By Amanda Khoza, Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion, Liberty Group
Life demands so much of us, we’re constantly performing, pleasing others and busy with stuff. Is it any reason, therefore, that we find ourselves so tired, depleted from doing our long list of to-dos, meetings to attend, deadlines to meet. We are enslaved to the other side, the other person, the competitor, the client, the customer; living in fear to secure acceptance, the deal, the market share, the sale, some semblance of happiness. When we start a business, the ‘busyness’ consumes us creating a constant avalanche of activity and expectation of high performance, and if we don’t take a break, we will start to underperform. Most performances have an interlude, a break, half-time, an interval, an intermission.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with almost half the world’s population watching or being committed fans. It is also one of the most lucrative. The highest paid sportsman in the world is in soccer raking in $93 million in one year; whilst in China they have recruited coaches and are top payers at $144 million, an almost paltry sum to the highest paid sitting in the English Premier League at $288 million per annum. By the end of August, English Premier League clubs had spent a record-breaking figure in excess of £1.4 billion in the transfer window. These great sums for 90 minutes of high performance are split multiple ways towards the preparation, the expertise, the training, and the coaching. Integral then to the return on investment is the pep-talk to the players to deliver, and those halftime moments are critical once the game has started.
It is sometimes said that half-time is necessary to reduce the wind and slope advantage that the opposing team may have had, or simply a time to rest. Entrepreneurs can gain a lot of insights from the half-time anecdotes coaches give to their teams during this pause in the game. As a business-owner, your ‘game’ may be a month, a quarter or a year; a period in which you will need to determine when your first half performance will be. As owner you will need to choose your half-time to be timeous, opportune, optimized and effective. Half-time coaching is also not a guarantee that things will turn around when the first half has been a challenge, but it will give your ‘busyness’ some reprieve and sobering relief. Remember, busyness is not an attestation of good business.
So what 3 things can half-time teach the entrepreneur:
- First half injuries need to be attended to and sometimes players need to be substituted. In your business you may need to reassign resources to finish off the project.
- A review of the second half may lead to criticism or encouragement to continue differently or better. Business reviews allow you to reassess strategy and tactics and to make changes where necessary.
- Play is more than physical, therefore checking in on the mental game can propel the game in the direction intended and expected. The artefacts of business are the tangible deliverables but it may be necessary to connect culturally, strategically and mentally with your client to swing current reviews and future business in your favour.
Half-time allows you to triage your commitments – decide what you need to reprioritize, reassign and reschedule. It is your moment to rally the team to best present, participate and perform in the game. Importantly, as business owner you needn’t be player, referee, coach, assistant coach and technical team in one; you may need to make a ‘critic’s’ investment to take your game to the next level. An independent business coach can help open your eyes to the game’s highlights, unbiased analysis and competitor advantages. This is helpful when you are player and referee in a game, as you may be sensitive to your unconscious blind spots. Like in soccer, it is not just the coach that helps the team win; there are many performers on and off the field.
Once half-time is over, the team needs to get back on the field. Scores are not counted in the locker-room. You have to be in the game to win it. Whilst half-time was an opportunity for spectators to be entertained, refill on snacks and refresh themselves; they have paid for a full game and expect a performance worthy of their payment for it. Beyond the regrouping moment, show up, shape up and play the second half like it’s your last. Aim to outperform your last one. You are as good as your last performance and you know you can better that act.
Amanda Khoza is the Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion at Liberty Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a passionate advocate for economic empowerment, financial literacy, and believes in the power of entrepreneurship to make real and lasting societal change happen on the African continent. Amanda is championing a host of initiatives for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, including partnering with Lionesses of Africa on the Lioness Lean In Liberty Sessions programme for intrapreneurs at Liberty, supporting The Mix newsletter each month as an impact partner, and joining with Standard Bank as the impact partners for the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator programme series in Johannesburg.
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