Business Lessons You Can Learn from Muhammad Ali

muhammad aliBefore Personal Branding was a coined term in our daily vernacular, I grew up enthralled with the larger than life personality of Muhammad Ali. As a quiet, little girl tempted to follow the safe, conventional path, Ali’s unapologetic confidence and convictions were infectious. With the sad news of his recent passing, I began to think about what inspirations business could take away from this iconic champion’s life and words.

1. Desire, Dream, Visualize

Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.

Do you have a burning desire to succeed? Does it keep you up at night, does it wake you up in the morning. Champions are driven to succeed, have an inner picture of success and are determined to see that picture realized. Champions never stop until their goal is achieved- they are on a mission. In today’s business environment, there is endless data available to us and you can convert that inner picture into real-time, user-friendly data visualizations and dashboards to help guide you to make the most informed decisions to reach that mission.

2. Embrace Change

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.

Life is about change, about growth; it’s about taking risk and becoming more. Change can be really difficult for organizations with employees resistant to learning and adapting to new business processes and/or systems. Ali said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” This is especially true in today’s business environment, which has seen lightening fast pace of change in both technology and industry structure. This turbulence can definitely be intimidating. However, the more agilely you and your team can embrace change, the more likely that you will be ahead of the curve in a position to reap the rewards from new opportunities. That’s certainly beats lagging behind your competitors.

3. Suffer Now

I run on the road, long before I dance under the lights. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ”Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

While it is a huge challenge getting users to adopt a new IT system, the costs of lack of data security, accuracy, and insights from dated systems will certainly exceed the pain. It may seem easier to avoid the stress and conflict, but business as usual will not give your company the competitive advantage it needs to be a champion in today’s business environment. Nailing down your company’s business processes and what is and is not working can result in a new IT system that is less painful to implement and more likely to be adopted. The great news is that some cutting edge IT tools are relieving some of the suffering as well. One example is Apttus‘ X-Author tool, which allows users comfortable with Excel to continue manipulating data in spreadsheets and automatically updates it into Salesforce.

4. Affirm Yourself

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Nobody can beat, Mohammad Ali!

Ali said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” Ali did this all the time. Ali said, “If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.” He said, “I’m the greatest of all time.” He said, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.” Many of us were raised to value humility and do not feel comfortable bragging but try affirming the greatness of you and your company a few times and see how you feel. With the importance of social media platforms to get company messaging out and to help businesses stand out from the crowd, it is time to start tooting your own horn. Tell those client success stories and make sure to leverage the great things your customers have to say about your products and services. If you do not think what you have to offer is great, why should potential customers?

5. Set Goals

What keeps me going is goals.

To keep you on track to achieving your vision, it is important to have clearly articulated goals and to understand the key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure progress toward those goals. It seems like we often are collecting data for the sake of collecting data, but Big Data that is integrated into real-time, interactive dashboards from spreadsheets and a variety of systems give us useful Business Intelligence (BI). Knowing what information you need to reach your goals and having the data visualization at your fingertips is key to making the best decisions quickly. The great thing about new tools like Tableau dashboards is that you can flexibly ask and answer questions on the fly and drill down deeper to help you to reaching your goals.

6. Use Your Wings

The man who has no imagination has no wings.

A bird that doesn’t use its wings won’t make it very far. We humans have wings as well – our imagination. We often get caught up in a rut doing things inefficiently and loosing sight of the big picture. If, like Muhammad Ali, we have a vision for who we are and what we can accomplish, the possibilities are endless. There are no limits to what we can do.

I hope you enjoyed my post and would love to hear how you have been inspired by the life and legacy of The Champ Muhammad Ali.

Originally published at Here.

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