Business Success: Which Sports Prepare You to Win?

business success, sports, leadership, six sigma focus blog

Business success and athletic success share many attributes. They are about discipline, mindset and the will to win. Recent studies have show that athletes go on to hold higher status jobs and earn about 15% more in salary than those who didn’t participate in sports. Those athletes tend to posses certain qualities — leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect — that are associated specifically with future business success.

The Right Sport for Success

In a recent Forbes article, John Greenhouse discusses the relationship between sports, business success and the impact of subjective and object sports. During an interview, Josh Frasier, SVP of Sales & BD at Rightscale stated that, “Competitive athletes always want to get better. That fire in your belly that always wants you to do your best time, get your best score, whatever it may be, is always there. In subjective sports, it is often unclear how your performance impacted the outcome. You can have the game of your career and your team can still lose. In objective sports, you look up at the clock and it never lies. Either you put in the top time, or you didn’t. Athletes who are willing to put themselves out there in a sport with clear winners and losers are ideal for the unambiguous measurements of sales success. Either you closed enough deals to hit your quota or you didn’t.”

Creating an Environment of Business Success

Athletes clearly have some advantage in the workplace, especially in startup situations. Understanding the sports they participated in, will give you their motivation and mindset when it comes to being successful in a business role. Subjective athletes know the importance of being surrounded by other successful people. It inspires them to greatness. They function well in a team environment and focus on the importance of teamwork. Objective athletes can also be inspired when surrounded by other successful people, they are singularly measured. Their individual success is measured and numbers don’t lie. You will see they best succeed in sales roles and find that to be an inspiring environment.

The key is to know what you are looking for, and know an athlete’s motivations when hiring to get absolutely the best results for your business.