Business lessons from the world of sport 13 Nov 2019

England cricketer Stuart Broad, who sought a mentor in Sir Richard Hadlee and found renewed success.

Top sports people have to be physically fit, but they also have to work on constantly improving their skills and tactics

They are in the most extreme of competitive industries. Either they have a top-notch product or no business at all.

The Dominion Post recently ran two interesting articles about how top sports people improved their game.

Stuart Broad was close to missing selection for the England cricket team, then ripped through the Australian batsmen in the recent Ashes series. What did he do to improve? He sought a mentor, an excellent business move.

Sir Richard Hadlee, as you might remember, shortened his run towards the end of his career and got even more accurate with his bowling. He advised Broad about the changes he made.

You might also remember John Mitchell, the All Blacks coach in 2003. He changed his coaching technique.

“I am now far less at the athlete and more working with the athlete…” he told the DomPost. He doesn’t try to tell his charges what to do but rather draw the answers out of them.

Why is this change important?

From a business perspective, if you can get your staff to tell you how to make improvements, they will own the changes and be comfortable with making them.

The Japanese talk about Kaizen, constant improvement. This is what we should all be doing in our businesses. Small, ongoing positive changes are likely to work better than instructions from above.


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