10 Ways they share more than what happens on the playing field


Sports and business may seem like entirely different domains, one filled with athletes in figure hugging tech wear and the other wearing executive suits, but a closer look reveals striking similarities between the two. Both arenas require strategy, teamwork, determination, and the pursuit of excellence.

In this blog, we will explore how sports and business share common traits that make them more alike than you might think.

So as the Rugby World Cup comes to an end let’s think of all the major sporting events that have taken place over the last 12 months or are still to happen.

We’ve had the amazing story of the Men’s Football World Cup (Lionel Messi is the G.O.A.T.), the rise of the Women’s equivalent, World Athletics Championships, World Cycling Championships, Golfing majors, Ryder & Solheim Cups, Tennis Grand slams, and a host of others, all with participants striving to produce their very best performances exactly when it matters.

Whether you follow sport or not, watching people produce their best performances, sharing the ups and the downs of their journey can readily be applied to business and the 2 worlds share many common attributes.

So here are my top 10 common qualities detailing the commonalities between businesses and the sporting world, and maybe we can learn from each other.


1. Goal-Oriented
In both sports and business, setting and achieving goals is paramount. Athletes set smart goals to win championships, break records, and perform at their best. Similarly, businesses set actionable objectives to increase revenue, expand market share, or launch new innovative products. In both cases, success hinges on clear, well-defined goals and the ability to focus on the relentless pursuit of them.

2. Strategy and Planning
Sports teams and businesses both rely heavily on strategy and planning to succeed. Coaches devise game plans, while business leaders create marketing, financial, and operational strategies. Both require analysing opponents or competitors, adapting to changing conditions, and making split-second decisions.

3. Teamwork
Teamwork is a fundamental aspect of sports and business. In sports, athletes must cooperate, communicate, and trust their teammates to achieve a common goal. Similarly, businesses require collaboration among employees, departments, and even with external partners. Success often hinges on how well teams work together.

4. Competition
Competition is at the core of both sports and business. Athletes compete against opponents to be the best in their sport, while businesses compete to capture market share and outperform rivals. The drive to excel and surpass others is a common thread linking these two realms.

5. Leadership
Effective leadership is essential in both sports and business. Coaches guide and inspire athletes, captains lead their teams on the field, while business leaders set the vision, provide direction, and motivate their teams. Leadership qualities such as decision-making, communication, and resilience are critical for success in both realms.

6. Development and Learning
To build muscle memory an athlete will practice their skills over and over and over again until they are embedded in their physique and become instinctive. In a similar way businesses will use systems and create processes to give their operations consistency and an edge over their competitors, taking the stress out of daily activities and enabling growth.

7. Performance Metrics
Both sports and business rely on performance metrics to track progress and success. Athletes have statistics like points scored, goals, and assists, while businesses monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue, profit margins, and customer satisfaction. These metrics help identify areas for improvement and guide decision-making.

8. Innovation
Innovation drives progress in both sports and business. Athletes constantly seek to improve their techniques, training methods, and equipment to gain a competitive edge. Similarly, businesses must innovate to stay ahead of the curve, whether through product development, process improvements, or adopting emerging technologies.

9. Adaptation to Change
Adaptability is a shared trait between sports and business. Athletes must adjust to different opponents, playing conditions, and rule changes. Likewise, businesses must adapt to shifts in market dynamics, consumer preferences, and technological advancements. Those who can’t adapt are often left behind.

10. Branding
Believe it or not athletes are brands. They are the faces of their sport, be it a Usain Bolt pose, Roger Federer and Lionel Messi brilliance or the All Blacks rugby team. They all have a brand with values and a vision.


11. Resilience
Athletics can pick up injuries regularly that can set them back weeks or even months, or their performance drops below their expectations. They develop resilience to learn from these situations just as business owners learn from their mistakes what increases business and what doesn’t. If you get knocked over, understand why, so you can get back up and be stronger.


While sports and business may seem like distant cousins, they are more closely related than meets the eye. Both rely on goal setting, strategy, teamwork, competition, leadership, performance metrics, innovation, and adaptability to thrive. These shared attributes highlight the natural relationship between the world of sports and the world of business.

Whether you’re on the field or in the boardroom, the principles of success remain remarkably consistent. So, the next time you watch a thrilling sports match or attend a business meeting, remember that the two worlds are not as different as they may appear.

Enjoy your sport, and your business.



Sheona White is the founder and Managing Director at Trent Business Process Management where she helps businesses to work better and smarter, one process at a time.

You can contact her to talk more about your business by using the form below or book yourself in for a chat at https://bit.ly/3wnjpyL