Sporting analogies are often used in life and business. GILES BROWN speaks to four Cumbrian businessmen about what we can learn from the world of sport and physical activities.

Roger Smith, managing director Thomas Graham, says: " To succeed, you need to embrace the failure that comes with it.

I’ve played sport my whole life, and I am fortunate enough to coach Carlisle’s under 15’s rugby team.

As both a coach and business owner, sport and business skills overlap with teamwork, self-belief, and competitiveness being the key attributes to team success whilst remembering that it must always be fun!

Failure is what gives your team the motivation and driving force that leads to improvement, and without it, you will never achieve those bigger, and better wins.

Inspiring improvement in a work environment can be challenging as many struggle to accept similar feedback they may receive from a sports coach.

In both sport and business, you cannot be afraid to lose…you are the coach that drives your team and businesses success."

Peter Ellwood, managing partner of robinson+co, says: "I enjoy playing golf in my spare time, and I've found golf to provide invaluable lessons that are transferable to work and our accountancy practice, showing the importance of patience, foresight, and adaptability. As in business, golf requires meticulous planning and adaptability to unforeseen circumstances.

Also playing fair is the best way to win in golf and business. We work in a highly regulated professional area, and we must “play” by the rules just like in golf. Never give up. A bad shot in golf doesn’t ruin a round, but your reaction to it can.

In business, we may experience setbacks, but the main thing is not to give up. A round of golf consists of a series of swings, all different but with the same goal. Just like in business, you need to see the bigger picture.

This anonymous quote sums it up, “in golf as in life it is the follow-through that makes the difference.”

We have a dedicated team here at robinson+co, and the above lessons aren’t just practised by fellow partners but also across our entire workforce."

Barry Leahey MBE, chief executive of Playdale Playgrounds, says:" Anyone who knows me well would know that competitive sport has been a big part of my life and has helped to develop me, especially in business.

The world of sports mirrors invaluable lessons applicable to the business realm. Teamwork stands as a crucial takeaway – just as sports teams need synergy, businesses thrive on effective collaboration, embodied by our #TEAM mantra at Playdale.

Sports also teach resilience and the value of learning from failures, essential for business growth. At Playdale, setbacks are learning opportunities, enhancing team performance, and contributing to our journey of being world class.

Both sports and business emphasise goal-setting. Athletes plan rigorously for objectives, akin to businesses strategizing targets and milestones.

Additionally, sports instil a positive competitive spirit, crucial for innovation and staying ahead in business dynamics. My sporting background has fostered a culture of discipline, teamwork, resilience, strategic planning, and competitiveness at Playdale, pivotal in our success."

Michael Pemberton, chief executive officer of BEC, says: "I have taken, and continue to do so, many lessons and countless observations from the sporting arena with three people in particular whom I admire greatly. These are Jürgen Klopp, Chris Bonington, and Yvon Chouinard. All three excite, inspire, and build a sense of wonder in me – if they can do it to me, then, I surely must be able to do it for those I serve through leadership.

Some of the lessons I’ve learnt include identifying and setting a compelling vision that looks to empower all in its delivery, building a team anchored in authentic values and using these values to validate decisions and be a ‘storyteller’ and create those ‘happy ever afters’.

By following these three sports leaders it’s ensured I’ve provided an environment that is empathic, caring, energetic, and celebratory, doing ‘our thing’ with heart and passion and not leaving anything on the field of play and being determined and showing perseverance in the face of challenge and hardship."