Published 08 February, 2021

10 Great Corporate Lessons from Sport (7 Mins Read)

Sports is only fun and game for some. But for others, sport imparts various lessons that would help them to learn how to grow a business or a company. The best part about sport is that you don’t necessarily need to play the sport to learn the corporate lessons from it. You can learn the lessons by simply watching a sport while seeing them work together as a team with a common goal and watching them succeed. Major championships are won through the sheer efforts of the talented individuals who work together moving towards a common goal. The same lessons which we learn from sports can be applied in the corporate world too.


There are some basic corporate lessons which can be learnt from sports irrespective if one wins or loses. Those are the following:


  1. Practice makes a man perfect

This proverb is very true for sports. The more the practice, the better your performance is and the more perfect you become. The discipline of practice is a must in sports. In sports, perfection is a concept which is although rarely seen, but the pursuit of an ideal is invaluable in itself, both on and off the field. To reach to that near perfection more and more practice is required. Practice will improve your efficiency and help in becoming better at the game which is a reward on its own.


So, the corporate lesson learnt here is that training doesn’t just improve the performance, it only resets your instincts so that when you get into the job, you respond the right way. To keep performing well regular practice is very much essential.


  1. Need to check your priorities

Becoming a highly skilled player in any sport requires significant sacrifices of time and energy. It requires great commitment and above all, good prioritization. In order to make out time for practice, a certain amount of leisure time has to be given up. And once you’re practicing, every minute of a batting practice means sacrificing a minute of fielding practice. This means the players have to understand how and when to spend their best energy and must know when it’s time to put a stop. The skill to differentiate between what is absolutely necessary in the moment and what can be sacrificed is absolutely necessary for any academic or professional pursuit.

The business lesson learnt from this is there are many professionals who have difficulty in saying no or are not able manage their time properly. Sport helps in motivating the people to set the priority correctly and helps in the management of time properly in a business.

  1. Play well as a team and share the credit equally

Being a good teammate actually means passing the ball to somebody else and if she scores a goal then her success is your success and everyone in the team celebrates and shares the credit equally. What if she misses the goal? You pass it to her again the next time.

The corporate lesson we can learn from it is knowing how to help others perform well and congratulate others in celebrating their wins. This is as good as forgiving them for their losses and dividing the gains with all the team members in the team.

Apart from the above basic corporate lessons which we can learn from sports, there are other lessons which we can learn from win and also from the loss. On one hand, a brilliant teamwork inspires and motivates us. But, on the other, when a team fails to perform then it causes a lot of discontent and conflict amongst the team members and also leads to poor results. We can all learn many corporate lessons from these examples from sports, both from the great moments and the failures as well and apply those in the corporate world to grow a business.
Learning from  brilliant teamwork
  1. To have trust in each other and anticipate well
In a soccer match, we can come across an incredible example of teamwork when we see that a player allows another to take a shot at the goal as she is better positioned near the goal to take a successful attempt to score the goal. This is a great example of self sacrifice from one player who sacrifices scoring the goal herself, combined with the ability to anticipate and execute on the part of the other player. This provides a great lesson of having trust and anticipation amongst the team members.
The business lesson we can learn from this example is developing relationships in the workplace and building trust in the team . It is essential to build the team confidence and work with each other effectively. By knowing and trusting the teammates, you increase opportunities for collaboration and gain in confidence. Building trust requires honesty, integrity, caring, consistency and competency in doing what you are committed to do.
5. Have a team strategy
There are many examples which we come across in a team game, where we can clearly see that the team which wins has a well thought plan and a strategy right from the start. They collectively perform as a team according to the strategy, rather than trying to show off their individual skills. For them the success of the team is more important than their individual performance.
The business lesson we learn from it is that an organization's strategies must be planned and executed in a similar way. The strategy must be clearly communicated across the company, so that everyone can make smart choices on a daily basis. By articulating clear directives, simple goals and making strategy everyone's job will help all to focus better on how to reach the benchmarks set by the company.
6. Have total focus and awareness
As someone plays baseball, it always amazes us how the pros take incredibly difficult shots and make them look almost effortless. These games require incredible swiftness, focus, precision, practice and awareness of where all the runners are placed on the field.
The business lesson we learn from this example is anticipating the possibilities with total focus and awareness and looking beyond what lies ahead and sensing the changes on the business horizon in advance to let the employees make better decisions and give them the ability to respond and adapt to the changes. The flexible and tailored approach in taking action promotes the agility and prepares the people well to handle the ongoing evolution in the market and the uncertainty in the business environment.
Learning from a failed teamwork too
7. Should always focus on the larger goals
Collisions among the outfielders often lead to dropped balls and injuries, and often occur because of two big mistakes at the same time, which allows ego to get in the way and failure to listen. Normally, these types of situations can be avoided by establishing strong communication among players during the hours of practice. All the team member’s expectations should be established ahead in time in order to avoid these types of collisions during the game.
The business lesson learnt from this is that in order to survive and thrive, your organization will need to have efficient communication channels. This provides everyone in the organization with the opportunity to stay focused on the larger goal rather than having their team and individual strategies collide with each other.
8. Being selfless is necessary for a greater team cause
Many a times we see that after a defeat in a big game or a major failure the captain takes the responsibility for the loss and steps down from captaincy by herself, so that the best prospective candidate becomes the next captain and takes the team to a higher level of performance. The captain analyses her leadership skills and performance and finds that she has a lot of scope for improvement in himself, so she takes the step. This self sacrificing attitude is required for a greater team cause.
The business lesson which we learn from this example is maybe you work with someone who would rather hang onto this kind of situation even after failure and not allow someone else to take over because of a selfish attitude. Maybe that you know someone who tried to take on too much in this situation to prove his or her self worth and that cost the team a win. In both the cases, the performance of the team suffers. So, developing a flexible leadership in an organization helps the team members adapt their behaviour to meet the needs of others and put the team's interests above the self. Create an environment that draws the members of the team into discussions, so that everyone has the opportunity to share their own views.
9. You must know where you're going
In sports watching two players make a bad situation worse by failing to communicate and literally not knowing the right direction in which they should be going is very painful to watch and it is a result of  poor leadership too. Clearly, one person should be leading in these situations and the other should be following. However, there crops up instances, where both don't know the plan clearly and how to follow that.
The business lesson learnt here is although formulating a strategy and knowing where you're going is important, it isn't enough. Your strategy must be clear enough to the other people in the company that it leads automatically to right thoughts and actions. The strategy must also be clearly communicated across the organization, so that people feel well guided and motivated. This will help people in the team know where they are going and how they have to get there.
10. You won’t always win and that’s perfectly fine

Sports teach us about how to value a failure. Whether we are practicing or competing, athletic pursuits are built equally on the moments of triumph and moments of defeat. No matter which game you play, it’s important to enjoy success with all the humility and to accept defeat with a lot of dignity.

The business lesson we learn here is knowing that every risk won’t pay off and that every corporate move will not result in a big win. Understanding every strategy won’t work your way is the key to being able to keep on moving effectively. Don’t be paralyzed by the loss. The same holds for life too.

At the first glance, the world of sport and the corporate might appear to have very little in common. The former is necessarily about honing of one’s physical and athletic abilities to new heights and the latter relying heavily on the mental acuity to navigate the obstacles and challenges of the corporate environment. But when we dig a little deeper, especially at the highest levels of both the fields, then the similarities become more apparent.  A strong commitment to continuous improvement, hard work, dedication and an unquenchable thirst to be the best are just a few of the traits shared by the best in both the fields., These are few of the great lessons that today’s corporate leaders can learn from the world of sport.

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