Give your business a sporting chance to succeed

Give your business a sporting chance to succeed

4th July 2019

In recent years, the world of elite sport has been getting more business-like – especially off the pitch – but there are still plenty of things that businesses can learn from elite sport, including in risk management.

This was the thrust of the speech by Trystan Bevan, performance coordinator at Wasps Rugby – who of course play their home matches at the Ricoh Arena – delivered, in association with Gallagher, which provides insurance, risk management and consulting and sponsor the Rugby Union Premiership at the Made in the Midlands Expo on June 20.

He focused on the parallels between managing risk in elite professional sport and in business. He homed in on four areas: stay healthy and injury free, cope with the unexpected, adapt to changing demands and trends and challenge competitors over a sustained period.

Looking at how he manages his squad of players, Trystan explained that, when injuries come – and they do – it is then about looking at risk management. For instance, there are occasions when academy players must be drafted into the squad, so you have to look at how well trained and prepared they are to make the step up, and whether they are prepared for that – and if they are prepared to represent the club and its values and deal with the pressure of playing for the first team.

Effectively, all processes from CPD to recruitment and succession planning are under the spotlight at this point.

Worst-case scenarios also come into it. Again, for instance, if all the playmakers in the squad are injured, are there any other players in the squad who could have the skill set to deliver in that position?

Risk management through preventative interventions – understanding what needs to be changed and understanding what can be changed – can also help to keep a team, or a business, ahead of the competition.

In sport, exceptions become trends, then become norms and finally become expected. For instance, every year in the Rugby Union Premiership, running distances during matches and the muscle mass of players increases by 3-5%. Standards are constantly being pushed forwards, and this needs to be done in business too.

Adapting to change is something that is seen in players. In a contact sport like rugby union, smaller players must adapt to survive and find strategies to avoid contact – otherwise they would likely come off second best. Again, the analogy holds for business – especially something like manufacturing – adapting products and working processes for example can help a business to survive.

Also, like the best sports teams, businesses need to acknowledge and embrace changing demands and be adaptable to take advantage of them.

By doing this, they can then challenge competitors over a sustained period and ensure that they don’t just survive but thrive.


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