Why Do Business People Make Mistakes?

Why Do Business People Make Mistakes?


The latest Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO)Cape Town event saw members gather for an intimate in-the-boardroom meeting with executive coach and business lecturer, Dale Williams, and acclaimed sport’s writer and commentator, Neil Manthorp. Their talk explored a pertinent question, “Why do business people make mistakes?”

Together, Dale and Neil took their listeners on a journey through the boardrooms and cricket fields of the world to highlight the latest science and lessons on the subject. EO members walked away having gained valuable insights, particularly on the importance of coaching for good decision-making in business.

Lessons learnt

With Dale’s extensive background in executive coaching and Neil’s keen understanding of sport’s coaching, the pair were able to draw distinct parallels between business and sport. Where originally business borrowed key performance strategies from sport, now sport is looking to borrow from business in terms of player selection criteria and strategy.

The key point that EO members could take away from this is the need for coaching in a business environment. It is certainly as crucial to successful business operations as it is to a sporting team’s performance.

Most of the talk explored the common traps that tend to ensnare business people. Dale and Neil warned against divorcing strategy from operations, which happens quite frequently in high-level decision-making. It was emphasised that the best decisions are those made with an understanding or – better yet – involvement in operations. Business people need to look at the systems around them and understand them to make better decisions.

Play to your strengths

Another key insight that emerged centred on the challenge of confidence. Those in attendance were encouraged to play to their strengths, form partnerships and embrace positive thinking. This was counterbalanced with a call for empathy, as business leaders need to see things from the perspective of others to make effective decisions. The need for executive coaching was emphasised, as it is particularly valuable in helping business people – especially leaders – see themselves as others see them.

Citing a wide range of informative case studies and examples, Dale and Neil identified parallels between incidents as diverse as the 2008 financial crises and the Protea’s infamous choking status. The event raised many though-provoking issues for attendees to mull over.

More about the speakers

The talk was particularly valuable to the small group in attendance due to the credibility of the speakers. Having acted on the first executive committee of COMENSA (Coaches and Mentors of South Africa) as vice president and national president, and with a masters degree in executive coaching, Dale Williams is an expert in his field. He also lectures at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and is currently a Course Convener of the GetSmarter and UCT Foundations of Corporate Coaching course.

Equally experienced in his field, Neil Manthorp is a well-known sport’s writer and commentator, having covered more than 40 tours and 120 Test matches sinceSouth Africa’s return to international cricket. Neil writes for several newspapers and magazines, and recently published his fifth book, “The Proteas: 20 Years, 20 Landmark matches” to mark the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s return to international cricket.

Upcoming EO events

Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO has extended its invite-only membership to over 8 000 business owners worldwide, with an overall global reach spanning 40 countries.

As of May 2012, the Cape Town chapter of EO South Africa consists of 46 members. The organisation provides an invaluable peer network and unique opportunities for personal growth and development such as this in-the-boardroom event with industry experts.

The next Cape Town event, “Forum One Presents In Studio With Paul Du Toit”, will be held on 19 July 2012. The event will showcase the work of famous artist, Paul Du Toit, in the intimate setting of his home studio. Paul will share his journey from computer programmer to internationally acclaimed artist. EO members are set to glean valuable insights as to how they can carve out their own unique niche.

Visit www.eonetwork.org for more information

Amy Johnson
Amy Johsnon is the Learning Design Manager at GetSmarter. She is a young, ambitious digital native who is interested in the fields of online education, social media and content marketing. She love big ideas, new media, instructional design and language.