This Week’s Focus: If you’re a football fan I’m sure you’ve been watching this season’s Premier League with fascination. After just avoiding relegation last year, Leicester City have become the favourites to win the league. Of course, everyone is expecting them to trip up at some point, but it seems that their main rivals – Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City – are just as likely to blow their own chances of success with bad performances and results at crucial time.
One of the most interesting aspects of watching sport is observing how players respond to pressure. The prospect of winning seems to overwhelm some players, such that they change their behaviour and try to avoid losing, rather than welcoming and exploiting the chance of success.
Some golfers get the ‘yips’ on the putting greens of the major competitions, tennis players can ‘choke’ on key service points and football teams can also throw away seemingly unbeatable leads (Don’t talk to me about England’s track record in penalty shoot outs!).
There are similar behaviours in business. Some teams and organisations thrive on new opportunities to grow, while others simply want to make sure that they don’t fail, even if this means they miss out on a bigger prize. And, as with football, it’s not simply a matter of financial risk that drives managers’ decisions, but equally, if not more, an issue of self-belief, confidence and commitment.
Time will tell which of the leading teams in the Premier League will find a way to thrive rather than collapse under the pressure, but how about your team or organisation? Do you look for ways to win and succeed when the big prize is up for grabs, or do you play safe and look for ways to avoid losing?
Off The Record: Lose Yourself by Eminem
Look, if you had one shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?
© Stuart Cross 2016. All rights reserved.