Business Champion Athlete – The Myth and the Reality about Leadership

Business and professional excellence is quite similar to athletic excellence and championship.

There is a trend worldwide to misdirect intentionally (people like to hear what they like) or unintentionally (ignorance) toward ineffective practice especially by managers, leaders and coaches.

Being an athlete (not top rated. Wasn’t my passion) in basketball as well as a business implementation consultant in the last 25 years (that’s my passion), I have had the pleasure to practice with top rated basketball players who made it to the NBA and also to work with top rated performers at all positions in companies from C- Executives to front liners in almost every part of the globe. And I mean I work with them not just met them in a conference or seminar. I have identified more similarities than differences between top rated athletes and highly effective professionals in business.

Coaches of athletes train them to their limits. They ask from them to do even impossible things over and over again until they throw up. They push them hard to their limits. They are often harsh with their athletes.

The exact same thing do high performance Managers/ Leaders. They push people to their limits until they have an out of body experience. They smash them so hard that they often hate their Managers/ Leaders. But they do it responsibly and with care. When their people fail and they will often do, they first take up on their shoulders the responsibility of their people’s failure. After each hard and exhaustive physically, emotionally practice, they give them a hug, acknowledge the effort and then they start all over again.

Because high performance like championship is struggle, endurance, fear, sustainability.

And Leadership is often a lonely choice because people at the beginning they don’t understand the greater purpose. They cannot distinguish between what’s good vs what’s right. Some people never do. They are those who have chosen mediocrity. Great leaders do not continue working with them after they have tried.

The rest I leave it with those who don’t like the truth and perform at shallow waters. Every now and then, take their dose of nicely put words about leadership (the one side of the coin), so called motivational quotes, and create the illusion that suddenly will become high performers and great leaders. Then, after the effect of the dose goes away, they take the next one and the next one while high performers keep working hard and great Leaders continue pushing them to their limits and beyond to break records and become champions in whatever they pursue.

Yiannakis Mouzouris
B.Sc. Mech. Eng., M.Sc. Mgt
Business Consultant / Trainer
Performance Management Specialist

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