Why Sportsmen Perform Better Than Businessmen

It was interesting to hear about the innovative training techniques the new England Cricket coach has been using. Using computer bowling system called Pro-Batter, practicing in the nets with a bat the size of a cucumber and one with double the weight, running 5,8, 10 runs between balls, batting whilst bombarded with noise to improve their concentration etc etc.

Sir Clive Woodward had the England Rugby team coaching their eyes to improve their peripheral vision.

These techniques may seem extreme, but they are simply refining their performance because they are operating at a higher level. Put me on a cricket pitch and simply hitting the ball would be a result. The last I hit 2 balls straight was when I stood on a rake. I haven’t mastered the basics.

So it is all about maturity. But sportsmen seem to have a huge advantage. The rules that they play by are well documented are are universally accepted. The same cannot be said of most businesses. That is where Nimbus Control is starting to make a difference. And if your company has already got a coordinated BI (business intelligence) approach then you may be able to see the results.

Carphone Warehouse is a classic example. As a retailer they know the numbers. They are the sales made in every store every day. Getting commonly agreed processes, branded How2, used by all staff is making a tangible difference.

Ashley Cook, Business Operations Director at Carphone Warehouse has some great insights in this video.

What they have spotted is those people who adhere to the processes most, perform better. Those that are performing at a higher level are then candidates for more advanced techniques.

But in business, few if any companies are at a level of process maturity which is any better than my attempts at cricket. They are gifted amateurs. And as Geoff Colvin says in his excellent book “Talent is not enough”

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Ian Gotts is CEO and Chairman of Nimbus Partners, an established and rapidly growing global software company, headquartered in the UK. He is a very experienced senior executive and serial entrepreneur, with a career spanning 25 years. Ian has co-authored a number of books including “Common Approach, Uncommon Results”, published in English and Chinese and in its second edition, "Why Killer Products Don't Sell" and books covering Cloud computing from the perspective of both the prospective buyer, and the software vendor. Having begun his career in 1983 as an engineer for British Rail, Ian then spent 12 years at Accenture (nee Andersen Consulting) specialising in the project management of major business critical IT projects. During this time, he spent two years as an IT Director, seconded to the Department for Social Security (DSS), with a department of over 500 and a budget responsibility of 40 million pounds.