Sport – a break from the metaphor of cooking!

As some of you know, I am also a cook and food author, as well as a soft skills trainer and consultant.  I do marry the two passions in a thought provoking conference presentation centred on what can we learn from the madness that is cooking to order.  Suffice to say, the metaphors flow (too many cooks spoil the broth; if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen; need to get the right ingredients to have a chance of  a great result – and more!)

Commonwealth Games preview: Para-athletics events

I don’t know if you have noticed, but we are having a bit of a summer of wall to wall sport – from the football World Cup, to two series of test matches in England, to the Commonwealth Games to The Tour de France (which started in Yorkshire?  Porquoi?)

Every day is a school-day – and the sporting events have really given me food for thought.

1. World Cup – England losing the second game – and so almost certainly eliminated.

I heard the England Captain, Steven Gerrard being interviewed before the game. He talked about how awful it is to return from a world cup as a failure.  The young players need to know that so they ‘leave everything on the pitch – fight and fight again’.  This is one of those horrible negativity stories.  A self fulfilling prophecy.  If you talk about failure, that is the most likely outcome.  And so it came to pass…

2. Luis Suarez – banned for biting an opponent in the final group match for Uruguay.

I’m sure in many organisations this would have been an instant dismissal event – especially as he had previous convictions for the same crime.  Makes me think about the superstar in any team who is also a bit of a brat.  “Well, we will just have to live with their tantrums and arrogance – they are just too important to our results”.  We have all argued like that?  Liverpool FC – his home club – sold him instead.  He had become a liability – stunningly gifted but flawed.  I am sure this will help the team longer term.  It will certainly stop ‘the brand’ from being poisoned.

3. Commonwealth Games – all athletes – able bodied and para athletes – in the same venues at the same time.

I wonder how many of us work in organisations that are as inclusive?  Come on, hand on heart!

4. Alistair Cook, England Cricket Captain – confident enough to lead again?

There was much talk before this current test match about his suitability as a captain, leader and batsman.  Then he scored 95.  And he and the team are transformed.  Back to point one above – if you stay positive and fight on that basis, you are more likely to succeed.


You never need to look too far for organisational lessons from the world outside of your company!