That was the first year of Business Game time. On the last Monday of November 2009, I started this blog with the idea to translate and compare things I notice in the world of sports to the business context. Even after one year of writing here, it still is a joy and never became boring. Also, I still haven’t found another blog with a similar concept.
Thank you for your support during this first year, for the feedback and the ideas you gave me.
Based on this feedback, I noticed that the usual approach in my posts is to go from sports to business, and that the sports part is probably the catchier one. Therefore, kind of as my birthday gift to you, I decided to go the other way around this time.
Today and in my next post, I will link to all 103 blog entries from the first year, but I will do so based on the main business related message or topic of the post. So you may be surprised what sports context you can discover when clicking on the links (any part of the post in blue color is a clickable link).
I grouped the posts by sport and topic. Today you will find all posts based on soccer, baseball or basketball. In three days from now I will come back with the rest, i.e. the other sports. I hope you’ll enjoy it. So here we go:
Soccer vs. Management and Entrepreneurship
Probably the most outstanding post in this category came during the World Cup: A comparison of fashions in management strategies to soccer tactics fashions. Other more theoretical posts looked at topics like Stakeholder Theory, Due Diligence and risk, which is not always a bad thing.
On the modes of working together, I looked at the importance of communication and supporting each other and discussed how less planning and more trust in the people can safe resources and motivate.
Finally, one of my favorite topics, the improvement of meetings and presentations, was addressed with a post giving five tips on how to make presentations nice looking and effective and one on the “22 minute meeting” and moving the half time up.
Baseball and Basketball vs. Management and Entrepreneurship
Soccer vs. Human Resources and Leadership
Working in teams, building high performance teams and accepting people that are different were my main topics in this area.
The classic approach to Team Building (forming, storming, norming, performing) was discussed as well as how to take pressure off the team as a leader. A collaborative style of leadership is the way to go as the times of the lonely, egocentric leaders are over. I added some rather unusual ideas on recognition and incentives as well as on “business training camps”.
Baseball and Basketball vs. Human Resources and Leadership
Building on what I just mentioned, I analyzed how building a team of “castoffs or misfits” can lead to success and revisited the value of showing support to your team. The vision was a style of leadership based on trust, focus and expertise.
Soccer vs. Marketing
It’s a great time to think about marketing, as the interaction between companies and customers has never been more intense and because a lot of the rules of the game are changing.
In marketing communications, the old broadcasting model is dying while the business models of the likes of Facebook and Twitter are successful. In this world of social media and quick interaction, customers are becoming part of the products and take control. In an environment like this, even giving away false information on purpose can support a successful product launch.
But that doesn’t mean that all marketing basics are irrelevant: Making a product stand out is still important and so is building customer loyalty. This lead to a post about consumer insights, marketing misconceptions and why partnering is good.
Let’s use the insights you get “into” your customers. Choose wisely if you want to satisfy the customers by adding costly options or not, or even choose your customers.
Also I reviewed one of the most inspiring marketing books of the year, Sally Hogshead’s Fascinate, in a pretty unique way, so that even the author called it a “great post” and “brilliantly written”.
Baseball and Basketball vs. Marketing
Again, some seemingly counterintuitive marketing approaches were discussed, e.g. how to deal with market entry barriers by breaking market rules or how selling less may be successful.
Another interesting question was how you can expect your customers to show belief in your product if you don’t? So be confident and tell your customers that you want to earn money.
To finish this topic off, one of my most reviewed posts of this year was about branding – and what some people think branding would be (but isn’t).
Soccer vs. Personal Behavior and Attitude
Getting back to book reviews, Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” was also on my list: The special ones rule! Also, Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project findings suggested not to let yourself off the hook when you’re down – a good advice, as optimism and hard work can get you anywhere. Still, failure and mistakes happen, but if you try your best there’s nothing you can be blamed for. The theory of the “Five Stages of Grief” may also help in this context.
There were also a lot of ideas on how to challenge the treadmill we’re in every day. Playing is one of them, and it’s more serious stuff than most think, as it means trying out new approaches and taking some risks. And if you don’t find a way, stop improving the details, challenge what you believe in. We have to get over our stubbornness, to stop internal fights and try to use the opportunities that are around us, even if they come from unusual situations.
The attitude decides. Knowing that motivation is temporary and inspiration is permanent, building on your strengths and managing around your weaknesses may be a key to success.
Baseball and Basketball vs. Personal Behavior and Attitude
What is success? A wise man who died mid of the year put it like this (shortened): Do the best of which you’re capable, don’t worry about others and be patient. And if others will provoke you, respond to it right. For getting there, the right focus is vital. Don’t complain, just do a good job.
Yet, keeping the balance pays, as if you take it too serious, you have already lost your personal game, as at a certain points someone else will outplay you with creativity and chutzpa.
Soccer vs. Creativity and Innovation
Baseball and Basketball vs. Creativity and Innovation
To finish off this first part, here’s a basic rule for all innovation related activities: Don’t be afraid of what you could lose, but eager to see what they could win.
To be continued… Please make sure you come back for the second part.