Sports Alalogies LO16496

MargMcI (
Mon, 12 Jan 1998 07:53:41 EST

Replying to LO16487 --

In a message dated 1/11/98 7:48:58 PM, Paul wrote:

>Surely the point is that sports analogies provide useful models to which
>many people can relate. They may not be academically sound but they
>certainly help get some really important messages across.

Paul, thanks for opening the door that there might be something useful in
sports for business. This is in response to the many other postings on
sports analogies.

If you take the analogy as an analogy, sports as is relates to business
does have some limitations. However, I think there are well-documented
lessons about performance that can be directly translated into lessons for
business (Perhaps even lessons that are academically sound, but more
produce desired results!). These focus on how to perform at your best in
any given moment. Sports psychologists call it Mental Toughness Training;
sometimes it has been referred to Flow which has been discussed briefly on
this list at times. The world-class athletes and their coaches have
technology to improve the odds of top performance happening.

You are right, business does not have clear rules, is played over a longer
time with less feedback mechanisms than sport, and people are "on" all the
time so there are few practice opportunities. But to me, this only says
we need to learn MORE from the sports experts, not dismiss them. The
question I ask myself is, How can we design business to be more conducive
to high performance in humans such that it is enriching to the performer
as well as the business? I would rather investigate the lessons learned
in sports than succumb to the inherent differences and thus difficulties

I have been collaborating with sport coaches for years before the books on
Flow came out. Currently I'm in conversation with someone in Australia
who is head sports psychologist for their Olympic team and is also a
competent business consultant with experience at Coopers & Lybrand. He
spends half his time in sport, half in business. I think he has a lot to
teach business, and evidently, given his busy calendar, so do others!


Margaret McIntyre


MargMcI <>

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