Leadership Concepts - From Biz to Sports

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Time and again I have seen speakers explain leadership in management
through sports examples.(Me Included)

Having seen the entrepreneurial space for years, and worked with some
unsung geniuses, I honestly feel it is unfair on entrepreneurs. So this time around, let me present the subject from the entrepreneur’s side.

While passion, commitment, discipline, focus as concepts can be
borrowed from sports, there are areas that are vastly different in the entrepreneurial world.

1. Backlog

Say for eg a batsman scores less than 30 runs in his first 3 matches when he was actually supposed to score say 70 runs – think of scenario where he is walking into the fourth match –what if he starts at -120 runs (Don’t know how many of our shoor-veer Indian batsmen will ever make I to double figures if this system is adopted)- might sound funny but that’s how it is for the courageous entrepreneur.

Now, let’s look at our committed entrepreneur. He starts his business
and goofs up the first 3 months and instead of 50000 he made only 20000 per month. 4th month will he have a clean slate…. He now has to make the 50000 of that month plus the 90000 of the previous months to just stay afloat

2. Cashflow

When the batsman goofed up it did not mean he had to stop dining out
for that month because he was still getting his money.

On the other hand, the entrepreneur will have to do lot of such
adjustments if he has to avoid unnecessary liability. My experience particularly in the less than 3 cr kind of business this will call for some fund generation

3. Family and friends upset

This compromise done by the entrepreneur pinches his family and they
get upset and further pressurizes him. His preoccupation with his challenges also irritates his friends.

4. Funds

When he approaches the banks for fund, they will not pay him because
he has a bad business track record. I have seen businesses struggle with their personal a balance sheets, 15 years after being into business – because some time in their early days of business they had an unfortunate situation and it started a spiral. ( In fact I congratulated the gentleman for having managed so long and told him I will use his case as study material)

So now we have 2 people,

One, our batsman, who is walking in – who just has to play to his
potential in one game and all his past sins are washed off.

One our entrepreneur, who is walking in with an upset family at home,
light pockets, threat of dynamic market – with only his self-belief and confidence - his only chance of survival is to play his heart out and there is no guarantee that his old sins will get washed off .

Would have been really interesting to see how some of our coveted
sports stars  operate if they were to step into my entrepreneur’s shoes.
One more point worth mentioning is:

5. Team Management

Speaking of team, it is different managing a team when somebody else is
paying their salaries. For the entrepreneur, whatever pep talk he gives will fall on deaf ears, if he falters in paying the salaries.

Yes, I have seen magician entrepreneurs hold on to their employees
with great grit without having enough money to pay their salaries – but I can assure you they do it at the cost of slowly but surely eroding their self esteem. In fact, in small businesses, from the way an employer calls an employee, you can make out if the employee has been paid or not.

Before I sign off,

To the credit of the sportsmen I would say they have the heart to fail
openly in front of thousands of their fans…

…lucky them, one success can change the wheel of fortune for them.

Valiant entrepreneurs endure failure silently, celebrate success silently
– is that good or bad….will discuss in next article…

The point I am trying to make here is it's time we started taking some
important lessons like pressure handling, temperament, perseverance,
patience, self-belief, will power, never-say-die spirit, alertness,
sensitivity to time and such other great entrepreneurial virtues to the
sports field.

It's time the world gave the entrepreneurs their due respect and
standing in the society.

Sashi Menon
Chief Mentor, IIEMT

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