Sport and Business have a lot more in common when we dig down…

I have been blessed in my life to have been involved in a professional football club for over ten years as an athlete, coach my own team (NT Thunder) for three years, and now work in the coaching team at an AFL club in Melbourne. Along with all of this a  new chapter in my life is being exposed to the business world through the CGH group and now Goal Indigenous Services.

If you dig deeper into the roles that individuals play in both business and in sport, you will discover that both have a lot more in common than you may have first thought.

As the business world is relatively new to me, the similarities between the two entities has become very apparent, for instance ‘building a winning culture’. Every business much like sporting teams strive to be successful and to have consistent results over a long period of time, with everyone playing an important part in contributing to this success.

The most successful sporting teams I have witnessed are the ones where everyone is clear on their roles, they want to succeed and do their best, knowing that they contribute to the team’s efforts. The one thing I always say to my players is “Never underestimate your ability to make a difference, regardless of how small your role is”.

Now, if you had 22 players every game day turning up with this attitude, who’s going to beat you? What’s the difference in the business world? Very little.

Change is good

One obvious similarity is recognising change. Be adaptable and accept that the way you have always done things isn’t always the best way! If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten!

In AFL the game is continuously changing, the way the game is played, new talent, new teams, new training techniques, players are getting stronger, faster and more skilful. If you as a player or a club don’t improve each year by at least 5% you will be left well behind the rest of the pack.

Much the same as business: new technologies, advanced training, recruitment strategies, dynamic marketing, the digital age, recovering from failure and setbacks, these are all challenges faced in both worlds.

Change is inevitable; those who adapt and embrace change to stay ahead of the game, are the successful ones.

In conclusion there’s a couple of vital components to build on all of this, and that’s celebrating the small wins and rewarding those who have played their role. This creates both a fun and rewarding environment, resulting in a good team culture.

A pat on the back, a monetary reward, or a promotion are characteristics shown in both worlds reflecting a  good team culture.

This is something that is present in my team. Is it something that’s present in yours?

Xavier Clarke – Managing Director
Goal Indigenous Services
www.goalis.com.au

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