Sports leadership applied to decision-making

La industria del deporte y el COVID19

One of the basic principles applied to the study of sports is uncertainty. The lack of certitude with respect to the results of a competition in which two teams participate, or athletes in the case of individual tournaments, is part of the primordial emotional element which links the fans to sports. This emotional factor is what gives real value to what happens in the playing field. What would be of sport competitions without those followers who wait for a “last minute miracle”?

In the NBA they call this moment Clutch Tume, and it is used, among other things, in order to measure the behaviour of the players during the last 5 minutes of a match, when their team finds itself with plus/minus five points on the scoreboard. Moments in which only a few ask for the ball so as to make the shot that is going to break the tension which has the audience on the line. These people’s profile is characterized by the confidence in their own abilities at the time of executing a shot. It is associated with the temperance required to control their nerves and the pressure that characterizes the instant when uncertainty becomes certitude. It’s in those moments that the coach designs plays for them and their teammates want to pass them the ball. They are leaders.

According to business management theories, when the forecast of business results is made analyzing only past data, “the company is being driven looking to the rear mirror”. That is why one of the moments that define a leader is the one of decision-making when presented with an unknown setting. The decision-maker lacks the rear mirror and a guiding map. Again, uncertainty.

The sports industry finds itself in a situation that generates perplexity, nerves, and unrest. A lot of us expect that decision-makers behave like leaders during the last minutes of a match that has not finished yet. But what aspects should we consider in order to manage this unusual setting?

In the first place, as an active agent in the sports industry, it is primary to have a control panel with indicators for all the business lines. It should show the information in an integrated manner and in real time, allowing us to take restrained decisions. Entities should go beyond the analysis of the financial and legal impact of their sports area.

Second, decision-making should be in accordance with a strategy based on efficiency, as we ignore the situation of the rest of the industry agents, and more importantly, the consequences that our own decisions will bring. Reaction capability and adaptability are fundamental.

Lastly, vision. It is in the leaders’ nature to see where others only look, and to listen where the majority barely hears. This intuition strengthens the confidence to take responsibility and to place oneself in front of the multiple dilemmas like the ones that are now appearing.

Sports will continue just as we know them. The associations, federations, and clubs will continue managing competitions in which a multitude of sponsors and suppliers will want to be an active participant. They will still be present in these competitions and be at the forefront of the interaction with fans, who, of course, will not miss the “last minute miracle” performed by their idols.


Óscar Yáñez – @_oscaryanez / This article was published in españ magazine


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