Who’s in your corner?

It’s been an interesting few days and I’ve been reflecting on their relevance to what we do in business. Let me explain.

On Saturday evening, I attended the University of Dundee‘s Christmas Lecture. This year’s speaker was Dr Niall Elliot, Chief Medical Officer to Team GB at the last couple of Olympic Games and Head of Medicine at sportscotland. Dr Niall spoke about his work for around 20 minutes, then was interviewed on stage by adventurer Mark Beaumont. It was a fascinating event, more of which shortly.

Then this evening I went to see my sports massage therapist, Tracey Taylor, for my monthly sports massage. As a competitive cyclist, I’ve been going for a sports massage every four weeks since 2008. It’s an essential part of my routine, always during my recovery week, and it helps me to cope with the training load that I place on my body.

Dr Niall talked about the variety of medical support that elite athletes receive, all of which is intended to get them to the start line in the best possible condition. That support extends beyond the obvious to things like analysing how their bodies respond to travel, mental health support, and much more.

He also spoke about the advances in wearable technologies that are enabling new ways to support athletes. Things like contact lenses that can monitor and sense changes in essential levels that they then send by bluetooth to an app. The future is upon us!

And it got me thinking – what do we do in business to make sure that we’re in top condition for the demands placed upon us? How many of us even have a coach, never mind the handful of coaches that will support an elite sportsperson like Andy Murray (at least 5 people)?

Why don’t we approach business like sport? I know that even at my limited level, I’ve been able to maximise my potential as a cyclist by having a team in my corner to help with things like training, nutrition, strength & conditioning, psychology, and physiology.

Have I ever had a team like that around me in business? The best I can do is to tell you that over the years I’ve had a couple of ‘mentors’ – people I would meet with at regular intervals to bounce things off. But that’s it. And yet in sport, which is a hobby, I’ve had up to 5 people helping me be the best I can be. That’s crazy!

What about you? Who’s in your corner? Or are you like most of us and trying to figure it out as you go along?

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