Why Athletes are Perceived as Resilient Leaders

What coaching young soccer players taught a sales executive.

Meet Pasquale — He is a sales executive who quarterbacks a client team to help enterprise businesses fight cyber-crime by providing products to help protect their data. When he’s not empowering his clients, he’s empowering young people through the “beautiful game” of soccer. Pasquale generously shared words of wisdom that can be universally applied to current and future roles.
Disrupt or Get Disrupted — Competitive athletes are trained to think strategically and shift course when necessary. This skill can be imperative when navigating series of hurdles and uncertainty. Disruption can either spark opportunity or create setbacks. It’s up to leaders to identify change that can either serve as inspiration to shake up their industry or wreak havoc on their market share.
Transfer to Uber? — UBER’s focus on disruption and ride efficiency have frequently pitted it against the drivers, customers and communities it claimed to serve. A different outcome for this multinational ride-hailing company may have had them partnering with local governments to solve local transportation issues. For starters, NYC’s transit system has been in a steady decline over the last few years with crumbling infrastructure and extensive passenger delays. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
A Story of Redemption? — Once upon a time UBER valued bright ideas and aggressive growth over all else. Their story is a cautionary tale of what can happen when you can become blinded by competitiveness and lose focus on brand integrity. Having reasons for the brand to exist beyond making money could have set the company on a more customer-centric trajectory. The 2017 installment of CEO Dara Khosrowshahi brought an update to their value statement focusing on “customer obsession”. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
A Story of Innovation — Tesla is an American electric vehicle and clean energy company based in Palo Alto, CA. They pride themselves on breaking the conventional thinking of the automotive industry. In 2003, their vision was to build a sports car “as a catalyst to accelerate the day of electric vehicles.” Despite several challenges, Tesla Motors has shown success by being transparent about their vision, challenges and using differentiation in their marketing strategy. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
A Story of Determination — Netflix weathered many storms as a fledgling DVD sales and rental by mail marketplace. Their offer to be acquired by Blockbuster for $50M was declined. Their fast growth in 2001 was derailed by the dot-com bubble and unforeseen September 11 attacks which prompted layoffs. That Christmas, DVD players, suddenly affordable, became one of the most popular gifts. This was the catalyst for significant increases in their subscription service in early 2002. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
Hooray for Netflix — Founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings ad Marc Randolph. the company has evolved over the years to become an American media services provider and production company. Today, the company’s primary business is its subscription-based streaming service which offers online streaming of a library of films and television programs, including those produced in-house. As of April 2019, Netflix had over 148 million paid subscriptions worldwide, including 60 million in the U.S. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
At Your ServiceAirBnB, Inc. is an online marketplace for arranging or offering lodging, and creating tourism experiences. It was founded in 2008 during the financial crisis as an affordable alternative to booking hotels. The company does not own any of the real estate listing and acts solely as a broker, receiving commissions from each booking. Today the startup has more than 7M listings across the globe and a private market valuation of $831B and faces another unforeseen crisis as they prepare to debut on the stock market — COVID 19. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
Walking a Tight Rope — AirBnB is under a lot of scrutiny as it seeks its stock listing. The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe and has brought the world to a screeching halt. Tourism, by default is one of the most affected sectors due to travel bans and stay at home decrees. AirBnB’s model, operates on a two way platform for sellers and renters putting them in a precarious situation. Travelers are requesting refunds, while hosts still need their income. Airbnb Magazine Editors Illustration by Veronika Hammond.
Leadership is Like an Athlete — Pasquale’s words of wisdom helped me see leadership from the perspective of an athlete. It requires appreciation of your team, the drive to breakthrough the mundane, the courage to face adversity and the optimism to know we can win. Illustration by Veronika Hammond.

The Playing Field is Changing

Creating transcendent stories that share the importance of data narratives and how they impact our world. Twitter: @aldatavizguy

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