Sports Metaphors, Language of Business

Sports Metaphors, Language of Business

Sports Metaphors, Language of Business

Sports metaphors infuse the language of business. I bring this up because of some recent meetings with corporations. My approach to these corporations has been that mental training will help their employees (athletes) perform at a higher level. The reply was that while they believed in the concept, there doubt was that someone from the sports world could communicate with many of their highly technical employee’s (geeks and nerds).

My answer was a smile. At first I subtly changed the subject to the Seattle Sounders FC because I had noticed something in this directors office that lead me to believe he was a Sounders fan. He explained that while he was a fan, not all of his team understood soccer, football or baseball. at this point I started interjecting, I hoped with some semblance of being shrewd, the language of business.

I started asking about departmental issues. Where were projects off base. He had he said some team issue, not everyone was playing ball. He had to make some judgement calls about personnel soon. Dealing with such a diverse workforce meant working with some people that were just out in left field.  I said exactly, he said WHAT?

Here’s my pitch. You and your staff are immersed in the language of business and much of this involves sport metaphors. We can’t help but use it as it is so entrenched in our lexicon  He stared at me still not getting that he had used 4 sports metaphors already. I asked him if he was ready for a curve ball. He said sure and at that he had an aha type of moment. now of course I had been slipping in metaphors into the conversation throughout the meeting and he began to understand more of what I was driving at.

If our language of business was so ripe with sports metaphors, wasn’t the very nature of the way his business unit ran. First he refers to his unit as a team. Then he mentions at another point that they don’t always play well together. His sales team was doing well in that they were hitting nearly 400, but a few were not ready for the major leagues.

I brought him back to his point that his team of geeks and nerds would not understand my mental training and team building exercises because of our language barrier.  We discussed emotional intelligence and team building. I demonstrated how these construct fit his business and how important they were to his success. I talked to him about the ways that athlete set goals and how this variation in goals setting would make so much more sense to his team that some more traditional techniques. I guess I hit it out of the park as he conceded the point and I now have an opportunity to train some very interesting people who think they know nothing about sports but are about to discover the athlete within. To learn more about my business programs please follow the link to The Mental Game Team Building page.

The montage below is one I created with my iPhone and Photoshop of course. The signs are on the parking structure just south of Safeco Field where the Seattle Mariners play. It is an art project by Donald Fels called Six Pitches. Note his plaque on the bottom right corner.  Yes if you are counting I left off Knuckleball. In sports and business we sometimes deal with knuckleheads, but I thought I would leave that out of my presentation.

Sports metaphors, language of business