The world’s elite athletes are currently gathered in South Korea for the winter Olympics. It is here that the top performers from various countries compete with one another for the gold. What these athletes do to reach this point is not that different from what the most effective leaders must also accomplish.
So, it comes as no surprise that many athletes are also successful entrepreneurs. Among tennis stars, Venus Williams has an interior design company while Anna Sharapova began a candy line. Golfer Greg Norman opened a restaurant and soccer star David Beckham is busy with fragrances.
The attributes that carry sports stars to the highest levels athletically also make them great business entrepreneurs, according to Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint Inc. She says athletes and entrepreneurs share similar traits that are the secret of their success and these can be applied to business leaders.
First, delineate goals. In sports, athletes aim to be first. Not every business can be on top but organizations can have a clear mission statement and goal. It is up to leaders to implement the goal and make sure that everyone on the team is aware of what the company stands for
Second, be “on call” all the time. Athletes are always training. Every part of their life is planned and detailed. The same can be said for entrepreneurs, who makes their business a part of their entire being.
Third, both athletes and leaders have a good team in place. Athletes rely on trainers and coaches while leaders cannot live without their employees on the front line. Teamwork is essential in all parts of life. Having the right people backing you and providing support is essential.
“Your startup may be driven by you, but your choice of investors, mentors and those crucial first hires will go a long way to determining your success,” writes Goldin in Forbes magazine.
Next, use competition to your advantage. Athletes feed off the energy of their competitors. Leaders can do the same by not being afraid of competition but rather learning from them. Do not view competitors as a bad thing because they can push you to be better and succeed. Look at the competition as a form of inspiration.
Lastly, don’t stop learning. Not every athlete wins every time. When they fail, the best athletes learn from the experience so they will do better next time. Leaders can do the same. You may not get the deal every time but if you learn from failures and mistakes, you know how to handle these situations in the future and do better.
Athletes and leaders strive to be at the top of their game. With a few adjustments to the game plan, leaders can try to get the gold every time.
Weaver, Thinker, Doer