It never ceases to surprise me how similar business strategy and sporting success are in practice. And the more I look at the characteristics of top sportspeople and the teams that they surround themselves with, the more I see them reflect the secrets of business success.
Superheroes need backup too…
One of the key methodologies that both follow is to hold regular meetings or planning sessions. Sports teams must meet to work on their strategies, discuss goals and targets, and set out the training schedules that they need to follow. These meetings involve far more than just the players in the team; however, they must bring in the ideas of the tacticians, hear updates from the fitness coaches, and include all manner of other support staff. In many ways the bigger and better the extended team, the higher the chances of success.
Likewise, those involved in individual sports – the ones who often appear to be out on the track or field all alone pitching their talent and tenacity against the world. These gladiatorial superheroes too could not survive without the support of a team around them. Perhaps even more so than those who are surrounded by teammates as they face their opposition, these individuals are totally reliant on a team.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the measure of any world champion is equal to that of the people who supported them in getting to the top. Yes, natural talent, determination and brave-hearted endeavour cannot be taken for granted, but power and skill are nothing without direction and control.
Your business needs a team
When running a business, these things are precisely the same. Whether you employ other people or operate as a one-man-band, you simply cannot get by if you are working in isolation. You need to meet regularly to discuss strategy, direction, opportunities, challenges, planning and accountability. And if you are a sole trading business, you absolutely must find external help that you can trust with this critical role.
Just to be clear, I am not talking about meetings for meeting’s sake – we’ve all sat through far too many of those I’m sure. No, I’m referring to meetings with a purpose – meetings that start with a goal and finish with a list of actions and accountabilities. I mean smart meetings that are focused on the health of the business.
In my business, we run weekly meetings to ensure that the day-to-day goals for that week are clear. During these meetings, we make sure obstacles (both real or imagined) are addressed, and the things that need to be done are correctly allocated. We also run monthly meetings to look at the bigger picture; assess the previous month, learn any lessons that we can, and readjust our goals accordingly.
Likewise, the quarterly and annual meetings in the business focus on increasingly more comprehensive versions of the journey that the team has embarked on. And once again, every decision is allocated and accounted for.
Your team needs to come together often
In addition to the obvious value in setting, monitoring and readdressing goals, perhaps the most significant benefit of running regular meetings is that of communication. Teams that speak often and openly perform well together; support one another in adversity and maximise the combined talent of each individual to unite as a winning whole.