What do top athletes and successful entrepreneurs have in common? Nothing or everything? According to dr. Matej Tušak, sport psychologist who filled up the lecture hall in Venture Factory, the lessons of sport are nicely transferable to business. Entrepreneurs and athletes have a lot more in common than it might seem at first.
The difference between average and successful people lies in 10,000 hours of work
Matej Tušak, sport psychologist who has worked with top Slovenian athletes, Olympians, during his career, spoke at the workshop to answer the question: “What do we need for success?” For a start, we tackled the difference between average and successful people. The participants found that the difference can mostly be attributed to discipline, targeting, and persistence, while Matej gave a professional explanation – according to calculations, the difference between average and successful people is 10,000 hours of work. But, of course, that isn’t little. The main reason behind these differences lies in the number of hours we spend on one activity. “If we worked only 1 hour more than everyone else every day, we would be very successful in our field in 40 years,” concludes Matej. But it depends on us when we wish to become successful (in 5, 10 or 20 years) and how many hours of our own work we are prepared to invest in this.
The result always starts with motivation
One third of success belongs to motivation. In order to create motivation, we first need to set goals, before them also desires. Here, Matej leans on generation Y and says that because this generation has never experienced a lack of things, they don’t have strong desires anymore. “If you want something and you get it within a day or two, then you didn’t develop a strong desire for this goal. The potential of desires is the biggest with the desires that were never fulfilled,” he adds and points out something that he noticed in Slovenian companies: “People don’t realize that the process of motivating is one of the most important things in business. They wish to have the best machines, the best people, but they forget about the motivation.”
Forming a good team is a process
Matej pointed out that we need a lot of time to create a good team. First, we get to know each other and all get along, then fights, disagreements slowly start bursting out. That is the critical point at which many people break up. “Those who overcome this stage continue to the norming stage, where the rules, norms, are being set. Everyone knows what’s expected of them, what needs to be done, and only then does the performing stage come,” says Matej. The bigger the group of people, the bigger the flux of people, the longer it takes for us to come to this stage. “And only in this stage do we start functioning well,” he adds.
We moved activities from Venture Factory to KID Kibla, where we dove deep into the topic of forming a winning team. The guests gave us first-hand information on how they select employees, reward their team, and create an environment in which employees feel good.
Collaboration is the highest form of competition
While capitalism is directing us towards competitiveness, the results are always best when we collaborate. Matej strengthened his statement by talking about an experiment with six runners, where they compared their results from individual runs, simultaneous runs, i.e. competition, and runs during which the runners were split into two groups and only the joint achievement mattered. With the last one, they all improved their results, so Matej concluded that collaboration is the highest form of competition and brings the best results.
It’s good to test the candidate before employing them
“If we are looking for a field sales technician, we give him or her a task. With only one title, we say what they need to prepare, then give them about two weeks. When they come back, they need to prepare a presentation in front of a mixed team,” was the answer of Marko Podgornik, CEO of the award-winning company Mikro+Polo, when he was asked how their company tackles the selection of new employees. By using the above-mentioned method, they can immediately tell how someone acts in front of an unknown public and how well they do.
The company retaining its key staff member is key for business stability. “Top staff members need to hold a special place. It’s important for their work to be seen, praised, because there is never enough praise. What’s also stimulating is payment for work performed, the possibility of promotion, the possibility of communicating with the management, presenting projects at the company’s board as well,” says Maruška Vihar, director of HR and staff development at Zavarovalnica Sava.
At this point, Marko Podgornik also added: “What’s most important is for every individual to be heard and for their wishes to be considered. That means that there is no fear that someone shouldn’t suggest something. They can always suggest it, they can always say it, they can always express themselves, we always listen to them.” Among other things, he listed some benefits that the company offers to employees: pets and kids in the workplace, unlimited days of paid leave, free breakfast and lunch for all employees.
WIFI, a model of effective leadership
Later on, Matej Tušak presented the model of effective leadership WIFI, which he explained like this: W stands for well-being in the workplace. I stands for information, meaning information transfer from management down and vice versa. F stands for fairness, meaning an honest and relaxed relationship. And I stands for involvement, where there is a feeling of people being included in business processes. “In companies where all these communication and relationship levels are considered, everything runs smoothly and everyone has a feeling that they are contributing something,” says Matej.
If you are interested in more details from the discussion, watch the entire clip below.