What the Ryder Cup 2014 tells us about Business Marketing
Business Managers often describe their actions in terms of metaphors drawn from sporting events outcomes. In this blog, I’d like to discourse on the parallels between the recently completed 2014 Ryder Cup and business management (and/or marketing) success.
In most American team sports coaches have a stack of charts or set plays (observe football). But golf is an individual sport – until the Ryder Cup where national pride and team pride is at stake.
So what business lessons we can derive from this Ryder Cup in particular?
The Ryder Cup is an interesting mixture of team and individual performances with team play preceding the singles and more often than not, an accurate predictor of the final outcome.
In this edition of the Cup it quickly became obvious that Europe’s captain’s strategy and tactics were superior to the USA’s, although, on paper, he had a shallower talent pool (based on players‘ world rankings).
As you observed the contest it became obvious that Europe’s captain had much better insight into not only his players’ ranking but also their psyche, their personal backgrounds and their environments, while the USA, by my observations, relied more on traditional measures and ad-hoc adjustment.
One other key difference was that Europe’s Captain urged his players to play with intensity, whether winning or not. The coach of the Europe team had much better insight how the players would play off each other, based upon personal histories, inter-relationships and backgrounds.
In short, he had much better vision how to drive the best performance from his players. He trusted a player who was much lower in ranking than his other stars to go first because he knew how he would face whatever USA opponent turned out to be. Nota bene – this player did not disappoint him turning initial adversity into a win, and no doubt added confidence to his teammates.
Drawing similarities to business marketing and/or management – how many business marketers have this kind of insight into their own sales team capabilities, which is their power domain.
Then can they equip them with the right insight to face unexpected market vagaries?
Touching upon the subject of external insight (i.e., insight on the US Team) one does and should not seek perfect intelligence as it is too volatile and too expensive to obtain, even with looming Big Data benefits.
When wins as important as The Ryder Cup are at stake to gain competitive advantage you need to have better insight in at least one key area of your business play.
Losing a business opportunity in this competitive world more often than not results in having to wait a considerable amount of time for another such opportunity. The Americans will have to wait another two years.