By Brian Lenehan, HR Consultant 

This has been a big year for sport with the Rugby World Cup, Ryder Cup, and FIFA Women’s World Cup dominating our screens. Next year, all eyes will be on Paris for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the return of the European football championships.

These memorable events remind us that the sporting world brings powerful and practical lessons both on and off the pitch, for business leadership and developing a high-performing team.

Several parallels can be drawn, for example in the game of rugby, the requirements to plan, implement and skillfully execute your next move can be translated into business.

South Africa’s loss against Ireland in the Rugby World Cup pool stages demonstrates the importance of drawing valuable lessons from failure and tackling it head on. Collectively reviewing performances allows every member to see the value in losing and learn from mistakes.

It is also important to celebrate the successes of individuals and the team. Allowing rest and recovery time promotes individual wellbeing and prevents long-term burn-out.

Sports teams carefully curate game plans in the months, and sometimes years, ahead of vital matches. Clear goal setting is equally significant in business and allows a team to concentrate their efforts toward a shared purpose.

Business leaders should develop a long-term vision for success to continue pushing the boundaries of success. In the Women’s World Cup, underdogs Morocco, South Africa, and Jamacia all progressed to the Group 16 stage for the first time, by recognising their team strengths and tailoring its strategy to them.

The worlds of business and sport each rely on similar skill sets, with attributes of determination, accountability, and resilience, creating a culture that fosters collaboration and teamwork. Business leaders should encourage good sportsmanship among their team and create a people-centric environment where all are united around a common goal.

Setting a culture should always start with management. European Ryder Cup team Captain, Luke Donald, is an example of someone who was intentional about making positivity a priority and then led his team to victory. Showcasing this healthy team dynamic will stimulate recruitment for suitable candidates.

Investing in your workforce and encouraging them to continually refine their skills helps build a network of reliable and talented individuals. The All-Blacks’ training regime concentrates on mastering basics like adaptability, flexibility, and mental well-being. The power of building these foundations cannot be underestimated.

In a changing business landscape and difficult recruitment climate these core principles of sportsmanship can be applied to corporate strategies and professional growth. In a continually evolving workplace, sporting attributes can help employers unlock the full potential of their business, enhance recruitment efforts, and improve leadership performance.

To discuss any aspect please contact Brian Lenehan E: T: 028 9032 3466

This article first appeared in the Irish News on 19th December 2023.