The business of sport

It’s been a busy few months in sport with the British Grand Prix, Wimbledon, the Ashes, the Open and the football season just about to kick off.

Many of us watched on Sunday as va va Froome negotiated the cobbles of Paris to claim the yellow jersey and win LeTour. But what is it about Chris Froome that kept him on that podium and is there anything we can take from sport into our business lives?

As businesses we often focus on strategy, technical skills and processes, all of which are important, but we forget that it’s our people that are on the front line, delivering every working day what we make or produce.

The team triumphed at the Tour De France. Team Sky put Chris Froome on the podium on Sunday, all the riders knew their roles and responsibilities and stuck to the plan. Team Sky focus on marginal gains, tiny improvements to every aspect of the business of cycling – from making the individual components of the bike the lightest they can possibly be, to ensuring the men that power them get a good night’s sleep by always using their own pillows.

Working on employees’ motivation, team spirit and pride in the work they do are key components of a winning team but companies often spend little time on this area of their business. The focus is on process and products but we sometimes forget that it’s a person who is powering that bike up the mountain.

What can we learn from team Sky, team Murray or team Hamilton?

  • Put as much effort into motivating, mentoring and managing your team – they are your best business asset
  • Regularly talk about your vision and how you are going to get there, research shows a business that knows where it’s going is more likely to succeed
  • You may have individual stars but remember they are supported by a team who also need encouragement, support and to feel valued
  • Look at marginal gains – it’s always important to have a vision for your business but remember you get there in small steps, focus on the small things you can achieve which will drive you to greatness
  • Ride your own race – don’t try to be team Sky if that’s not who you are as a business. Focus on your strengths and build on them

Sport provides a fascinating insight into leadership as often it’s not always the most technically gifted player that succeeds, but the one with the mental strength. Just ask Gary Neville!

July 28, 2015 - This article was written by Julie Cheston

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