Wednesday’s Headlines: Five Reasons Pro Athletes Make Great Business Leaders

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“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” As the song goes, so too does a siren’s call for strong leadership.

When it comes to finding leaders, we are in short supply and the traditional sources are not always a fit, writes James Bailey, director of the World Executive MBA at George Washington University. In an op-ed for Businessweek, Baily writes:

Traditionally, we’ve looked to the military and to the ranks of the “self-made”—wonderful sources to be sure. But the issue with the former is that the road from military command to civilian management is rocky. For the latter, the proverbial Horatio Algers have to find themselves before we can find them. In any event, these two sources just don’t satisfy demand.

Instead, he suggests we look to the playing fields and courts for our next managers and executives. The five reasons:

  1. They’re determined. “Progressing in sports means negotiating an increasingly exclusive series of hurdles that can’t be cleared without discipline, focus, patience, practice and more practice,” says Bailey.
  2. Professional athletes are proven team players. “Modern organizations need the cross-functionality team sports can supply.”
  3. They appreciate “followership.” “Leading is rooted in having learned the lessons of following," he writes.
  4. They’re cognitively complex. “One’s wits are challenged with hundreds of unpredictable factors that require seamless adaptation and improvisation,” says the columnist.  
  5. Successful athletes do well under pressure. In business, “nothing’s more valued in today’s stressful business climate than a level head.”


Other News:

JPMorgan Chase will halt private student loans to non-customers. [Bloomberg]

AIG moves into real estate investing. [WSJ]

Bain looks to raise a buyout fund of $6 billion to $8 billion. [Reuters]

Hedge funds are making big bets against the “London whale”—a J.P. Morgan trader. [WSJ]

List: Seven small business competitions with upcoming deadlines. [CNN Money]

Every big bank has named top execs in recent months. [Fortune]

Opinion: Rising BRICs could challenge Western banks. [Investment News]

Moving money to small banks easier said than done. [Huffington Post]

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