Three Principles Athletes Can Teach Business Leaders – Jillian Heddaeus, CMP, IOM, Partners in Association Management

Several times each day I transition back and forth from being an athlete and business leader.  While each comes with its own set of goals, tasks and challenges; the process used to work through them is the same.  As an athlete, I want to WIN; as a business leader, I want SUCCESS. Below are three principles to use to help your team achieve success.

  1. Keep Your Head in the Game– Elite athletes are able to block out tremendous distractions under pressure. Distractions can arise during both preparation and performance for competitions as well as daily challenges in your professional career. It is important to keep your team focused on the task at hand and the end goal.
  2. Work On Weaknesses– As a leader or elite athlete you want to succeed. As humans we are quick to point out our strengths, but not our weaknesses.  As important as your individual or teams strengths are, it is likely that your weaknesses are keeping you and your team from getting to the next level.  Take the time to do research on your areas of weakness.  Attend professional development opportunities on these topics to broaden your knowledge.  Practice makes permanent and as the saying goes, a team is only as strong as their weakest player.
  3. Rebound– Not all races go as planned. Whether the challenges were in or out of your control, you must rebound.  Use the time before your next performance to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and get back on the line. This Forbes article talks about how to get over the fear of failure and how athletes have something to share.

All in all, stay focused on the goal. Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone to better prepare yourself for the challenge and always look to ways you can better prepare yourself and your team in the future.

Photo credit: Herb Wills

Jillian Heddaeus, CMP, IOM, Vice President, Partners in Association Management

Jillian holds over 15 years’ experience in association and organizational management. She works in the capacity as an executive director for both state and national associations and specializes in financial and information management. She is a graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management at the University of Georgia. She previously served on the board of the Tallahassee Society of Association Executives and is a previous winner of the “Association Professional of the Year” from TSAE. Jillian holds a B.S. degree in Information Systems from The Florida State University. Fun Fact(s): Outside of work, Jillian spends the majority of her time training for running and triathlons, working in the yard and watching golf.