Business and sports may seem like two vastly different worlds, but there are many points of similarity between the two. Sports terms are often used as part of corporate lingo to build morale or convey directives. Managers may rely on phrases like "keep your head in the game" and "the ball is in your court." These metaphors make sense because many corporations operate in ways analogous to large sports teams and athletic organizations. Aside from mere words, however, there are many practical leadership lessons from the sports world that are directly transferable to the business arena.
Develop teamwork through interdependence
There is no "I" in team and there is no single all-star within a corporation either. Great leaders, just like team captains, must strive to build a strong team ethic and make sure that everyone involved knows his or her role and feels valued. Big egos can get in the way of progress. Therefore, learning how to cooperate successfully with many type-A personalities is necessary in sports and crucial for strong business leadership. Clear communication of distinct yet interconnected roles and responsibilities ensures a stable infrastructure and a solid framework for a business. Just as players on a football or hockey team all rely on each other, successful corporations are equally collaborative in nature.
Strategic thinking is essential
Like a football coach planning the best offensive and defensive strategies, managers and executives spend countless hours deciding which moves to make next. In business leadership, logical planning is key. Understanding of study design, data analysis and economic trends is essential in a rapidly changing, unpredictable world. Most jobs in business require a highly analytical mindset, so expect to spend a lot of time at the drawing board conducting valuable research if you want to excel in this field.
Effective execution matters
Top athletes are able to effectively implement and execute sound strategy. They pass the ball with finesse, run swiftly toward the end zone and hit homeruns with power. Doing the right thing matters, which is why strategy is important. But doing the right thing well is what sets the best business leaders apart. Whether closing a deal, embarking on a new venture or merging with a competitor, solid execution of business plans takes incredible acumen. It won't always be easy, but top executives and major league pros both hone their skill over time and with practice.
Lastly, one of the most clear leadership lessons from sports is the importance of training. All athletes must dedicate themselves to a rigorous training schedule that builds the strength and endurance needed to win. In the same vein, an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program can provide leaders with the skills and discipline needed to make an impact in their chosen career path. A good MBA program is tailored to meet the demands of your specific professional objectives and will give you the tools needed to get there. Earning an MBA takes commitment, but the rewards of attaining one can help make you an MVP.
Learn more about the FIU online MBA program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.