Athletes are today's gladiators. They work diligently when
no one is watching, perform majestically at sporting pinnacles,
stay focused as fierce competitors, and inspire everyone to dream
and pursue greatness. Yet, not all athletes are victorious; the
truly great athletes have certain characteristics that set them
apart from the competition, and allow them to succeed beyond all
A business environment is similar to that of sports - after all,
sport itself can be a mega business. So what can business owners
learn from successful athletes? What traits can business owners
develop that would help them achieve success in a highly
competitive market? This article aims to summarize the top five
traits of highly successful athletes that can be applied by
business owners in their pursuit of greatness.
1. Drive to succeed
The highest performing athletes have an unwavering desire to be
the best, and are willing to put in the effort required to achieve
that level of success. They work diligently towards their goals
even when the results are hard to obtain. A business must have a
similar drive to succeed, and specific effort must be applied
toward achievement. Success can be measured by individual
parameters - market leadership, social responsibility, industry
growth - and the organization must dedicate resources to achieving
the desired level of success.
2. Goals. Strategy. Results.
Most athletes set achievable goals, and reach their desired
results through implementing specific strategies. The great ones
often have more specific goals and strategies compared to their
competition; they go above and beyond the expected effort. To
triumph in the business world, businesses must operate on a similar
platform - effort aligned with specific goals and strategies to
achieve the desired results. It is important to remain accountable
to goal achievement, and to reconfigure the strategies if the
results are not materializing. Goals should be set at the
executive level and communicated to employees on a regular
3. Team Player
In sport, the great athletes are highly team oriented. They play
an integral part within the team, are willing to sacrifice personal
glory for team victory, and are at the forefront to praise their
teammates. Even in individual sports, each athlete has a team
supporting their growth including everything from training to
contest preparation and recovery. A business can apply a similar
philosophy within its organizational culture. Teamwork within
divisions and between employees should be encouraged and rewarded
since team efforts, in alignment with organizational goals, will
allow for the exploration of new perspectives and greater success
towards common goal achievement.
4. Effective Leadership
Most great athletes have equally great coaches. The best
athletes listen to feedback and trust a mentor's guidance. They
apply their coaches' guidance not only during the game, but
during their daily life since it is specific to the athlete's
goals, and guides them towards achieving their targets. Similarly,
it is important for a business to have the right guidance to launch
itself towards success and run its operations more efficiently.
Effective leadership also helps a business assess its progress
towards goals, formulate strategic partnerships, and plan for the
5. Power to Inspire
Great athletes inspire generations. They prove to the public
that anything is possible if effort is applied towards achieving
specific goals and the truly remarkable athletes solidify a legacy.
A business must also aim to inspire those within its environment.
For example, by incorporating social responsibility within its
code, a business may inspire an entire generation of entrepreneurs
to pursue success, while being accountable to the environment.
The list of qualities that can be taken from high performing
athletes and applied by business owners is vast, and most
businesses would benefit from these five overarching attributes. An
unwavering drive to succeed, goal setting, teamwork, effective
guidance and the power to inspire should help any business achieve
About the Author
Danish Baig is a Senior Staff Accountant in the Audit &
Advisory Group at Crowe Soberman.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Law Society of British Columbia’s Cloud Computing Working Group issued its Final Report on Cloud Computing on January 27, 2012, amending an earlier consultation report approved by the "Benchers" on July 15, 2011.
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