Thorpie, our Dawn and business in the 21st Century

There’s talent and there’s science

When Dawn Fraser was Australia’s world champion swimmer in the 1950’s and 1960’s, she did it on talent and hard work, strategy and gamesmanship.

In the 21st century it takes a lot more to get world class results. Stretching, weight training, nutrition, mental strength, biomechanics. A high tech suit it takes 20 minutes to get in to. Absolute commitment and self discipline.

Ask yourself: “Would Ian Thorpe make it today using Dawn’s training program?”

Business success is about leadership

Behind a profitable business is the talent for getting people to work together to create business results. That’s called leadership. Good businesses have good leadership. Great businesses have great leadership.

You can have the best product in the world, but if you can’t sell it effectively and deliver it with reliability, you won’t have a great business. That takes great leadership.

21st century challenges!

In Australian business in the 21st century, we have huge challenges in front of us. The “Asian tigers” are still out there, and they’re moving into services  as well as manufacturing
The challenges of climate change, oil shortages and political unrest that were forecast in the 20th century are starting to hit home.
We’re internationally competitive swimmers because we have committed to applying the
science of swimming. To stay internationally competitive in business, we need to invest in the science of business and the science of leadership.

Work on yourself, not just your business…

In the 1980’s, the book “The eMyth” challenged 20th Century entrepreneurs to work “on their business, not in their business”.

At the start of the 21st Century, “Good to Great” identifies Level 5 Leaders as being the people who do the things that make good companies great. What Level 5 Leaders do is:

  •  Focus First on Who Then What
  •  Confront the Brutal Facts
  •  Be a Hedgehog – (find the core of your excellence, economics and passion)
  •  Build The Vision across the business

And Level 5 Leaders lead balanced lives with strong connections to their community and have time for themselves and their families.

20th Century thinking held that talent, hard work and the ability to respond was enough – these days we know that there’s a learnable craft to leadership that gives smart players a key advantage.
If you’re serious about having a great business in the 21st Century then get serious about the learnable skills of leadership.  Don’t just survive – thrive!

(Originally published in Balance3 Update, November 2005)

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About Leigh

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Leigh is the principal of the business innovation practice Balance3 and her clients have included corporations such as Amcor, National Foods, Dair, SPC Ardmona, Kobelco, Corporate Express and New Balance as well as a range of smaller businesses and individual clients.