Carole White: Innovation makes the difference

The football season is upon us once more, bringing with it highly charged exchanges, emotion and excitement

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Sir Alex Ferguson lifts the Premier League trophy
Sir Alex Ferguson lifts the Premier League trophy

The football season is upon us once more, bringing with it highly charged exchanges, emotion and excitement. Clearly football along with many other sports, is big business.

The spectrum of teams in the various football leagues provide a strong and relevant analogy of the way leaders and decision makers manage in different ways to achieve success to varying extents.

Take for example the recently retired Sir Alex Ferguson. The results under his management earned him respect from across the globe. Our own Sir Bobby Robson was equally respected and admired, but possessed a very different management style.

It’s important to remember that whatever the context, success is measured in different ways.

We often hear bosses, leaders and decision-makers using sport as an analogy for business, regardless of the sector they come from. It’s true that sport has excellent attributes in terms of endeavour, team work and training, but there is a point where the similarity between sport and business wane and the metaphor falls down – this point is innovation.

In essence, any sport comes with a strict set of rules that cannot be broken. In business, however, you can create your own rules. This is an area where more agile SMEs can steal a march on the large corporates who often have layers of bureaucracy holding up their decision making and activity. 

Essentially innovation is simply having a new idea - or taking an idea that already exists and streamlining it to make it work better for your specific business needs. 

Innovation is an extremely important aspect of your business, it’s what makes it stand out in the market place, prevents it from going stagnant, helps it to grow and drives prosperity. Think about what makes your business different, consider the following:

What’s your unique selling point?

Are you thinking creatively?

Is there a part of your business that needs updating or simply isn’t working as well as it used to? 

When we really think about it, a business shares many qualities with a successful sporting team, but by leaving the rules behind and taking an innovative approach to any obstacles that may come your way, business can be rife with opportunities for the lateral thinker who can create new and exciting ways to deliver the products and service for their customers.

:: Carole White is business development manager of TEDCO Ltd. For support or advice, call 0191 428 3300, email enquire@tedco.org or visit www.tedco.org

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