Why Sports Are a Weak Analogy for Business

May 25, 2017 10:30 AM by Aileron

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Although commonly used, sports are a weak analogy for thinking and talking about business.

Mark Thompson, an Aileron Business Advisor, explains why a symphony is a better analogy for how we develop and support people in an organization.

It’s More Than High Performers

Sports analogies often glamorize motivation coming from a coach or a team leader. But high-performing organizations are made up of employees with intrinsic motivation.“The hours of practice it takes to develop as an artist and as musician is from self-motivation,” explains Mark. “The person has to choose to be motivated each day."

“The conductor can de-motivate, as can the CEO or the leader of any team. But we’re really trying to create an environment where folks can seek their own inspiration and it’s aligned with what we are trying to achieve as an organization. Then they can choose to follow their conductor’s lead.”

Symphony_Quote_800x400.pngLike conductors of a symphony, business leaders are tasked with cultivating the environment that encourages people to do their best work. aileron blogclick to tweet.png

“What you can do as a leader is try to create an environment to help employees connect the dots between their own personal vision, and how that supports, aligns or extends the vision of the organization.”

It’s More Than Winning & Losing

“When you think of an orchestra, it's collaborative. They support one another and it blends to create the product. There are solos and you can hear the layers to the music, and you can break it apart, but most of us experience it at its whole.” The same can be said for business and how we experience a service or product.

“As the musicians each do their solo when performing, they're playing back and forth and inspiring one another. What comes out is truly art. It's unique. It's at a higher level than if it's done individually and it’s moving,” says Mark.

At no point are the sections of the orchestra working in competition with one another. It’s not about who is best or who is the winner; it’s about working together to create a higher-level experience. aileron blogclick to tweet.png

“When musicians come together, there's a blending of that sound and there is a reaction of each of the musicians to one another. It's about pace and timing and it's about collaboration,” adds Mark. Just think about how jazz relies on individual craft but also improvisation, quick decision-making, and overall collaboration and cohesiveness.Symphony.jpg

“The entire piece of music is what is consumed. It's performed by the team,” says Mark. “Individually, if I miss-play my part, it will likely be heard. I'm individually accountable to the work, to the music, to the team.”

The conductor is setting the pace and the outcome is an aggregated, creative harmony. And that’s when you experience music on multiple levels: physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Help Your People Do Their Best Work

Like a conductor, you’re tasked with shaping an environment that encourages your people to do their best work. At the 2-day Course for Presidents you can discover proven tools and principles to help you strengthen and advance your business. The system you’ll learn will help you manage and develop your people, generate a strategic focus, enhance your operations, and promote accountability. After the course, you'll work one-on-one with a Business Advisor to help you apply the principles successfully. 

Learn More About the Course for Presidents

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

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