Mission versus margin

It’s been a mixed week for both business and sport:

°          news of Mainzeal’s demise was countered by Ceres NZ’s intention to invest in what’s considered to be valuable assets

°          Last weekend in NZ sport, the high of the NZ Breakers’ thumping of the Perth Wild Cats was countered by the unceremonious dumping of the NZ Sevens team by Kenya (of all teams) from the Wellington 7s tournament.

While we’re back on a winning streak in the early games of the Las Vegas leg of this tournament (and have increased our overall lead in the Championship series) it is clear that complacency has no place in this outfit. Iconic NZ Sevens Coach Gordon Tietjens said when interviewed after that loss that the guys were wearing GPS during that Kenyan game recording their speed for next week’s training. There aren’t many who can survive a Tietjens’ training session, reported to be tougher than any actual game.

NZ Breakers’ Dylan Boucher said there is a world of difference between this team that thumped the Wild Cats and the Breakers team of old. While the old Breakers team produced some spectacular results, they were inconsistent. He said: “We underestimated the level of professionalism and dedication required to win at this level.”

Since then, this team has dug deep and built the character of which winners are made, winning two consecutive championships in the Australian comp.

This is the same in any endeavour. Carving character and applying this to relentless training and practice develops the ability to win under competitive pressure. Once you have a reputation of being a winner (after the numbers stack up) money comes out of the woodwork (whether it be financiers or sponsors).

New U.S. Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, shared a key lesson from her years in business this week: “You can’t have mission without margin.”

A universal theme – for both business and sport – is it’s hard to keep going without a healthy (and growing) bottom-line. But the demise of Mainzeal is a warning about bottom-line at the expense of quality and risk management (checks and balances). Mainzeal’s motto – Building Certainty – is the mission. Delivering on the promise is the competitive challenge and winning success formula. (The latest fines imposed on international banking giants is testament to this as the fallout from the Libor debacle continues.)

Those who aspire to win need to frequently remind players of the expectations of fans and sponsors, focus them on the winning actions, develop mastery through ongoing skill drills and practice opportunities and expand people’s awareness about what to change to get further more quickly.

In business, are coaches and business leaders truly doing what is needed?

Those who continuously make their players more valuable (and value-adding) than the rest will see the right margin on the scoreboard…..the kind that attracts the right kind of attention (and investment.)


About Cherri Holland

Fascinated with business, brains and how to use the brains on the payroll to make business buzz.
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