GameChangers – Lessons from the locker room to re“boot” your 2021


Are your “boots” worn and torn after 2020? Do you feel as though you cannot go back into the locker room next year with the same old jersey and boots? Look around you – everyone’s boots and jerseys look the same; dirty, torn with blood and covered in tears. You are not alone in the aftermath of 2020.


And…if anyone asks you again! – “how did 2020 go for you? what was the impact on you, your family, your job or your life?”


2020 was indeed a GameChanger year! There is not a single person who hasn’t been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it has permanently changed the rules of the game we are all participating in: life. We must adapt to new rules, laws and ways of living post COVID-19.


After winning six consecutive World Constructors Titles and Lewis Hamilton winning six uninterrupted World Drivers Titles, Toto Wolff, the CEO of Mercedes Benz Formula1, was asked how they achieved this. His answer was: “Not HOW, but WHY. Once your team has a “WHY” (purpose), the HOW is merely a consequence from the WHY. If a team focus on Purpose, they will determine the HOW to achieve their goals (not focusing on the technical aspects only).


Maybe 2021 is the year to find that purpose and WHY for your business.


The storm of COVID-19 affected everyone but the boats we sail to navigate this massive ocean storm are different for each of us. From big corporate cruise ships and smaller vessels to tiny fishing boats…everyone’s story is different, but we were hit by the same storm! This applied across all areas of business as well…from large corporates and medium-sized business to one-man start-ups, non-profit organisations and government, school and university institutions.


It will be surprising if any business says that COVID-19 didn’t change the game or will change it going forward. But how equipped were and are our businesses for this change? Although we have seen a rapid increase in the speed of business and technology over the last few decades, it didn’t prepare most businesses for this total and radical change.


Quick strategic choices have often been implemented in business. In fact, strategy and strategic choices are not seen as long-term anymore, but rather medium- to short-term. Businesses in the technological, IT, FMCG as well as retail industries realised how agile and adaptive, they needed to be. Because of this, many businesses survived the pandemic due to their agility and preparedness. However, never before has the corporate world been expected to make such rapid and radical change under such extreme pressure.


This is unlike sports teams and athletes who are far more agile and adaptive towards radical change in their environments. So let’s take these learnings from the sporting field into the board room. The locker room is probably the most intense and emotionally charged environment you will ever communicate in. In business there are similar intervals to half-time or full-time, referred to as quarters, mid-year and year-end. So halfway through the fiscal year or at year-end you should seek opportunities to turn prospect into performance.


The great parallel between sport and business is the scoreboard; you are measured at the end of the game or the end of the business day or year. However sport “climaxes” much more often and in shorter turnaround times. The continuous pressure and tension in sport is real and clear for all to see. And regardless of which sport it is and whether it is individual or team, drastic changes and decisions must be made as part of the game rather than just when a “pandemic’ strikes.


This is why GameChangers was designed to incorporate lessons from the sports field (locker room) into corporate board rooms, meeting rooms, factories, operations, sales and more. Not only does this create an effective method to teach these lessons but it also a fun way of linking sporting themes and legends to corporate lessons in the board room.


And maybe this is what your organisation needs in 2021 – a reboot like from the locker room.


So, what is GameChangers – lessons from the locker room in essence?

  • Firstly, it is well accepted world-wide that storytelling is a recognised and successful methodology for learning and development. People tend to interact, understand and comprehend a message better if they can relate to a story or at least picture and experience the story being told. This is the approach taken by GameChangers; we invite well-known past and present sporting legends and celebrities to come and tell their stories related to certain corporate and business themes.

  • Secondly, it is critical to identify the burning platform, issues or challenges that companies are faced with. In most consulting environments, corporates identify business challenges and ask consultants to assess and provide solutions that can include new processes or models, staff, or training and development. However, far too often these proposed solutions are short-term orientated and have no significant impact on the business’ bottom-line, shareholding or other important key performance indicators. Through a story of a sporting legend, we make this experience real and alive by bringing their sports lesson into the boardroom and adapting the solution in such a way that it becomes a longer-term sustainable solution.

