The relationship between sport and business 23 Jul 2014
In June, Sarah and I attended the excellent BVCA High Growth Conference. There were some very good speakers throughout the day, speaking with authority and confidence about their experiences of growing businesses during the recession and out the other side, a stronger, leaner maybe, but healthier business.
The final speaker of the day was Lord Coe who started with a look back at some highlights from the London Olympics (which brought a lump to the throat of most of those there). He then talked about the success of the games, a little about his early career and the skills it took to make him successful: ambition, competitiveness and determination.
As there is plenty of press about him at the moment, ripe with speculation that he is poised to succeed Lord Patten as Chairman of the BBC; and with the Commonwealth Games all set to start in Glasgow this week, it got me thinking about how well the principles that make successful sportsmen crossover into business to make successful businessmen (and it is men, I have struggled to find successful sportswomen who have crossed over to business successfully).
Lord Coe made the move to business via politics (which also requires ambition, determination and a fierce competitive spirit). The mental discipline needed to train hard and focus on the goal must have some correlation to the drive needed to run a business, to keep going even when things get difficult. There is also a correlation between the ability to perform as part of a team and leading a team whether this is in the field of sport or business.
I thought I would look to see how many former sports stars had swerved a career in punditry for one in business instead, here are a few:
Jack Rowell (Celsis plc) David Lloyd (David Lloyd Leisure)
Will Carling (WCM Ltd) Phil Edmonds (Agriterra)
Tim Rodber (Instant Offices) Sir Bill Gammell (Cairn Energy)
Adrian Moorhouse (Lane4) Dave Whelan (JJB Sports)
Roger Black (BlackleyBlack) Fran Cotton (Cotton Traders)
Alex Snow (Evolution) Alan Pascoe (Fast Track Events)
Paul Caddick (Caddick Group)
I am sure there are many more – especially those who, like Adrian Moorhouse and Roger Black teach the principles of success in sport to business people.
As we get over another World Cup disappointment it is heartening to know that there is a successful career in business for some of the sportstars of today.