What can sports teach us about strategy execution? 10 lessons
Strategy is integral in both sports and business. Furthermore, the dynamics of competition are universal. In sports, every game is a full cycle. What can sports teach us about improving execution? Here are a few observations:
- Grit wins over brains every day—but neither alone is enough for the long run.
- Anything can happen. Play is dynamic. Never assume. Always be ready.
- Every event affects momentum (every play, every hit, every heckle). Lean in to positive, brace through negative, focus on realization objectives.
- Plays are important. Competencies are essential. Synergy drives higher performance.
- Play through (not to). Impact does not generate results; follow-through does.
- Playing and watching are different. Players know. Great leaders (advisors) have played.
- There’s only one coach. Players, parents, and spectators (employees, managers, and extended leadership teams) commit or leave.
- Your perspective depends on your position. Great leaders speak to every perspective (forward/defense, rookie/veteran, coach/parent, beginning/end of game, winning/losing).
- Skin in the game strengthens commitment (ambition, grudges, purses/bonuses).
- Records are made to be broken. We can always do better.
Have you got more? Let’s hear them. Comments welcome.
We are Conner Partners, a niche consulting firm, who senior leaders have come to because:
- They are launching a high-stakes strategy and worry (from painful experience) that their organization might fail OR
- A current major initiative is losing momentum and getting bogged down
We have a 40-yr track record of delivering with companies such as Abbott, Lowe’s, Merck and Premier Health Partners, to name a few. Would you be open to an exploratory call? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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