How are these sporting celebrities and business themes aligned / facilitated?


GameChangers has identified a model where the WHY is the core of what a sports team / individual focus on as much as it should apply to a business (Simon Sinek). PEOPLE are at the core of a sports team and it is the same for any organisation. Results are achieved and driven through people. For most challenges and business critical issues, the core themes are usually identified in some form, shape or size as:

  • Strategy

  • Leadership

  • Performance

  • Culture

  • Change

  • Communication


How are these themes identified?

  • Through GameChangers, we implement a tool referred to as “the smell of the locker room”. During this pre-assessment, various tools are used to ascertain the real business challenge or problem faced by an organisation. This is done in collaboration with the GameChangers’ experts, corporate subject-matter experts and senior business leaders from within the organisation. When it is agreed what the focus should be, a bespoke solution is designed for the organisation. This includes various solutions like:


  • Face-to-face facilitation through exciting learning interventions

  • Virtually facilitated interventions

  • Case studies and examples

  • Immersive and real-life experiences to learn and illustrate GameChangers’ theories and models. For example, the organisation and team will experience a real-life immersion that could include being present in a locker room on match day; a training session with the athlete or team; or a session with the coach.

So how is the sporting legend / celebrity chosen for the specific organisation?


Firstly, accurate selection of sporting legends is crucial. Each legend was chosen using the following list of guiding characteristics:

  • Experience as athlete

  • Performance of athlete

  • Leadership experience (not necessarily as captain)

  • All-round balanced skills

  • Diversity with respect to gender, race and sport

  • Their ability to align certain themes of GameChangers’ model to their real-life experience as a sporting legend

To assess this, GameChangers interviewed many past and present sporting heroes. During these interviews, GameChangers’ business experts were able to make the link between certain sporting legend’s personal stories and experiences with the themes that corporates usually struggle with.


Through this process, GameChangers developed a live Sport Balance Sheet (SBS). This is an active document which is growing by the day as sporting legends demonstrate their support and appreciation for GameChangers’ concept.


Sporting legends are then mapped to certain themes (often more than one depending on their experience).


As soon as the organisation and GameChangers have identified and assessed the burning platform (business problem), we map a sporting legend with the organisation to facilitate part of the design and implementation of the GameChangers’ solution.


This happens on an ad hoc basis depending on the popularity of the legend and/or the link to the specific business.


After the bespoke solution is design, implementation day draws closer.

  • The invitation for the training experience holds a few surprises. This can include personal invitations delivered to your door as well as personalised memorabilia from the sporting legend and more.

  • Behind the scenes, the GameChangers team works closely with the sporting legend in anticipation of the actual day. This includes unpacking what is expected from his or her story as well as making the link between the story and the business problem.

  • The sporting legend may start with an hour session in the morning before the GameChangers’ team take over, or they may come in at certain periods of the day. This engagement is critical on the day.

  • The execution of the solution can be anything from half-day, full-day or two-to-three-day contact sessions up to monthly or quarterly interactions or individualised coaching. This will depend on the depth of engagement required as well as the solution provided by GameChangers. It is important to note that this is always aligned with the client’s expectations, needs and budget.

  • Apart from the design and development of the solution, which is focused on providing something sustainable and meaningful for the organisation, the impact is strengthened and enforced by the sports stories and legends – lessons from the locker room that are never forgotten.

One of the most powerful ways to refocus, reenergise and reboot for 2021 is through a real GameChangers experience. After this gamechanging year of 2020, why not consider undertaking your strategic planning, goal setting, targets and KPI sessions, or even teambuilding exercises with GameChangers? This might not change only your gameplan but your overall approach and performance in 2021 and beyond…and this in a fun and exciting sports-related way!

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