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Business lessons and inspiration can often come from the most unexpected places. Case in point: the young, formidable and in-his-prime Mike Tyson.
Yes, that’s right. Business lessons from former Heavyweight Champion, knock out slugging Mike Tyson.
Tyson, arguably the most controversial and entertaining boxer in pugilistic memory – second only perhaps to Muhammad Ali – was a terrifying opponent for those who had the misfortune to face him in his prime.
Before the ear biting and lawsuit dramas, the sheer disciple and determination Tyson dedicated to his craft speaks to why boxing is often used as a great metaphor for life.
Watch the Tyson in action first before reading more on business lessons we can take from a young, passionate and very formidable Mike Tyson:
“Everybody believes the mean and surly fighter is the tough fighter but that’s not true, the guy who’s most relaxed and the guy who loves what he does and he’s just happy to be there doing what he does” – Mike Tyson
Tyson was deadliest when he loved his craft. When he walked into the ring to become the youngest heavyweight champion in the world, he had won all 27 of the matches he’d fought, knocking out 26 of his opponents.
Fear, anxiety and second-guessing that can come with success didn’t stand a chance in entering his psyche because of the love he had for boxing and the pleasure of simply being there.
Passion as a success factor has been advocated to death but surprisingly, is still overlooked. We see this with career choices, business investments and in hiring or partnership situations.
“I was never really a big heavyweight…but me and my trainer Cus D’ Amato we always put a great deal of emphasis on speed and combinations. He always told me: Speed kills, speed is what kills, the speed kills” – Mike Tyson
Despite being smaller that many of his opponents, Tyson was effective because he was first and due to his ability to adapt instantaneously.
Being fast and adaptive definitely plays to the strengths of smaller, agile companies.
Successful entrepreneurs and start-ups are often categorised by having first mover advantage in a market and taking advantage of their ability to quickly pre-empt or adapt to market change.
In fact, this ability to change is often envied by big business who can be too rigid to adapt to change.
Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit as the company grows is a challenge and it requires proactive work to be embedding into culture and mindset.
Big companies such as Inuit have embraced a “culture of frugal experimentation” making it everyone’s business to be responsible for innovation.