“You have to be prepared to put yourself in harm’s way” – David Wessels
I had the pleasure of attending a dinner a week or so ago. The speaker was David Wessels, the coach of the Melbourne Rebels who seem to have begun a transformation under his coaching.
He talked about the changes he has made at the Rebels, especially in the fitness and in the gruelling training that the team has to go through and, what were his plans and expectations of many of the players. In many respects I felt I was listening not only to a professional sports coach, but to someone who would be just as comfortable in helping a business to turn around.
There has always been a crossover between business and sport psychology, as well as a crossover between military and business strategy. A lot of the books regarding sports and business and military and business strategy have been about turning around multi nationals and often don’t seem to relate to a small family.
When David talked about what players need to do and said “you have to be prepared to put yourself in harm’s way”, he was really talking to the small business operator, who has to contract with big companies, hope they will get paid for a job, take a risk in changing market, and simply be in harm’s way all too often.
I guess there is a difference when spending marketing money as you don’t have to be tackled hard by a big second rower – but when it happens the effect can feel the same (although one has less bruises). In rugby you need to protect yourself when taking a physical risk and this concept of protection also applies in business when you are taking a financial risk.
A rugby player trains, David said that he has increased what was previously a 13 km run up to a 25 km run. In business you need to train, learn about money and how it works, keep studying your market and always keep the business financially fit.
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