As homo sapiens we often take things at face value, it’s human nature after all. But, for the best part, it's a trait that doesn’t serve us well. The true leaders of this world have a tendency to look beyond the facade and look at scenarios in a more objective perspective. They look more at their desired outcomes as opposed to what's presented to them.
Once they have a clear understanding of what their desired outcome is, they then devise a plan of action and work out an effective strategy focussing on both their own ability and that of their competition. In George Groves case, the weaknesses of his opponent.
At the press conference in the lead up to the fight, Eubank Jr pulled strength from highlighting Groves losses in previous bouts. He ridiculed his physique, and supposed lack of stamina. He tried to get inside Groves head in order to make him doubt himself. Here was Eubank Jr a seemingly younger, fitter and better-equipped fighter. His team was posting YouTube videos demonstrating his speed and cardio prowess. Eubank Senior was stating his concern for the welfare of Groves. All mind games intended on putting Groves at a disadvantage. However, at no stage during the leadup to the fight did Groves succumb to their antics. He remained cool, calm and collected.
Groves, for the best part, implemented a near perfect strategy. By no means did he fight a near perfect fight. But, his strategy was impenetrable over twelve rounds, as Eubank Jr found out first hand.
What makes a great leader?
A true leader is confident in his own ability and the path of which he chooses. In the business world, this can be any number of things.
The direction of which to take a business forward.
Understanding a company's strengths and weaknesses, both theirs and their competitors.
Implementing changes that will lead their business on the right path to success, no matter how uncomfortable it might be initially.
Being congruent with their actions.
Being flexible in their approach but focussed on their desired outcome and goal.
There are lots of examples of this in the business world.
Amazon wouldn’t be the bemouth of a company that it is if they had just stuck to selling books. They diversified their offering whilst spotting gaps in the market along the way. Did they change their strategy? To an extent, one could say yes, but for the best part, the answer is no. Their underlying strategy was to provide customers with the best possible prices, a seamless shopping experience and an unparalleled level of customer service. Jeff Bezos had a clear and defined strategy from the outset. In essence he used what his competitors viewed as his weakness (size) to his advantage. He used his lack of overheads and ability to manoeuvre quickly into new markets to his advantage.
Netflix is another prime example. For those of you not familiar with their earlier conception, Netflix originated as an online DVD rental company. Battling the gigantic Blockbuster Video head-on in a market largely dominated by the famous rental chain. Netflix had neither the physical presence of stores, the existing client base or the marketing budget of their much larger rival. But they did have one clear strategy that was to eventually be their biggest asset. That was to provide their customers with movies on demand. And, just like Amazon, provide their customers with a seamless service at the click of a button. Something consumers nowadays have come to expect.
But it would be wrong to say Blockbuster didn't have a strategy. It just happened to be the wrong one. Netflix provided their customers with movies on demand, whereas Blockbuster simply demanded their customers travel to their local branch to collect their movies.
So, you might be asking what boxing and business have in common?
Firstly, it’s not just boxing that shares commonalities with successful businesses and leadership. It’s the majority of competitive sports. Planning, strategy, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and highlighting your competitors are all important things to factor in when scaling a business. Equally important, is the ability to be flexible in your approach when expanding into new markets. But the secret is to adhere to your core game plan and strategy. If you don’t then you run the risk of entering into a dogfight you neither planned for or likely to win.
This is exactly what happened in the Groves V Eubank Jr Fight.
Groves was never going to outpace Eubank, neither was he going to be able to throw as many punches. But what he could do was ensure the punches he threw landed and made an impact, and he used his older and more experienced boxing knowledge to frustrate Eubank. So much so that Eubank forgot about his own game plan and entered into Groves' domain which ultimately lead to his downfall and loss.
Being successful in a leadership role and scaling a business comes down to a number of key points.
But most important is the ability to inspire others when they may not share your vision. Not by seniority or power but by education, self-belief, and congruency.
Let’s face it, no one ever got inspired by a fat personal trainer, had confidence in a hairdresser with a bad haircut, or felt comfortable taking advice from a nutritionist chomping down on a Donna Kebab.
True leaders lead by example, aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty, and stand up and take responsibility when, and if, the shit hits the fan. Because, let’s face it, no one has a perfect record when it comes to life and business. True leaders fail just like the rest of us, but they are quicker at owning their fuck-ups, and quicker at dusting themselves off when things don't work out.
Now let’s go to the scorecard and see what the judges say about this blog post by leaving your comments below.