Work-life balance can be a daily battle for any business owner, with work inevitably infiltrating into everyday life if not kept in check. Although this can be wearisome for even the most dedicated business owner, there is a silver lining: there are many valuable lessons about business which can be learned from outside the white-collar world.

The world of sports

all blacks haka

Leadership, teamwork, communication and diversity – it’s easy to see the relevant similarities between sport and business. Graham Henry (former All Blacks coach), wrote: “Whether it’s a business environment or a sporting environment, it’s about developing people. So, if you develop your people, your business is going to be more successful. It’s just a matter of creating an environment where that becomes a happening every day.”

This is an applicable concept when it comes to recruitment in your business. Professional sports teams not only select based on skill, but also on character. It’s essential to have someone fit your team in personality and behaviour; then you can always upskill through training.

Adapt or Die

spotify on laptop

If there’s one industry that’s been subject to immense upheaval with recent technological advancement, it’s the world of music. It was quickly apparent in the late ‘90’s that the industry was starting to crash financially due to options with internet piracy. Streaming platforms such as Napster arrived, then eventually Spotify came onto the scene in 2008, creating a business model that’s slowly increasing the revenue of the music industry again. Musicians have had to jump on board the technology bandwagon or risk not being heard at all.

What’s the lessons here? Adaptation in business is key, particularly around technology. Embrace the developments and use change as your advantage to stay relevant and competitive in your industry.

Looking Further Afield

It can be intriguing and very worthwhile to research business in other cultures, notably the Japanese concept of ‘kaizen’. Kaizen is translated as ‘improvement’ or ‘change for better’. The model was introduced after World War II, but became particularly well-known when adopted by Toyota as ‘The Toyota Way’.

Kaizen is a practice of continuous improvement; the approach that small, regular changes implemented across all levels of a company will have a positive overall effect. Kaizen involves all employees and management from the CEO through to line workers, so workers feel respected and empowered, with a focus on solid team culture and communication.

Learn More About Kaizen (mindtools.com)

Whether it’s sports, music or overseas culture that inspires change within your business, there are lessons to be learned all around us. There are some fantastic business mentors out there who come from many different industries and backgrounds – could it be worth researching for the continuous improvement of your business?