Great read: Stop Comparing Management to Sports

A bit of a sidestep content-wise, but this piece by Freek Vermeulen is too good to not to share.

This is the problem he addresses:

Often, when I’m asked to give a speech on strategy at some company event or conference, I find that one of the other speakers is a former professional sports player. In that capacity, I’ve happily attended the talks – with much interest – of a famous ice-hockey and a famous table tennis player, some rowers, and a freeskier; I’ve listened to the fascinating tales of a professional BASE jumper whose parachute failed, someone who walked to the North Pole unaided, an Olympic athlete, and a championship-winning golfer. Invariably, they offer tantalizing stories of commitment, perseverance, and the sweet joy of winning. (Some talks go even further, comparing business to war – I’ve accordingly witnessed rousing speeches on Lanchester strategy and from retired generals on how to overcome the enemy.)

The message for managers is clear: this is the way to outcompete your business rivals; these are the traits that will bring you and your company commercial victory. Although there is nothing wrong with commitment and perseverance, I, however, think sport (much less war) is often an unhelpful analogy. Good management is not like a competitive sport. And managing your company as if it is, can lead your business astray – or at least create a mighty corporate mess.

Read the full text here why.

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