If you’re like most people, you’re probably keeping tabs on your favourite team and statistics. What’s surprising is that if you look closely, you can actually learn powerful business lessons from the weekend’s action, writes Craig Cherry, Managing Director of The Loyalty Zone.
Here’s five reasons why you do actually want to read the sports section to improve your business.
Sport teaches us a lot about business
When teams are falling down the ladder, who’s the first one to get blamed? Who’s the first one to leave? It’s not the players; it’s the coach!
We’ve seen countless examples of coaches being replaced with new ones and seeing their performance turn around. So why doesn’t business run the same way? When things go wrong in the workplace, who’s the first to get the blame? Usually, it’s the frontline staff.
It’s time to look at problems from a different perspective. Your staff can only perform as well as they’re set up and coached.
Teams perform at their best when they’re coached
Think about the last time you played a team sport. It may have been in school or on the weekend. Maybe it was the local footy club, or weekly tennis rounds. If you remember a time when you were at your peak, it’s safe to say that you probably had the help of a coach.
The same is true is business. In Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Entrepreneur, the main character learns that the best way to improve the profitability of the business was to coach his team to a higher level of performance. Which leads to the next reason why you should be reading the sports section…
Customer service is management driven
On game day, where will the manager or coach be sitting? In the change rooms? In the office? Absolutely not! They’d get sacked. The coach is right there on the ground. They’re watching the game being played; they’re right there before the game starts; they’re there at quarter time; half time; they’re making decisions; changing positions; improvising in the moment based on the gameplay; they’re responding to the loss of momentum.
But what happens in business? Where is the manager when the game customer service game is being played. Unfortunately, most managers are sitting in the office while the game is being won or lost. Get out of the office and watch the game being played. It might be time to make a change and call a huddle.
Sport teaches us about keeping score
Why is sport so exciting? What drives people week in, week out to follow a team throughout an entire season? The key is in the score board. Sport and games are exciting because there is a scoreboard. Whether it’s table tennis, hockey, or curling, there is someone keeping score, so you know exactly how the team is going.
What happens in business? It’s not that business doesn’t keep score; the problem is that by the time they get the score, it’s already too late to make a difference. By the time you look at your bottom line financials, you’ve already played the entire game. It’s like a saying we follow, “Using your financials as your main measurement is like driving using your rear-view mirror.” Teams are more motivated about playing the game when they have more frequent score boards in the moment while the game is being played.
Sport shows us the importance of training
When the game is not being played, what are the best sports teams doing every day? They’re training! Even the best in their field spend hours perfecting the fundamentals. Tiger Woods was notorious for staying behind after a game practising his golf swing. Perfect practice makes permanent. Again, what do most businesses do? Most managers allow their team to go on the field without any warm-up or training in advance. They’re fumbling the ball while the game is being played, and this is costly to a business where word of mouth is critical for success.
Learn from the best sporting teams in the world; become a coach for your staff; be on the ‘ground’ when the game is being played; help your team keep score, and training your staff to success. These are critical ingredients for better word of mouth growth and repeat business.
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