At its face value, the linkage between boxing and employee performance may not seem plausible; it may even seem quite a bit silly. However, I cannot help but notice when a lesson from an old mentor or coach seems to bubble to the surface of day to day business operations. This is especially true in the terms of employee behavior and performance, and I very often find myself using the same words that were said to me in my youth.
Performance Vs. Outcome
Any person, regardless of their level of historical boxing knowledge can name at least one significant boxing match. It may be Sugar Ray v. Jake Lamotta, or Muhammed Ali v. George Foreman, or it could even be the most recent Golovkin v. Alvarez. The one thing each of these bouts have in common is that each participant performed at an optimal level, resulting in an exciting exchange. Additionally, while the average person may know of these bouts, there is a good chance that they do not know who won the bout, just that the performance was legendary. As managers, we tend to look at things strictly from the perspective of a project or processes’ outcome and try to learn from the end result. We as managers should instead be doing the contrary and asking the following questions concerning the performance aspect:
Did anything specific contribute to the success/failure?
Who was involved and who should have been involved/excluded?
Did I observe anything about strengths, weaknesses, communication, or team dynamics?
Is there any individual or component we should reward/re-evaluate for their contribution to the success/failure?
Preparation can determine the outcome
Almost every time a bout ends via “Huge Upset,” or “Underdog Success Story,” it can usually be attributed to poor planning or preparation. Perhaps, the fighter was having difficulty moving down to the agreed upon weight and had to dehydrate themselves prior to the fight. Maybe, the marketing and promotional obligations left very little time for the fighter to maintain a consistent training camp. Perhaps, the fighter had difficulty staying focused on the task at hand while trying to balance training with socializing and vices. As managers, we should be asking the following questions during the planning phase of any undertaking:
Are the project milestones challenging, but also achievable?
Are we successfully removing any unnecessary distractions or obstacles?
Are we allocating enough resources for the task to be achievable?
Is the personnel involved adequately trained or is a schedule in place to get them there?
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Michael Chiovitti, Chief Talent Strategist
Eden Resources, LLC