Founder: International Management Group
Author: What They Don't Teach You in Harvard Business School
Listed: 95 Forbes Rich List at worth $500 million ($750 m Aust)
By Mark McCormick
Because of my association with champion athletes, people often ask me if a competitive streak on the playing field helps you in business. I prefer to divide the question into two answers: one for ordinary atheletes, another for the elite.
I think business people who are atheletes in high school, and continue to compete informally as adults usually derive a benefit in their business behaviour. Whether it means winnning a point or winning a sale, they seem to have discipline, stamina and courage to come out on top. They also mesh well within an organisation. People who competed in team sports such as football or basketball are particularly effective in corporate hierachy. They're team players who know instinctively when to obey the rules and when to bend them.
Major sports personalities - professionals, world-class champions - are a different story. The reason? They have no business patience. They're used to instant results. They play a tennis match and know whether they've won or lost three hours later. They get instant adulation every time they sink a outt or put the ball through the hoop. That sort of quick score and automatic applause is usually missing in the business world. In business, patience and an eye to the long term are more highly prized skills.
On the same subject, I'm often asked what qualities I admire in the champion athletes I.M.G. represents and how those qualities translate into business success.
Here are five winning attributes:
- Arnold Palmer's Honesty and Integrity
Arnold was playing in a Pro-Am on a water soaked course and was allowed to take a new putting position to avoid putting through water. Arnold always placed his putt further from the hole than was necessary, and on quizzing him, he told me; "If one peron in the gallery thought I was taking advantage of the situatio, then the putt wouldn't be worth it."
- Chris Evert's Mental Toughness.
She has a tremendous discipline and can keep her mind focused on a situation without letting emotion interfere. She does this on the tennis court and off. You always know where you stand with her.
- Bjorn's Borg's Stubborness.
Bjorn is stubborn in a healthy way. Once he makes up his mind to win a point or a match, he usually succeeds.
- Gary Player's Thoughfulness.
Gary is a genuinely nice person who always goes out of his way, even under the most trying condtions, to say something positive. His sensitivity to people's feelings and that talent for making them feel comfortable is priceless.
- Jack Niclaus's Maturity.
Jack has been successful from a very early age. He believed in his twenties that he could win in business as easily as he won in golf. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. Jack made some costly decisions.
But since then, he has learned to be a businessman, to delegate, to hire experts who know more about specific business opportunites than he does. That's a very mature and profitable attitude.
- Wayne Mansfield