Different strokes: 5 minutes with Rob Waddell

Rod Waddell

Rob Waddell, the former Olympic champion turned chef de mission believes that striving for perfection can make all the difference.

A champion Olympic rower and a member of New Zealand's 2013 America's Cup team, Rob Waddell earned a busienss management degree, worked for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, and is now chef de mission for New Zealand's 2016 Olympic team.

What lessons from sport apply best to business leadership?

You can draw some strong synergies between the two.  Attention to detail - a one per cent variance can make up 100 per cent of the result. Work ethic is the backbone of any success I've been a part of.  Quality is another key one - we are what we do.

How do you apply that now?

In my new role as chef de mission for the New Zealand Olympic team...our attention to detail just has to be impeccable.

What do you think is the biggest difference between sporting and business decision-making?

One I think of is risk and reward. I can't think of too many business situations where you would take on the risks that you have in a sporting environment. While 17,000 athletes go to an Olympic Games, only 300 come away with gold medals... But in business you can still have win/win situations.

This article is from the June issue of INTHEBLACK.


June 2015
June 2015

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