Lewis Hamilton is virtually peerless in his success as a Formula One driver. He has five world championships to his name, and he is not showing any signs of slowing down. He also holds the record for the most career pole positions, which means he knows precisely how to get himself in the best position for success. Commentators have called his recent driving flawless – though he probably wouldn’t agree with that assessment, given how fiercely he critiques his own performance.
However, none of Hamilton’s wild success is by chance. Instead, it is the result of extremely hard work and very smart strategising. Everyone involved in the business side of sport can learn lessons about strategy and success from the way Hamilton operates, from the way he accumulates accolades, records and prizes, and from how he wins the respect of his industry.
The business of using content to expand an audience, raise its profile and achieve impressive financial returns is not so different. Like an elite sport, content management requires integrity, perseverance, team work and determination.
Here are three Hamilton-inspired strategies that all sports executives can apply to their business.
1. Perform under pressure
Drivers like Hamilton have to stay calm and in control while travelling up to 230 miles per hour in a vehicle that can get as hot as 50 degrees. They have limited space to move and a narrow field of vision. It is hard to imagine a higher pressure environment, yet Hamilton stays level-headed and cool enough to adapt, make split-second decisions and claim victory. He is backed by a seasoned, talented team of professionals who collaborate on his race strategy so he can perform at his best.
Sports executives should follow Hamilton and Mercedes’ lead, and factor speed, reliability and innovation into their content strategies. All things that facilitate peak performance from the people and the systems they work with.
2. Trust the technology
Formula One racing is a technology-driven sport, where even a tiny glitch in equipment can change the course of a race. Hamilton and his team use cutting-edge technology to collect as much data as possible to optimise performance. They are looking at around 2000 statistics each lap, taking into account things like weather and fuel consumption so they know how best to adapt to the conditions of the day.
Technology is just as integral to the business of distributing sports content. To put your content in pole position for success, it has to be easily accessible, tagged correctly and in the right format. It is also vital that broadcasters can access and download it quickly, in a high-quality format. This can only be done by using the latest and greatest technology – which is why the platform you work with has to be intelligent, advanced and reliable.
3. Debrief, adapt, improve
When Lewis Hamilton does something spectacular, he does not believe in celebrating at the expense of advancement. Apparently, when he won his fifth world championship title – something only two other people have ever done – he did not stop to congratulate himself. He gathered his team around him and spent the days after his victory debriefing, analysing his performance and working out how their race strategy could have been even better. He and his team at Mercedes wanted to work hard and fast to understand and then eliminate any mistakes they made.
His persistent, determined approach to perfection is what makes Hamilton the best. This dogged commitment to success can make the difference between winning and losing in the business of content strategy, too. You should always be debriefing with a trustworthy team, adapting to challenges and improving your tactics in business, staying ahead of competitors by refusing to be idle or complacent. The habits that make sports people great are the same that make sports executives great.