Entrepreneurs, learning from sport, and the importance of culture.

One development which has caught EP by surprise in recent weeks and months has been the call from many for the return of the promotion on entrepreneurs, for the advocacy for what can be learnt from sports players and for the importance of internal cultures.

All the above have been major initiatives which EP has led over the last decade and sometimes it was asked, quite frequently, if we were trying to push water uphill? Interestingly, a number of leaders in recent months have come forward and noted that the themes were correct; the question was far more if the businesses were able and wanting to make change.

Our view, through the pandemic, was that these themes were probably dormant as companies rebuilt their cash and trading positons but interestingly, the view is that now is the time for change as the rebuilding is in full flow and seemingly going well.

The observations made, and for your consideration too, include:

  • It is important that companies do possess their own innovation centres and create an access to entrepreneurial ideas. No company has all the answers and it is well proven that those who believe that do, are clearly neither listening nor innovative.
  • As has been noted recently, any leadership team which believes it has the answers it is not listening. This is one of the leading points behind the discussion around sports players as many noted the humility of top sports players and their understanding in the importance of team work, communication, friendship and humility at all times. It is understood why companies struggle to engage sports players into their businesses but no few have noted that they should; that those who opposed bringing in fresh ideas and thinking were the ones in the wrong. It has been noted that there is much we can learn from the world of sport and business could be the better for it.
  • The same leading points were noted when it comes to culture too. People want value-led organisations and cultures which provide a psychologically safe place in which to work and learn. The fall in productivity gave all a warning light that things were not right so why was EP a relatively lone voice in discussing this issue?

Place all three facts together, and many have expressed the view that business would gain from bringing together innovation, lessons from sport and stronger value led cultures which build teams.

It is arguably more relevant today as more companies are wanting to create high performance environments. This, by its very nature, requires people and teams possessing the confidence to take risks, especially in a knowledge-intensive world. It means freeing up talent such as happens in sport and with innovators. What can be learnt?

The argument is that a fearless organization is one that provides psychological safety. In a workplace, psychological safety is the belief that the environment is safe for interpersonal risk taking. People feel able to speak up when needed — with relevant ideas, questions, or concerns — without being shut down in a gratuitous way. Psychological safety is present when colleagues trust and respect each other and feel able, even obligated, to be candid.

Not many organisations did act in this way.

So would you be interested:

  • In having your own innovation forum or access to entrepreneurs?
  • Would you support, partner with or invest in entrepreneurs?
  • Would you bring in a high performance sports player to help develop new practices and thinking in the business?

If you would like to discuss, then please always feel free to reach out as others are.