able to recognise, understand and manage one’s thoughts and then, also the subsequent reactions to those thoughts, resulting in a happier, more fulfilled and effective individual.
Moving on to ‘people’, which is about our physical wellbeing and also interacting brilliantly with the world around us. These are two of the most important attributes any person can have, yet we take them for granted and are the two things, if we are honest with ourselves, that probably causes the most issues. And by the way, it’s not possible to do these well without having a great ‘mindset’.
And lastly, we have ‘team’. We are not sure it isn’t often assumed that if you throw a group of people together that they are instantly a team? Well, let us tell you they aren’t. They may have someone in charge, they may have a team name, they may even have a uniform and a badge.
That does not make them a team. Building and sustaining a team takes thought and hard work and a particular set of behaviours are absolutely crucial if the team is to succeed. In the business world, we rarely see those, and in the sporting world, we would say it’s the exception rather than the rule, from what we can observe.
So, starting with ‘Leadership’ in our next blog, we would like to explore each of these 5 areas in more detail and discuss how we think they can and should be applied in both worlds for the purposes of developing people and improving performance.
Are the worlds of sport and business so very different? We don’t believe they are.