Sports performance accountability offers great insights to business & market effectiveness

By: Bill Van Eron Friday July 5, 2019 0 comments Tags: Bill Van Eron

Van_Eron_headerBy Bill Van Eron

Business Ecosystem Effectiveness

Headwaters Marketing and Innovation

I love what we can glean as just from the show American Ninja Warriors:van-eron-graphic.7.5

  1. Everyone has a chance to step up to showcase their talents when they reach a level of readiness.
  2. Every contestant learns from others’ efforts to catalyze higher performance for all.
  3. There is a culture supportive to anyone making the effort as well as to all that succeed.
  4. There is a progressive path for readiness and staying at a peak performance level.
  5. The diversity and sense of inclusion & accomplishment is valued by participants, observers & all.

Business and markets associate with the culture of sports, so why not leverage that in your brand?

As part of my design education and progressive career application, I have and do help any org. to realize and sustain a higher value. They soon look beyond the obvious to escape the trappings of closed internal patterns we all fall into. Challenge ourselves to stay open, credible & relevant, success is in full flow.

While I look at many trends, values & patterns, I also see strong influences in sports & nature as two powerful systems you can leverage metaphorically and practically. I read and witness that “industry experts” rarely are the ones creating innovation versus those that stay continuous learners to see and apply values others share to continuously enrich your brand engagement & relevance. Shifting from repetitive to living org cultures is vital. What a great time to be part of helping people & businesses on that path in ways only true pioneers see.

As you look at business or any org. objectively, you have to look hard to find truly open cultures that shape an organization’s structure to be aligned with higher effectiveness requirements today.

Highly successful businesses offer clues, even when they are just starting on a path of mindful relevance. Sports leaders & coaches made presentations to business to leverage attributes & values. Peyton Manning modelled the best of both. That is more valid today as examples can now be more pertinent & relevant.

Let’s look at eight examples of sports relevance you should hope to see in your life & work:

  1. Pep Talks – This happens in sports and business. High level goals, confidence & focus are common components. In sports, there is accountable follow-through. In business, we see leaders saying more of the right things but not knowing how to or where to enable relatively new actions – I.E., Inclusion, diversity, objectivity, culture and more. Employees, customers, stakeholders & market influencers have transparency to how genuine you are to promises made internally & externally. Success has to be earned across your internal & external ecosystem as interdependent value connections, not just expected or superficially.
  2. Experience On Tap – Sports teams always seek and attract the best talent, coaches and trainers. They study how other teams perform & constantly adjust. QB’s achieve performance milestones towards the ultimate - the ability to call audibles when defensive changeups happen suddenly. This ability to leverage the best on tap – something we originated as an integrated approach, is key to those wishing to see opportunities sooner, act with greater confidence & advance their value as a trusted brand.
  3. A shared vision of the future – “Future, we are just trying to survive each day” is more often your reality. Sports teams understand rebuilding & progressive performance. Business & other org leaders fall into risk averse patterns; holding onto past preferences despite growing irrelevance today. Who do you talk to inside your org when all are embracing the status quo or afraid to make waves? How can you discern what’s new when even outside talent is complicit to what you want versus what you need? How do you avoid silo dominated actions versus a more integrated view on tap of your real needs and success requirements? These are vital questions that all should ask. Our value instincts have only increased since 1990 when we were among the first to apply the actions that enable humanity across Fortune 100 ecosystems. Leveraging our success serves as a catapult so you too can flourish through change personally & ecosystem-wide.
  4. A culture of champions As a creative designer & thinker when I chose to immerse myself into customer-facing environs, I observed why resellers struggled with marketing and helped them to establish high-value brands, they then looked at HP as a true partner. When it was apparent that HP leaders were often too dry in their presentations, I brought in a talent team to liven them up without requiring leaders to be actors. When editors told me just because we were HP did not mean they trust all we say, we invited them to focus groups to hear from customers firsthand - something they never saw any business do. That earned trust earned feature story coverage globally. All loved the immediate and major success boost as did audiences and influencers. We were all in it together. As one who sees these things quickly, there are a wide range of opportunities to increase effectiveness that people stuck in long-term patterns or a narrow job focus miss. Humanity is the soul of business. Today, emotional intelligence & ecosystem relevance determines success.
  5. Continuous Development – Athletes, coaches & trainers are always honing skills, adopting or innovating better methods. Imagine that in business. There is ample evidence that business struggles to get out of their usual bottom line patterns or to see the bigger whole that now defines success. Many opt to try small steps that fail where an integrated effort in phases is better, especially where employee engagement, culture, trust, inclusion, diversity and sharing success are well overdue. As more systems-oriented design thinkers emerge, as they leap beyond the confines where design makes anything look good, to now assuring what they represent is indeed great & relevant, most organizations will see a major rise in effectiveness.
  1. Performance Accountability – Sports understand success is a process and how their ecosystem plays a key role. Business struggles with that in many ways. When you look at employee research & polls, as Gallup does; we see micro-management versus leadership, less enabling cultures; thus a growing 70% employee indifference to emotional investment in work. Flip that around and offer a system that grooms and attracts talent to be their best in ways that matter – as we see in sports – and watch their effectiveness grow. Many leaders fear the word transformation as disruptive to current business, slow, expensive, thus a high risk. Too many solutions inadvertently feed that fear, thus are deemed as failures. Those same leaders often fail to see the real cost of low accountability where it really matters – to assure a brand and purpose that is trusted, relevant, inclusive, and progressively on the rise.
  1. Earned Fan Loyalty – Fans often try to support their home teams through their performance ups and downs. Few teams take that for granted. Referees, like first-line managers, are often criticized unless the culture they support is a true need. Customers in all markets have total transparency to how genuine any org. is to promises made internally & externally. The more employees and markets continually connect around shared values and principles – versus sticking to limiting corporate agendas that put people off - the more that brand flourishes. Companies track & even stalk customer buying patterns which offends most, at a time when relevance and trust offer a stronger connection to build on.
  1. Giving Back Through a Valued Purpose – I love how many sports teams and athletes explore and choose to help their hometown communities. Most don’t do this to achieve greater fan support, but it does happen. When I joined HP in 1978, it was a company with a purpose & a culture that enabled people & communities. Today, as a systems thinker with a better sense of where technologies can enable people, I see purpose as a defining value. Many prospective employees now ask “what is your purpose?” Too few have acceptable answers. Change that to shape purposes that earn greater internal & external regard, and lead by example.
Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

Bill Van Eron, founder, Headwaters Marketing & Innovation, offers strategic marketing, brand & innovation insights, as key to your internal or agency team's ability to help sales & marketing to rise above the trappings that created steep decline. We offer the first enablement & accountability model for HR.

Bill joined other leading advisors to deliver an integrated view of where you are and can be. Bill has been praised by thought leaders as possessing rare extensive experience & success creating future-now work that leaders and leading business media are starting to realize today as vital. Get your game on with lower risk & bolder, proven success at