“The future is here now. It is just not evenly distributed.”

by | Sep 15, 2023

In the Arena – Whiteboard Wisdom #006

“The future is here now. It is just not evenly distributed.”

I first heard Tim Ferriss talk about this concept. He then spoke about those places where the ‘future’ can be found.

One of the areas was elite sport.

The reason is quite simple. Sport is doing whatever it can to maximise human performance, both individually but also in the context of a team. The results are not always positive, and I well understand the dangers when the line is pushed too far.

Any team-based environment seeking sustainable high performance must focus on the mechanics and dynamics required to achieve this outcome.

Elite team sport understands that it cannot outperform it’s leadership. It focuses on systems and reps (mechanics) as well as relationships and buy-in (dynamics).

The leaders create the conditions of performance by embedding a team ethos through a deeper understanding of the respective roles and commitment to carrying them out, week in and week out, and in the moments that matter.

And we are asking leaders to do it at a comparatively young age, taking significant, high-expectation, high-stakes leadership roles in their 20s.

As a CEO in elite sport, I saw both sides of the equation, the need to build both the performance and profit model. But the learnings transcended, and I now teach to the experiences decades in the game provided.

Having now coached in business as well as sport, I believe Tim Ferris is on the money. Elite team sport from a leadership perspective is the future, and business can learn a lot from its lessons in order to find its own future.

Leadership is the difference maker, and it is a skill learned and earned.

The “In the Arena – Whiteboard Wisdom” concepts I speak to are taken from years of daily journaling, in-the-moment note-taking in my Moleskine journal, and my lived experience as a CEO and leader in high-performance sport for most of my working life.

I call this process ‘borrow freely, apply uniquely’, inspired by the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ line, “It is not where you take it from, it is where you take it to”.


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