I’ve always thought that there were valuable life lessons that you could learn from sports, and I think that there are business lessons that can be learned from sports as well. I’ve always enjoyed playing sports; so much so that I’d rather play than watch them on TV. As I got older I did what every player does when they can’t play anymore, I started coaching. I’ve been coaching basketball for about 10 years now and it’s taught me a lot. I’ve learned from the players I’ve coached and from the experience in general.
To everyone who has asked me about coaching I’ve always said that the moment that I’m not willing to learn is the moment that I should stop. The teams that I coach are constantly changing. The players change, there could be new players or the existing ones get better or get worse. The competition changes too, as does the game of basketball itself. With all of these changes a coach needs to constantly adapt and make adjustments. These adaptations and adjustments happen through learning and so I try to learn from the best. I’ll watch who I feel are the best basketball coaches’ games on TV and whatever instructional DVD’s they produce. I’ll do my best to absorb as much as possible from these successful coaches and apply what I learn to my teams. This is absolutely necessary if my teams are to continue to be successful!
Management in any business needs to be constantly learning as well, and things change much more rapidly and frequently in business than they do in basketball. Strategies and technology will not sit and wait for you to catch up; they will both continue to move on with or without you. Take social media for example, it’s sad to hear people still ask what Facebook is, or how Google+ works, misspeak and refer to Twitter as “Tweeter”, confuse the difference between a blog and a forum, and even say that “maybe social media is going away”. My feeling is that even if you personally don’t like social media you must understand what it is and be familiar with it.
At the end of the day, if managers are the decision makers of the business, they need to familiar and up to date with current technologies and strategies. Being surrounded by knowledgeable and capable employees is a good thing, being unfamiliar with current technologies and strategies that those capable employees are recommending is not a good thing. Constantly doing things the way they were done in the past because they refuse to learn anything new does not bode well for the future of the business.
Always be willing to learn, it’s the best way to give yourself the ability to make adjustments for the future.
What are your thoughts on management keeping up with current trends, strategies, and technology? Do you feel that it’s their responsibility to the business to be familiar with these things?